Happy New Year

After the Christmas break and the excitement at the end of last term with a successful Narnia-themed Winter Ball, Hattie and I are looking forward to the new term.

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Dates for your Diaries

We have events coming up specifically for the alumni community. On the 2nd of April our annual London reunion will take place. There will be a networking event during the day, encouraging current students to come and meet the Angels outside of Durham. In the evening there will be a dinner for Butler alumni. More information on the reunion will follow.


On the 4th of June Butler Day is the launch of the Tenth Year Anniversary. Our College day has been moved to a Saturday in an aim to ensure alumni can come up for the entire day. This Butler Day will be bigger and better than ever to kickstart celebrations.

Volunteer for Butler

Is your New Year’s resolution to get more involved in the College community? Well you are in luck. Josephine Butler is looking for alumni volunteers in several different areas.


Want to access that tempting recruitment bonus but don’t know how to start? Join Butler Angels to meet lots of students with no idea what they want to do after university.


If you have an aptitude for engaging with people through social media or just spend too much time on your Facebook feed, put this time to good use keeping alumni up to date on news from the alumni community.


If you live in London, Durham, Newcastle, Manchester or York apply to be an area volunteer. You can make sure that your area is represented in alumni events.

For more information or to volunteer email a.m.whitehouse@durham.ac.uk.

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Alumni Reunion 13th-15th November

The weekend of the 13th to the 15th of November saw one of the biggest events of the calendar for the whole of Durham. Most will think I am talking about Lumiere. Most would be mistaken as the weekend was the first Alumni Reunion of 2015-2016 in Durham. The lights of Lumiere could not compare with the smiles of the returning Alumni on hearing plans of attending Klute both Friday and Saturday night.

Alumni were welcomed back with open arms by societies such as Cheese and Wine, Rock and Alt Soc and Pitch, Please. Others attended the Open Mic Night in the bar and some even ventured into town in the miserable rain to look at the light installations of Lumiere. Generally all alumni happily returned to Klute to see if the worst nightclub in Europe had changed at all.


Saturday morning twenty alumni took over Café Continental to enjoy brunch. The day was taken up by alumni supporting their old college teams at matches, comparing JB’s to the old Coffee Shop and Kitchen and not letting first years near the pool tables. Saj continued to earn his Butler Day title of highest contribution to bar profits. Big names returned to the bar and to appreciate the tidiness of the JCR Office, including past presidents Stu Drayton, Will Kendall and Siri Minsaas. I was very star struck by the number of JCR heroes in the room.

In the evening twenty alumni prepared for the alumni dinner held in college, which they expected to be your average formal food in the seminar room. They were pleasantly surprised by the way the food quite different to a normal formal; apart from the toast to Josephine Butler at the end. Hattie Pridmore’s brainwave of displaying photos of the dinner guests in their early Butler Days brought nostalgia to all.DSC_0101

After the dinner, alumni congregated in the bar before taking on Klute for the second night in a row. Plans to hop onto the late PR2 into town were stopped when news came that Elvet had been closed. The pouring rain did not stop singing alumni making their way through town, ending up in Klute looking a little damp.12244809_954731017913691_2356339879835966501_o

Sunday morning Angels returned to impart their career advice to students with an amazing turnout. The bacon sandwiches on offer to Angels and students who signed up clearly lured people out of bed. The rest of Sunday involved lots of goodbyes and the bar emptying out slowly. The JCR has now returned to a normal week, however, with a feeling something is missing. You.


See you in April for the reunion in London.



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Freshers’ Week

A review of the Butler Games Freshers’ week that held more surprises than any Frep Team could have anticipated.


Just over two weeks ago the new Butlerites arrived at Butler College to a sea of enthusiastic Freps in yellow t-shirts, facepainted with red and yellow stripes, dots and other miscellaneous shapes. Many drivers on route up to the Butler roundabout indulged the mole who asked them to ‘beep for Butler.’ The new Butlerites made their way up the drive to be greeted by pounding music, which Des O’Neill bobbed his head to. Freshers went through the standard registration procedure, acquiring campus card, gown, different booklets and some Butler Games stash. Friendly freps moved the anxious Freshers into their new rooms for the year.

The Butler Games were officially kick-started by Anisha and Laurie, this year’s Head Freps. Following dinner in flats, the Butler Colours Rave started with Matt Ricketts, our facepaint guru, revealing the design of the Butler Crest, on his face. DJ Dejavu graced Butler stage to deliver an amazing set that made the bar come alive and Freshers take to the makeshift dancefloor of JB’s. Chilled made sure the red and yellow dress code extended to the meeting room, whilst the welfare team provided tea and toast expertly.


After a somewhat refreshing sleep, depending on the Fresher you asked, the academic commitments began. The normal questions surrounding connecting to the wifi, where post is delivered and how to use the PR2 were asked. The day occurred with little to report.

However, plans of Milfield cooking pizzas and Dilston attending their first ever Butler formal were delayed by a power cut in all three accommodation blocks, Butler Bar and the Howlands building. The poor Freshers believed that the Butler Games theme was being taken slightly too seriously. I can reveal the power cut was not planned in the timetable. The Freshers and Freps gathered in the staircases under the emergency lighting, some with guitars, to pass the time in the dark. The worst of the power cut (with all of Butler being affected) lasted about an hour and a half.

As power returned to the Bar, Howlands, Kirknewton and Milfield cooking was resumed. The formal began with a reduced high table entering the Howlands Hall, greeted by rumbling stomachs. The atmosphere in the Hall returned calm, as people were fed. Unfortunately this atmosphere could not last, as Dilston’s power could not be turned back on. Dilstoners were to be rehoused around Butler or in the Viaduct.Blissfully unaware, Milfielders danced away in the bar to The Invitations.

Dilstoners returned to their rooms to pick up some overnight clothes and essentials. The lucky few rehoused in Butler joined the Milfielders in the bar. Even though Dilston had no power Butler spirit could not be turned off, with all Freshers being very cooperative in moving.


Luckily, on Tuesday the Dilston students were able to move back into their rooms, power included. The events of the night before inspired some chants that were debuted on the Butler Stroll including: “If your food is defrosted clap your hands etc.” The first years made the most of the Stroll night as the matriculation photo could not take place on the Wednesday morning before University matriculation, due to Milfield Field resembling more of a swamp than a football pitch. This did not stop Freps waking up the Freshers with pots, pans and chanting. The procession down to the Cathedral was slightly dampened by more rain than Durham has ever seen. The soggy first years were welcomed, by the new Vice-Chancellor, into Durham University. If the Freshers did not feel the excitement of matriculation, or did not understand it, the balloon bridge and a dancing mole on Pre-bends Bridge cleared things up. The rest of the day was taken up by College Matriculation, Milfield’s formal (no power cuts but GBBO was missed) and a recharge night, where Freps and one talented Fresher took to the stage to offer music sets.


The Matriculation photo was rescheduled to the Thursday morning, taking place on Butler drive. The Freps took the chance once more to wake the Freshers with pots and pans. After Freps joined in for the final photo the rest of the day carried on as normal with academic commitments. Another stroll took place on Thursday night ending in the infamous Klute. Freshers did not quite know what to think as they were greeted by brick exterior. However, all seemed to enjoy their night out.


The Friday night bar event was the UV silent disco, which was a resounding success with all Freshers. One even returned in his pyjamas after making the rookie decision of heading to bed early. All Freps and Freshers sang with the music in their headphones until 2am.


The Butler Fair on Saturday attracted Freshers and Returners toign up for societies, sports and committees. Returners stayed on for the 90s’ Throwback Night as Spice Girls music dominated the bar. The night ended and the Freshers’ sadness, that the week was coming to an end, was felt by all Freps. However there was one more day before the yellow t-shirts were thrown to the back of wardrobes.

Sunday welfare took over. Giving out survival packs for Freshers to avoid Freshers Flu that most Freps were already experiencing. The week concluded with a JCR meeting that filled important positions whilst also putting forward an interesting mock motion  of changing the name of Treasurer to the Wolf of South Road, to reflect Sam Strading’s Leonardo DiCaprio esque lifestyle.


Thank you to the incredible frep team, with whom the week would not have been possible. Thank you to Anisha and Laurie for organising a great week. Thank you to Hattie for her constant enthusiasm. Finally, thank you to the Freshers who made the week enjoyable and worthwhile. Here is to a great year where at Butler the odds will always be in your favour.

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Graduation 2015 (No puns included)


Whilst all of the current students were either vacated from college or hidden away in their second year houses, the large marquee was erected on Palace Green to mark the start of Graduation Week. The city centre was packed with the masses of graduates surrounded by family, friends and distant relatives who wanted to experience a ceremony in the Cathedral.

I was lucky enough to graduate in the first graduation ceremony so the stressful build-up of the debate of whether to wear heels or not was not extensive. With a pleasant 9am start for my 11am congregation I was happy to amble up to Palace Green to pick up my fluffy hood and gown. You do have to feel for everyone that had to be up at 5:30am for their 9am congregation.

I would go through the procedure but I am sure basically everyone knows it, in the name of tradition I doubt it has changed. My ceremony, though, was described as uninspiring. It was a great hour and a half in the Cathedral but no one went for a fist bump, hug or high five. Later in the week there were rumours of an attempted selfie which was stopped aggressively with all members of the academic procession jumping on the student. But that may have been exaggerated.

All in all, it was a lovely day where I was surrounded by family and friends. Everyone who graduated with me and all the graduates all week seemed to share the same feeling: “we did it.” So this post has to be congratulations to all 2015 graduates but also all Butler Graduates wherever you are now. I hope you look back on your graduation day as fondly as I look back at last week.


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Butler Day, Bfestival 15

I had the unique pleasure this year of co-organising Butler Day with Siri. This is the first year (as far as I know) that a SCDO has ever had to plan the day, and I have to say a huge congratulations to any of you that have organised a previous Butler Day, it is no easy feat!

So this blog post was just to catch everyone up to speed on the day in case you missed it! It is safe to say that it was a great day and once the rain cleared in the early afternoon and the drink started flowing a little more, Butler settled into a cracking afternoon and evening of fun!

This years Butler Day was themed around Bfestival, basically a generic festival feel was the aim of the day, which was achieved by having a number of bands on throughout the day, split over 2 stages. Of course in true Butler Day style there were waltzers, inflatables and crazy golf to entertain those that didn’t want to just listen to bands all day. Add this to the Butler Tigers and Dance Troupe performance, and a comedy magician act in the evening it was safe to say many tastes were catered for! The day was rounded off by 2 main bands in the bar and then a DJ playing until 2am, at which point the bar was still very full (a good sign that the day went ok!).

The traditions of Butler Day were not forgotten and the Awards were read out to a packed audience in the bar, followed by the infamous Mr+Mrs Butler, where Jacob Ireson and Hannah Turner were voted as the 2015 Mr+Mrs Butler. DSC_0211 DSC_0215 DSC_0207 DSC_0208 DSC_0213 DSC_0002 DSC_0009 DSC_0018

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who contributed to the day, whether it was helping set-up the decorations or if you were an attending alumni. Looking ahead to next year, Butler Day 2016 will be in line with the 10th Year Anniversary, so expect something bigger and better than Butler has ever attempted before!

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A summary of Second Term

Epiphany term kicked off with bang as a jammed packed Re-freshers’ week unfolded. The week began with a Noah’s Ark themed charity formal, where pairs had been able to swap each other around onto different tables, all for a charitable donation. There were some fantastic animal outfits, from Giraffes to Unicorns! During the week there was a Newcastle Night Out and the infamous re-Butler Stroll, where a huge number turned out to don the Stroll t-Shirts and head into town! The rest of Second term followed suit from this first week, with countless events taking place and a multitude of activities, getting Butler even more on the map as the best College!

Just summarising the best parts of Epiphany this year was a challenge, there is just too much to choose from! So I have decided to take some of the best and some of the new events to expand upon.

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Grace House Auction

The annual Grace House Auction was once again a fantastic success. With guest auctioneer Neville Tynemouth and with a fantastic set of prizes sourced by Charity Comm we managed to raise a staggering £1450 for Grace House! Up for grabs were High Table seats at a Castle formal, Durham Gina and Vodka, home-made cakes, the chance to trace back family trees, just to name a few! With the addition of numerous other charity events throughout the year we are well underway to achieve substantial fundraising for Grace House!

International Festival

Sunday the 8th of February saw Butler’s first ever International Festival. Hosted in the Howlands and organised by our International Rep Sabrina, there were around 20 different countries represented by stalls. The groups showcased food, fashion and the arts. There performances from Taekwondo, Belly dancers and a didgeridoo. Throughout the day the festival attracted over 500 people from across the University and the local community. The event was a fantastic success and there is much hope to build upon it in the years to come!

Fashion Show

Butlerites once again took to the catwalk in the annual fashion show. This years theme was seasons, and the event featured clothing lines from each season as well as special green walks and the underwear walk. The auction raised nearly another £1,400 for Grace House, and there were a number of performances that ranged from Dance and Cheerleaders to numerous vocal acts. The event was a great success and thanks go to this year’s Fashion Show chairs Lucy Reeves and Sally Crawford.


The Epiphany STAB play was held at Ushaw College, similar to the STAB formal performance. However, the twist was that the scenes took place in different rooms of Ushaw, allowing the audience to move around and sample the grandeur of the building in full detail. The play was themed around The Canterbury Tales, and the magnificent acting from STAB really brought Chaucer’s work to life. The play took a huge amount of effort, and it really paid off, the entire experience was magical.


Butler has always been big on sporting achievements. However, in the final week of term the Football club really shone. For starters the Women’s football team stormed through the cup league and emerged victorious, and only a few days later then placed top in the Premiership League. This incredibly success was followed by the Men’s team then beating Aidan’s 1-0 to win the Floodlit Cup trophy. The astounding success of the Football team really shone in the final few weeks of the term, and they did an incredible job of involving the wider College community.  Hopefully this success will be taken on over the years to come and we can cement ourselves as a College of sporting prowess amongst our other traits.

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Back to Butler – February Reunion 2015

The weekend of February the 14th is usually a time to celebrate love, normally with a partner. However, for 50 alumni this weekend was a point to celebrate their truest love; their love for Butler. Soppy I know, but these 50 alumni made the trek back up South Road to experience a nostalgic weekend and to keep engaging with the Butler Spirit.

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The weekend was kicked off with a Karaoke night on the Friday in the Bar. Whilst slow to start it eventually picked up towards the later evening, with a variety of tunes from Taylor Swift to Queen. It was great to see the interaction between current students and alumni as they battled over who could sing the most out of tune. After the karaoke had finished the alumni flocked to the only place worth going to after 11pm, classic Klute. The celebrations ran far into the early hours of Saturday morning, it was bound to happen really though.

Saturday saw even more alumni arriving, and then began some planned events. A number of people just chilled out in the bar area, whilst others went to play football for one of Butlers prestigious teams.  Later in the afternoon there was a Meet the Angels event, which gave the opportunity for current students to meet and talk careers with the alumni. The evening saw the main event approach. Everyone gathered in the bar to jump on a coach to Ushaw College. It’s safe to say that the alumni found the aesthetics very impressive, as we were able to dine in the refectory hall. The meal gave the opportunity for all the alumni visiting to reconnect in one space, as after the food was finished there was a lot of mingling between tables. The night then continued with coaches back to Butler and a few drinks before once again heading out to Klute. The biggest shock for some alumni is the conversion of Studio to “Union Bar”, hence the infamous double Klute weekend. Once again the festivities carried on far into the night.

Sunday morning was a ghost town as most people were still in bed until the afternoon sleeping off the third quaddie. By Sunday afternoon though the bar was once again littered with hung-over and sleep deprived bodies, to the untrained eye it looked like normal students, not those that have left a year or more ago. Finally as the evening approached the crowds departed, and Butler once again became alumni-less. That is apart from ex-SCDO Sian who decided to stay one more night in order to watch the JCR Meeting and the Presidential husts.

It was great to see such a variety of year groups attending the weekend as a whole, and it can only be hoped that the successes of the reunions keep increasing year on year. The weekend has shown that the Butler Spirit never truly goes away, and the smile on people’s faces as they walk through the bar again after so long is just incredible to see. The next reunion will be the weekend of Butler Day (30th – 31st May) so look out for more information closer to the time!

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