Societies

An introduction from your Sports and Societies Officers – Hannah McQueen & Sara Crozier

Hello freshers. You’ve made it to one of the top universities in the country and arguably the best and friendliest college within it (in our totally unbiased opinion), so a massive congratulations and the warmest of welcomes! We are Hannah and Sara, your Sports and Societies Officers for this year. Our role means that we overlook all the magnificent sports clubs and societies at Mary’s, so we’ll be running the Mary’s freshers’ fair (whether that’s virtual or in-person), introducing new sports and societies, advertising college and uni-wide sporting opportunities, and ensuring that you can make the most of your time here at Mary’s.

Mary’s clubs and societies pride themselves on being inclusive, accommodating, and welcoming so there really is something for everyone. Whatever your hobbies or interests, you will find a club for you with our wide range of sports offered, a plethora of different music and arts societies and other clubs such as a Christian Union, Mary’s Dance, and more, with each having their own socials. The clubs on offer are part of our JCR and are student led but if you realise we don’t have the sports team or society that you’re looking for, then you can make your own! Just speak to us about how to get your organisation ratified and finding funding and equipment, your wish is our command. Another part of our role is to work closely with Team Durham staff advertising opportunities, meaning you can take your sport to another level. Whatever your goal we are here to help.

Here’s the link to Experience Mary’s: https://www.facebook.com/experiencemarys/

If you have any questions whatsoever, just drop me an email on hannah.mcqueen@durham.ac.uk / sara.g.crozier@durham.ac.uk or contact one of the Society Presidents below.


St. Mary’s College Arts Society (SMCAS)

President: Angelica Southwood (angelica.s.southwood@durham.ac.uk)

Find out more information at: https://sites.durham.ac.uk/smcjcr/music-and-drama/


Basement Jazz (within SMCAS)

President: Milo Stephens (milo.a.stephens@durham.ac.uk)

Basement Jazz is one of Durham’s most well-established function bands. Formed in 2011, our repertoire spans a range of jazz-centric genres, although you’re more than likely to know the words to pretty much all the songs in our set.

We are the resident band here at Mary’s, meaning we take centre stage at numerous college events throughout the year, including the winter & masquerade balls and Mary’s day. Aside from that, we are a much-loved name on wider Durham music scene and have made appearances at Fabio’s bar and the infamous Castle June ball, amongst others.

The reputation of the band has grown significantly over the last few years and although we do open auditions to everyone, preference has always been give to Mary’s students. Our auditions are super relaxed and just like a normal band rehearsal, so look out for our stand at the freshers’ fayre and don’t be afraid to put your name down for a slot.

Head over to our Facebook page or follow us on Instagram (@basement.jazz) for information on upcoming gigs and to find out what we’ve been up to recently.


Chapel Choir (within SMCAS)

President: Hugo Jennings (hugo.jennings@durham.ac.uk)

St Mary’s College Chapel sings fortnightly services in the College Chapel, usually Choral Evensong, but with one Sung Eucharist every term. Throughout the year there are additional services, including the College Carol Service which will be in St Oswald’s Church this year, and we go on tour at the end of the year, more recently going to places like Prague and Vienna. We audition in October for paid choral scholar positions, but the rest of the choir is welcome to sing on a non-auditioned basis. The choir is currently accepting applications for an Assistant Director of Music, and would love to hear from anyone who is interested in applying for this post or for the choral scholarships.


Christian Union (CU)

Co-Presidents: Beth Fraser (elisabeth.s.fraser@durham.ac.uk) and Josh Rickard (joshua.m.rickard@durham.ac.uk)

Welcome to Mary’s! As a Christian Union, we are a student-led group of Christians who meet weekly in a relaxed environment to catch-up and chill, and we encourage one another to grow in faith through Bible studies, prayer, and worship. We aim to run regular socials to help get to know each other better, and run events in college for the wider college community to help give every student the chance to hear what we believe.

Whether you’re a committed Christian, never heard of Christianity, or anything in between, you are always so very welcome to come along to Mary’s CU! As a group from a variety of backgrounds, we’d also love to help you find a church that helps you feel at home here in Durham. If you have any questions, feel free to drop us an email any time! We’d love the hear from you!

Love, Beth and Josh (your Mary’s CU Reps)

Our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maryschristianunion.mcu

Our Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/st_marys_cu/


Communities Committee

Communities Officer: Sophie Paxton (sophie.paxton@durham.ac.uk)

Hey! I’m Sophie a second-year student studying French and international relations. Congratulations to you all on your wonderful A level results and for getting into the best college in Durham!

I’m your communities Officer which means I’ll be running community events throughout the year so that Mary’s students can give back to the local community. I’ll also be promoting university wide volunteering opportunities so that everybody is aware of the ways in which they can engage with Durham as a city, not just as a university.  Unfortunately, Covid means that the local community will have a greater need than ever for help and I’ll be making sure that we’re on hand to provide that help!

Ultimately, we are happy to tailor what we focus on depending on what interests you the most so if you are interested or have any questions feel free to email me at sophie.paxton@durham.ac.uk!


Debate Society

President: Patrick Stephens (patrick.stephens@durham.ac.uk)

Facebook Group: https://m.facebook.com/groups/562919421131125?tsid=0.28159322027218303&source=result


DUCK Committee

Senior DUCK Representatives: Olivia Buckley (olivia.buckley@durham.ac.uk)


Environment Society

Environment Officer: Ellie Tolhurst & Owen Towler

As a member of St Mary’s College and Durham University you are part of a community which is proud to be committed to Environmental Sustainability.

Excessive energy consumption is a significant element of global climate change. At St Mary’s College we have taken up the challenge to reduce energy usage as a commitment towards environmental sustainability. Every member of the college is asked to contribute to this culture: only by all working together can we make a real difference.

All students are urged to consider energy use for environmental reasons because energy costs are a significant portion of the residence charge and are reflected in the size of your termly bill.


Esperanto Society

Presidents: Jemima Jones and Lucia Kirchhof


Ethnic Minorities Association

Ethnic Minorities Representative: Khaira Ashcroft (khaira.s.ashcroft@durham.ac.uk)

This year I have been doing a lot of work with the other reps in regards to the Black Lives Matter Movement, and how concepts such as Anti-racism and Allyship can be implemented into college life. Throughout the year I run discussion panels with keynote speakers (last year’s panel topics included Colourism and the fetishisation of Black culture), fun socials such as movie nights and club nights, and ‘KitKat & Chitchat’ events,  providing a safe space for POC to socialise within the Durham Bubble. Moving to a predominantly white university can be a really daunting thing, but I am here to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible, and that you feel fully comfortable in your new home. I cannot wait to meet you all, we have a really great year ahead planned and I am so excited for you to join us in Mary’s. Here’s to the 3 best years of your life!


Fine Arts & Crafts Society

Co-presidents: Rebecca Duckworth (rebecca.a.duckworth@durham.ac.uk) and Anna Pratley (anna.c.pratley@durham.ac.uk)

We are a relaxed, friendly society who meet in college for cosy evenings of arts and crafts! Materials (and sometimes snacks!) are provided, and past sessions have included: watercolour, origami, acrylics on mini canvases, sketching, clay and cute Christmas decorations. Fine Arts and Crafts is a great way to unwind, de-stress and meet your fellow Marians, whilst exercising those creative muscles! Absolutely everyone is welcome, regardless of experience, and we are so excited to expand the society and welcome new members! Check out our Facebook group to keep up to date with future sessions, and have a look at our Instagram to see what we’ve been up to at home! If you have any questions or want to know more, drop us an email!

https://instagram.com/marysfinearts?igshid=11otntlte028v

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2417698205167047/?ref=share


Feminist Society

Co-Presidents: Emily Wall (emily.f.wall@durham.ac.uk) and Fran Naylor (francesca.l.naylor@durham.ac.uk)

St Mary’s College Feminist Society was created in 2014 and has been a growing society ever since. We hold a whole range of events from panels to discussion groups to workshops to socials all of which promote and relate to the topic of intersectional feminism. The academic year 2019-2020 saw events ranging from discussion groups on hormonal contraception and allyship, a panel on environmental feminism, and a talk with CoppaFeel.

The main aim of FemSoc is to promote inclusitivity and positivity. This society is built upon active participation and we encourage everyone to get involved and come to events. Social media forms a really crucial platform to this society through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/stmarys.femsoc/?ref=bookmarks) and Instagram (marys.femsoc). We encourage individuals to write their own content for our socials and contribute their own knowledge about current events, feminist icons (which get posted weekly) and anything related to feminism which they are passionate about. You can do that through DMing any of the socials, directly getting in contact with one of the exec members or through our google form (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd37qShmiR_TleRffPp6REs7ft8T_eliXCnx8JCkWDmFaVIOg/viewform?usp=sf_link) which is an anonymous way to get in touch with any ideas.

We have a resource list of previous topics and topics which we will be looking at over the next year which is continually updated by our secretary. This is a really useful way to get involved if you cannot attend meetings or even if you already have and want to learn more! https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iMG80lnWKkffezXXHxaS2BmBhviYS8-fb2DVj8CEW2k/edit

Also, here is our feminist bops playlist where we post our tunes of the week! https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0GdRFpuGolpN1qiKBgUCF4?si=RJplRxScRjivWsTyltfvrA


Foot of the Hill Drama Society (within SMCAS)

Co-Presidents: Niamh Hanns and Alice Bridge (footofthehilltheatre@gmail.com)

Foot of the Hill Theatre Company takes care of everything drama related at Mary’s. We aim to put a production on each term, usually comprising of a Christmas pantomime, a play in second term, and finally, after all exams are over, we have a summer musical. We strive to be as inclusive as possible, so whether or not you think “all the world’s a stage”, there is a spot for you in Mary’s Drama and we value any skill you can bring to the team. Whether you find your niche centre stage, at the lighting desk, in the director’s chair or even helping to design/paint props, drama is an unrivalled way to meet tonnes of new friends and have countless, unforgettable experiences and memories. To join, or not to join…there is no question!


Games Society

Presidents: Rex Munson (rex.munson@durham.ac.uk)


International Committee

President: Peter Pakozdy (peter.pakozdy@durham.ac.uk)

The International Committee celebrates international diversity and culture at Mary’s and at Durham. We aim to foster an inclusive and globally-aware environment at college. In the past, the committee has organised events such as the ‘International Food Fair’, ‘International Movie Night’ and ‘Dumpling-Making Session’. This year, we’re planning on celebrating even more festivals and cultures by organising a Diwali-themed formal, an International Week, and many other events. We will also collaborate with other international committees across the university and promote international events being hosted by other colleges and societies at Durham. Another important role of the committee is to provide support to international students throughout the year and to listen to their concerns about issues ranging from home sickness to administrative doubts.

This is a super inclusive, open and interactive society, where everyone has a say. It’s open to local, international, Erasmus and Teikyo students alike! Do get in touch if you have any doubts.


Journalism Society

President: Josh Goodwin (joshua.n.goodwin@durham.ac.uk)

The St Mary’s College Journalists’ Society was formed as a coalition of Mary’s students – both returners and those graduating – who had an interest in working in different aspects of the field. We write articles on all things Mary’s for past, current and future Mary’s students. Everything is published on our blog: stmarysjournalismsoc.wordpress.com. You can look forward to talks by alumni, writing about Mary’s, career events, and much more – so get involved!


LGBT+ Association

President: Alicia Bickerstaff (alicia.bickerstaff@durham.ac.uk)

I am here to support students both in terms of welfare and to help organise fun events to help freshers get to know each other as I know how isolating it can sometimes feel as an LGBT+ student in Durham. If you ever have an issue or an idea you want to discuss please get in touch as I believe that no issue is too small or no idea to wild.

Although we may not have an LGBT+ club night this year I’m hoping to organise lots of other fun events to help freshers get to know one another. Finally, I know there is often a strong creative arts strain within the LGBT+ community at Mary’s so if you have any interest in getting involved with publicity or this year’s charity fashion show please get in touch as we would love to have as many freshers involved as possible.


Pub Quiz Society

President: Ethan Rawlins (ethan.a.rawlins@durham.ac.uk)


Mario Kart Society

Presidents: Matt Newhall (matthew.newhall@durham.ac.uk)


Karaoke Society

President: Robert Birch (robert.c.birch@durham.ac.uk)

Here at Karaoke Soc we are all about one thing: putting on and running great Karaoke events in college. Over the past year, there have been many memorable nights facilitated by Karaoke Soc, from during freshers to after formals, from having a specific theme to being open to (pretty much) any song anyone wants to perform. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join, and no experience of karaoke is required; whether you are a born performer or just willing to help out with tech, this is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable societies at Mary’s to be a part of.


Mary’s Dance (within SMCAS)

President: Alice Watson (alice.c.watson@durham.ac.uk)

Find more information at: https://sites.durham.ac.uk/smcjcr/sports/


Mary’s Mixed Voices (MMV) (within SMCAS)

President: Emily Davenport (emily.f.davenport@durham.ac.uk) & Jillian Hardy (jillian.hardy@durham.ac.uk)

Mary’s Mixed Voices is a fun, inclusive and welcoming non-auditioned choir for singers of all abilities. We rehearse every Tuesday evening in college, signing a variety of genres with termly performance opportunities at balls, live lounges and other events. Please get in touch with either of us if you have any questions, and we look forward to seeing lots of you there!


Poetry Society

Presidents: Yet to be Elected!


Vegetarian & Vegan Society 

Presidents: Fiona Schweizer (fiona.m.schweizer@durham.ac.uk)


Welfare Committee

Acting Senior Welfare Officer: Amy Harris (st-marys.wam@durham.ac.uk)


Social Committee

Social Chairs: Megan Titterington & Helena De-Gorrequer-Griffith (st-marys.social@durham.ac.uk)


Tech Committee

Senior Tech Officer: Matt Newhall (matthew.newhall@durham.ac.uk)

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Yoga Society

President: Natasha Judson-Richardson (natasha.k.judson-richardson@durham.ac.uk)