Experience Durham: the future for your society?
Plans are underway for the launch of Experience Durham, a University-led initiative aimed at coordinating extra-curricular activities in sport, music, the arts and outreach.
Directed by Dr Peter Warburton, the programme hopes to replicate the success of Team Durham in promoting the University’s reputation as one of the UK’s leading sporting institutions.
The wide-ranging plans will see the introduction of three sabbatical positions for drama, music and student media.
Supported by alumni donations and corporate sponsorship, senior University staff also hope to build a ‘Student Experience Arena’, a multi-purpose facility based in Durham City designed to host large scale music, drama and sporting events.
The Experience Durham brand is already visible on the University website, promoting existing student clubs and societies as ‘the other half of the story’ to academic success.
However, concerns have been raised over the speed at which the plans have been introduced. James Hubbard of Student Community Action (SCA) said: “Experience Durham has serious ramifications for all student-led societies included within its proposals.
“Every party involved should take seriously the impact this will have and the potential effect on proud, independent, student-led societies should not be taken lightly.”
The introduction of the programme has prompted a debate on the role of the University in extra-curricular activities.
Over 190 clubs and societies are currently affiliated to the DSU, which offers financial support and ensures all groups are run to promote the interests of Durham students.
A report prepared by Dean of Experience Durham Dr Peter Warburton stated that the initiative would ‘Increase the profile of our activity externally to help us attract the most talented students…whilst also attaining the interest of funding partners.’
The Societies and Student Development Officer Kristina Hagen is in the process of consulting with all ratified societies, but feedback from other circles is also being sought. A response will be drafted shortly.
As a consultation process takes place, Palatinate would like to hear your views on the proposed changes. Are student societies in need of a shake-up, or do they thrive on their independence from the University?
E-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit our website for the latest developments.