While I look forward to welcoming you to Derwent College, the people who will really welcome you when you arrive are the existing Derwent students. Over 100 Derwent students have volunteered to be second and third year contacts (STYCs) who will be around on arrivals day and for the first fortnight to welcome you into their community. Derwent is above all a community organised by and for students.
As such Derwent is a lively and sociable college. Derwent students organise the biggest and best social events on campus. Club D is the only college event that regularly sells out and brings together 500 Derwent students from different years three times a term. Big D is the largest student organised event on campus as the college and the outdoor areas between blocks are transformed for our end of year festival.
Derwent's sociability is enhanced by its large residential blocks built around the social spaces in the Derwent nucleus. We maintain a policy of free movement of Derwent students within blocks without locks between floors which gives Derwent its unique social character. Most Derwent students develop not only a circle of friends from their floor, but an extensive network of friends from different floors, blocks and years.
The sociability and student-run character of the college require students to demonstrate a corresponding degree of responsibility and respect for others. My job, and that of the Welfare Team, is to encourage a sense of responsibility and respect amongst residents, as well as supporting individuals through the undoubted pressures of University life.
Derwent has a strong ethos of student involvement through social events, college sports and other activities. As well as the elected Junior Common Room Committee (JCRC) there is a large committee which organises Big D and creates the decorations to transform the college. RAG, student volunteering and college sports also involve Derwent students of all years.
Derwent also promotes engage between current students, alumni and staff. Last year we inaugurated the Garden created by alumni and students for our late Provost Ron Weir with an alumni weekend, involving careers talks by alumni. In the coming year I plan to hold a Burns Night Supper and Ceilidh to bring together staff, student and alumni. Derwent alumni also come back each year for a sporting weekend. I hope that you will take the opportunity to meet them, and that you, like them, will feel that in Derwent you are "part of the most wonderful sort of family" (Tom Dowling, English, 1998-2001).
All Colleges exist to foster sociability, integration and student involvement. What makes Derwent different is the way in which we achieve these aims.
Provost Rob Aitken