Meet the Exec and Non-Exec 2018/19: Part #1


As some of you may know, Stephenson College JCR have now elected most of their Executive Committee for next year and now is the time that I can happily unveil them all to you! Look out for Part #2 coming next week!

Rhys Radford – President

RR blogMy name is Rhys and I am your incoming President for next year (woo!). I’m 20 now and I was born and raised in Sheffield, but I am now proud to call the North East my home. I’ve never been more excited to do anything than be your JCR President next year, we are going to have the best year ever as we move up to Durham. We have so many opportunities to grab hold of and I want every single student to have the time of their lives at Stephenson. I’m passionate about having some great new events, such as a Showcase evening to show off our societies, and expand and improve our current events to levels not possible in the past, such as (fingers crossed) a Winter Ball in an external venue! I hope you’re as excited as I am to have the best time next year, Stephenson is truly the greatest place and the greatest group of people I have ever had the privilege of knowing, and I can’t wait to grow our family!




Molly Bennett – Treasuer and Operations Manager (TrOps and Alumni Relations Assistant)

MB blog

I am Molly and next year I have the privilege of being your incoming Treasurer and Operations Manager and Alumni Relations Assistant, and I cannot wait to get started! I have some amazing new ideas for our Locomotion Dinners and Formals, and introducing Loco Comm so students can be more involved with our dinners. We are going to have a brand new bar and to celebrate this we will hopefully be bringing in cocktail and mocktail evenings! We can’t wait to see you at our new home in Durham next year!!

Evie Jones – Ball Chair

18699267_461163990887307_7084920580724037243_oI am super excited to be the Ball Chair for Stephenson College. This means that I will be in charge of planning and organising the Winter and Summer Balls. As well as this, I will help Molly coordinate our Locomotion and Formal dinners. I already have so many great ideas for all these events including possible venues, themes and decorations, but I’ll keep them a secret for now. I wish to make these events enjoyable and memorable for everyone, so if you have any ideas you want to share don’t hesitate to contact me or join Ball Committee (everyone’s welcome!).

Brogan Thornton – Events Director

BT blogHi, my name is Brogan, I am your incoming Events Director for next year. I am looking forward to working with you all and I hope you are excited to get involved in all the amazing events I have planned for you. Next year I would like to listen to your ideas as to what events you would like to take place to ensure everyone has the opportunity to get involved and enjoy the college experience, as much as I have. The famous Stevo energy is consistent through university and this is shown greatly in college events. I want to continue this through the transition to Durham, introducing bigger and better things for you!


Eleanor Shaw – Welfare Officer

28832367_10210425999078905_1315849374_n.jpgHey everyone! My name is Eleanor Shaw, but you will probably come to know me as Guisborough, and I am extremely excited to be your upcoming Welfare Officer for next year. With next year bringing the move to Durham, I really want to show Durham who Stephenson College are, and what we stand for. We currently have a friendly, welcoming, and homely environment at Stephenson College. My main aim is to recreate this. To do so, I would love to add to our campaign weeks, which currently raise significant awareness, to look at specific events in the year such as: World Religion Day, International Women’s Day, and National Stress Awareness Day. I really cannot wait to work with everyone in the college to raise awareness and promote positivity at university!

Emma Hunter – Vice President

emma imageI am so honoured to be your VP for the coming year! Since starting here I have been involved in all aspects of college life attending talks of all kinds, rowing, SCA, show around repping, being Ball Chair in my second year and undertaking a summer internship in Berlin with other Durham students! I am currently undertaking a placement year with Unilever in London but can’t wait to be back at Stevo and make sure I keep you all informed with development opportunities, so you can get involved in whatever sparks your interest! See you Soon!

Coming Soon: Meet the 2018/2019 Exec and Non-Exec

As we are gripped by Election fever and summative deadlines galore here at Stephenson we have been neglecting our blog over the last week. However, we are working on a meet the Exec blog post over the next week and will start publishing this soon. The piece will be updated with new Exec and Non-Exec members when they are elected so keep checking back. For the applicants to the College reading this post, the Exec and Non-Exec are the lovely people who run all of your JCR events at Stevo including the Winter and Summer Balls, Sports and Societies and Induction Week!

Stevo’s Snowy Days

As ‘The Beast from the East’ grips our island for its third consecutive day it is safe to say that the whole world seems to have stopped functioning. Sports and Societies photographs postponed, Asda deliveries cancelled, lectures postponed, Exec and Non-Exec husts postponed, Spensley’s postponed, Locomotion Dinner postponed. Some might say that we might as well lock the doors here at Stephenson and give up on this week! However we have more spirit than that here at Stephenson and weren’t prepared to let that stop us in still offering our students the best possible day we could with the limited services that we could offer.

With this in mind, Ailish, Craig and I put our winter coats and boots on and set off on our expedition all the way to Sainsbury’s. Leaving the protection of our residence buildings we made our way onto the main road. As we ambled, or should that be waded, past the Riverside College we remarked on the similarity to the apocalypse film 28 Days Later. Our hope was that we would eventually reach the hallowed ground of Sainsbury’s and even seeing John Snow was a relief in this cold.

As you may imagine it was a relief to make it back to Stevo and with bread, Nutella and Hot Chocolate in tow we were ready to greet all of our students who came through the door with toast and a hot chocolate. The day was a clear success with many students joining us – who knew free food and drink would make students want to come to events?

Snow Days Blog
Can you still complain if your free food is burnt?

As Stevo’s day in the snow has snowballed into a week we look forward to sharing with you the very best our students have to offer soon as they enter our snowman making competition!


UPDATE: Snowman Making Competition!

We had 3 entries to the competition to win 2 free pizzas and soft drinks behind the bar as you can see below:

No need for a caption.
Photography skills on point!
Buttons but no coat?

After plenty of tough deliberating and a decision as difficult as the X Factor final, the last of the above snowmen was crowned the winner due to its size and impressive fashion choices. Congratulations to Izzy and Kate!


We hope you enjoyed the snow and all Stevo had to offer during the ‘Beast from the East’!

JoBo Take Varsity Trophy After 25.5-13.5 Win

The inaugural College Varsity match between Stephenson College and Josephine Butler College is sure to go down in the annals of history as a clash for the ages. Dubbed as ‘The Battle of the Howlands’, it was truly about much more than sport. The University’s decision to move Stephenson from their home in Stockton has led to a degree of criticism over the last eighteen months, but students from the College are starting to adapt to the thought of leaving Teeside and this match has certainly whet their appetite for what Durham City has to offer. In truth the event was about building relationships and it certainly succeeded in doing that.

Officially the biggest varsity held at Maiden Castle (and a few other venues), there was no doubt during the organisation of the event that we were set to start a very special tradition for our two colleges. Spearheading the organisation were both JCR’s Sports and Societies Officer (Iona Jervis for Stephenson and Lewis Wright for Butler) along with the wonderful support of Team Durham’s Director of College Sport, LJ Crawford, and it is important here to praise all of these people and the unnamed others who worked tirelessly to ensure the (mainly) smooth running of the event.

However, all of that organisation had to lead somewhere and so we must shift focus now to the sporting endeavor exhibited throughout the day. Table tennis kicked us off at Maiden Castle as the 10am fixture and started well for Team Stevo with Michael Song taking a hard fought first match 2 games to 1. The small Stephenson crowd grew excited at the thought that we may take the first point of the day, but it was not to be as Butler showed their class by taking the next 5 matches to win 5-1. So 1-0 Butler and on to squash…

Having sourced a team for squash, captain Craig Young was confident of a hard fought contest and a Stephenson win. However, it was clear from the off that Stephenson had really underestimated the talent that Butler brought with them and quickly surrendered to a 3-0 deficit and defeat in the match overall. Despite this, the team soldiered on and managed to retain their pride by winning the next two matches to make the final score 3-2 to Butler.

Another 1 point fixture in the bag for Butler and it was beginning to seem like Stevo would never get on the board in this inaugural varisty. This thought was confounded when Ultimate Frisbee and Mixed Lacrosse, who led at one point, went down 10-4 and 6-2 respectively. 8-0 to Butler in the overall standings was starting to make for bleak reading for the travelling fans. Then came the heroics, Stevo’s first points were put on the board from a 5-5 draw in the Women’s Football (only denied 3 points by a contentious offside decision) and this was quickly followed by a huge 4 point win for the mixed A and B pool team.

This brought it back to 9.5 – 5.5 and what was to come next was truly breathtaking. In the individual performance of the day, Ciaran Baker, rowed on the ergo machine for an incredible 29,000 metres (more than 9x the distance that Butler rowed) to give Stevo an incredible overall 1 point and to take Stevo within 3!

This obviously put some wind in the sails of Butler’s athletes as they took both the mixed and women’s Netball matches to open up a seven-point lead. Staring defeat in the face Stevo needed something special at this point and got it with the team performance of the day from Men’s Rugby who ran over the Butler team in a 55-10 romp! Badminton soon followed with a 3-point victory to take us within 3 again and to spark huge excitement that we may actually take this a lot closer than we initially thought.

Indeed, as the sun set on a glorious day at Maiden Castle, our mixed hockey team took to the pitch and what followed was the sporting event of the year for Stevo Rangers. Coming together for one special game, there weren’t many who thought much of Team Stevo’s chances here, especially considering the difficulties the women’s team have had thus far. Nevertheless, an enthralling match unfolded with Stevo pushing Butler to their limits and incredibly running out as winners on penalty flicks after a 2-2 draw. Unbelievable scenes followed with Stevo back level for the first time since before the contest began and true belief filled the hearts of the adoring Stevo Rangers in attendance. Optimism for the remaining fixtures was high, however that was to all come crashing down as Stevo failed to register a point after this and finished with a 12 point deficit and defeat in the inaugural ‘Battle of the Howlands’.

As a Stevo Ranger to the core, the defeat sustained on Saturday is not one to dwell upon but a performance to be incredibly proud of. Indeed, moving forward to the future I hope to see the trophy become a semi-permanent fixture in Stephenson Central as we establish our sporting dominance on the Howlands site!



Mixed Netball Teams – Literally!
Our Girls Can’t Stop Smiling Despite Defeat for the Netball As
It’s a LAX Thing
Winning Stevo’s First Point of the Day Feels Good!

Ranger Things: Love in Motion – Volunteering

With it only being a month until the end of Epiphany Term and summative deadlines looming, it’s easy to forget that university is about more than gaining a degree. It’s a place where you meet new friends, find your passions in life and try new things. Over the past two years, I have found that there is no better way to do all those things than by taking part in volunteering. Through volunteering you get to meet people from all walks of life, gain new skills such as communication, and make an impact on the local community through exciting activities. What’s more, gaining all this real-life experience increases your employability, complementing your degree. A study by Oxfam (2017) showed that 80% of employers are more likely to hire an applicant with volunteering experience. So what’s stopping you? Time is often a big barrier but, whilst there is the option to volunteer weekly, you could do a ‘one-off’ session and volunteer just once this year. If you are not convinced yet, continue reading because I’m going to share my volunteering experiences with you!

Volunteering abroad

There are so many ways to get involved in volunteering, you just need to know where to look. Last summer, DUCK (Durham University Charities Kommittee) led me to Peru. Here, I volunteered for 3 weeks at an after-school programme which provided a safe place for the children. It kept the kids off the streets and gave them a decent childhood, as well as a good education to increase their chances of escaping the cycle of poverty in the future. After my volunteering placement was done, I trekked to Machu Picchu!

It has to be one of the best and most meaningful summers I have had. Volunteering is more than gaining skills for your CV. It is the best way to meet new people and get to know other cultures better. It also gives you so many opportunities to try new things and go to new places, like Peru! And all these little things you do greatly impact the local community in the long run.

Volunteering closer to home

Back in the UK, every Wednesday I volunteer at a beautiful farm in the North York Moors through Student Commuity Action. This farm is a safe haven for adults who are physically and mentally disabled. Here, we join in with and facilitate whatever activities they are doing, like woodwork, arts & crafts, and animal care. Sometimes we just take a relaxing walk with them in the woods. One of the reasons I keep on going back is the people. Although I am the volunteer, I always feel like the adults I am volunteering with are the ones helping with all their excitement and joyful personalities. Going to this sanctuary helps me to de-stress and get away from all the university work for a while.

When I can, I get involved in ‘one-off’ events to try new things. One memorable event was when we went Christmas carolling at a Dementia care home. As an international student I can’t celebrate Christmas with my family, so it was nice to share the Christmas spirit with the residents who were also unable to be home with their family! Volunteering brings so much you to and the people who you help; it’s really worth getting involved.

Your Turn to Get Involved!

If anything I mentioned intrigued you to volunteer, get volunteering!

Next week from the 19th – 25th February is Student Volunteering Week, when the whole country will be volunteering together. Student Community Action (SCA) is organising almost 40 activities to give you the opportunity to volunteer, both in Durham and Stockton. With opportunities ranging from conservation projects, to kids’ parties, to horse riding and visting to Fowl Green farm, we have many options for you to choose from. Head to for the Stockton timetable, and for the Durham timetable.

Opinion Piece – Horoscopes: The Ultimate Pseudoscience


I often enjoy the chance to flick through a magazine (or Instagram, as it is currently 2018) and marvel at what the stars and planets have written for me that day. If you sat any logical person down and explained to them what reading your horoscope actually means, they would probably laugh – yet I can guarantee most people reading this have once been so shocked to find out I ACTUALLY DO HAVE TRUST ISSUES, GLAMOUR IS SO RIGHT AND IT’S BECAUSE I WAS BORN IN APRIL.

I decided to run a little social experiment, and after being genuinely worried that I was entering dangerous territory in terms of identity fraud with the amount of personal information that I needed to give them, I found out my horoscope. were very kind to me today, telling me that “Your energy brings your warmth to the table in a big way, so communication is sure to be light hearted, wacky and free-spirited.” What a flirt. You might also be interested to know that I’ve given Joe substantial reasons to be worried about his relationship, as all you Cancers should be aware that “It’s tough to walk that fine balance between love and work, love and your social life, love and — well, you get the picture. If an emotional gale is threatening to tip your own personal SS Romance on its side, try and defuse those forces before it builds into the perfect storm. After all, it’s ever so much nicer — and much smoother sailing — when you and your partner are in sync about what is and isn’t important in your lives.” Sorry. Better watch out that your SS Romance keeps afloat.

I don’t mean to come across as mocking, because in all honestly, and I’m sure many of you can agree with me, that I have definitely read and been affected by my horoscope. If someone tells me that great opportunities and fortune lie ahead of me then I will, of course, be thrilled. Not going to lie, I have even checked my friends and boyfriend’s horoscope before to assure them that despite whatever inner turmoil they may be going through currently, the stars say “Now is the best time to put your big, personal plans in motion — or address shake-ups and reorgs you want to see happen in the workplace.” I even convinced my friend to talk to someone on a night out on the off chance they could have been “Your true love, who is just around the corner, waiting patiently but nervously.” Yeah, I am a sucker for a horoscope, even though deep down I’m sure they are truly, truly rubbish.

Pseudoscience is a fancy term for something that is basically a lie dressed up like a fact. It’s a fake science. Its fake news in its finest. Horoscopes are a prime example of this – the logic that astrologists give us is that your day, in terms of your job, wealth, relationships, hell even what you need to eat for lunch, is determined by the exact position of the stars and planets on the day you were born and how they ‘apparently’ are today. This is clearly, ridiculous. Their argument is that the celestial objects in the sky, and their energy, are influencing whether you should “Show your loved ones a bit more affection today”.

Overall, I hope to have debunked horoscopes for you, yet hopefully not ruin them entirely. As it is still quite nice and reassuring to hear the nice things they have to say about you, or even reasons why today might not have been the best day, because of something that is way out of your control. So, keep reading them if you like them, and don’t if you don’t. The stars will stay the same either way.

After all, I could just be saying all this because I’m a Virgo.

The Unlikely Sport Pulling In Similar Crowds To Some Premier League Clubs

I have enjoyed ice hockey ever since I was young and my parents bought me NHL Hitz 2003 for my GameCube (an incredible game on a fantastic console). However, until December I had only managed to satisfy this enjoyment by the occasional watching of Disney’s The Mighty Ducks or a YouTube session watching highlights of the Stanley Cup. However, over the Christmas vacation, I managed to experience live ice hockey for the first time and ever since I have been completely hooked.

Now I have to make it clear here that I didn’t make a transatlantic trip to experience the glitz of the NHL, although one day I’m sure I will. No, instead I was bought tickets for the Elite Ice Hockey League fixture between Sheffield Steelers and Manchester Storm.

Steelers blog 2
Balance, speed and incredible co-ordination is required to play this incredible sport!

Entering the arena I anticipated a few hundred in the crowd and paper programs for 50p but what I saw completely changed my opinion. As I entered the arena there was a full merchandise stand with high quality jerseys, t-shirts, car accessories, key rings, hats, scarves etcetera etcetera, the list goes on. There were sellers at every door pedaling high quality, professionally printed programs and raffle tickets galore. Now this really was a surprise to me, surely this is a little bit over the top for the few hundred fans that are going to actually turn up right?

Wrong. As I entered through the arena doors to where the rink sat I was greeted by the roar of nearly 9000 fans. Now let me just contextualise that. Bournemouth, a Premier League football team, currently have an average attendance of just over 10,000 per game. Football is our national sport and the Premier League is a global attraction and therefore for the Steelers, who I’m presuming many of you haven’t heard of, to get 9000 for an ice hockey game is an incredible effort. Ice hockey in the UK is a big business.

Steelers Blog

However, my awe and amazement did not stop there. Ice hockey matches really are a spectacle to behold from the off with each player coming out to a darkened arena with a spotlight following them. After this, in true American style, the teams line up for the National Anthem.

Then, and only after all of the showbiz, the game begins. A high-octane, fast paced action fest with huge tackles, fistfights and plenty of skill is all captured in real time, and in slow motion replays on the big screen. However, what I applauded above all of the big hits and incredible hand eye co-ordination was the unbelievable ease with which these players maneuvered their bodies around what was effectively a frozen 7-a-side football pitch. I’m sure many of you reading have had the pleasure of finding a patch of ice on the QC astroturf and therefore for these men to stay up right, let alone duck, dive and turn on a sixpence, with only a few millimetres of metal providing any friction with the frozen ground is absolutely mesmerising.

I’m sure its clear here how much I really enjoyed my first experience of watching professional ice hockey. But, at risk of sounding too sycophantic, I think that regardless of your preference for sports, this one is truly spectator focused and is a spectacle to behold. I would suggest that if you’re looking for something to do you check out your nearest Elite League club and watch a game – it’s well worth it for a fantastic day out.