Van Mildert College

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Van Mildert College's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Van Mildert College is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.dur.ac.uk/van-mildert.college

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
42 | VAN MILDERT COLLEGE
Principal DavidHarper
Schools from the local area are welcomed
to the Young Persons’ Project
Rich in “diversity, energy and opportunity”, Van Mildert
College offers stunning lakeside surroundings in which
students at Durham University can study, work and live.
With a strong ethos, a vibrant social environment and a focus
on student development, the college has welcomed more than
11,000 students since its foundation in 1965. Principal Professor
David Harper tells
The Parliamentary Review
what makes the
Van Mildert College community so special.
Universities are undergoing significant change, possibly as major as the expansion
of the higher education sector in the mid 1960s, following the recommendations
of the Robbins report. The demographic is shifting in many universities towards the
recruitment of more international students, while providing the opportunities for
those from the widest range of backgrounds and educational needs. Accessibility
to higher education remains a priority. College life provides that supportive and
transformative environment interfacing with the rigours of an academic education,
to develop a new generation of responsible, global citizens.
Van Mildert College is a constituent college of Durham University and was founded
in 1965 during the expansion of the UK university sector. Opening the college, the
Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Michael Ramsay, hoped that this college on the southern
flank of the university “would be populated by eccentrics” and warned that its students
would be inheriting a world in a “terrible mess”. The college is now one of the largest
of Durham University, with some 1,750 members and 525 residents; it is dominated,
residentially, by first-year undergraduates but also is home to a significant cohort of
postgraduate students and some second, third and fourth year undergraduates, known
as “returners”. There are over 11,000 Van Mildert College alumnae distributed globally.
FACTS ABOUT
VAN MILDERT COLLEGE
»Principal: DavidHarper
»Deputy Principal:
Victoria Brown
»Founded in 1965
»Located in Durham
»Services: College
»No. of current students:
1,750, with 525 residents
Van Mildert College
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
42 | VAN MILDERT COLLEGE
Principal DavidHarper
Schools from the local area are welcomed
to the Young Persons’ Project
Rich in “diversity, energy and opportunity”, Van Mildert
College offers stunning lakeside surroundings in which
students at Durham University can study, work and live.
With a strong ethos, a vibrant social environment and a focus
on student development, the college has welcomed more than
11,000 students since its foundation in 1965. Principal Professor
David Harper tells
The Parliamentary Review
what makes the
Van Mildert College community so special.
Universities are undergoing significant change, possibly as major as the expansion
of the higher education sector in the mid 1960s, following the recommendations
of the Robbins report. The demographic is shifting in many universities towards the
recruitment of more international students, while providing the opportunities for
those from the widest range of backgrounds and educational needs. Accessibility
to higher education remains a priority. College life provides that supportive and
transformative environment interfacing with the rigours of an academic education,
to develop a new generation of responsible, global citizens.
Van Mildert College is a constituent college of Durham University and was founded
in 1965 during the expansion of the UK university sector. Opening the college, the
Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Michael Ramsay, hoped that this college on the southern
flank of the university “would be populated by eccentrics” and warned that its students
would be inheriting a world in a “terrible mess”. The college is now one of the largest
of Durham University, with some 1,750 members and 525 residents; it is dominated,
residentially, by first-year undergraduates but also is home to a significant cohort of
postgraduate students and some second, third and fourth year undergraduates, known
as “returners”. There are over 11,000 Van Mildert College alumnae distributed globally.
FACTS ABOUT
VAN MILDERT COLLEGE
»Principal: DavidHarper
»Deputy Principal:
VictoriaBrown
»Founded in 1965
»Located in Durham
»Services: College
»No. of current students:
1,750, with 525 residents
Van Mildert College
43VAN MILDERT COLLEGE |
EDUCATION SERVICES
Students are offered membership of the
appropriate common room; the Junior
Common Room for undergraduates
and Middle Common Room for
postgraduates. While membership is
optional, the JCR and MCR offer a
range of activities and opportunities
which greatly enhance the student
experience. University staff and friends
of the college from the city and beyond
join the Senior Common Room along
with college fellows, all of whom do
so with the primary aim of supporting
the student experience across a variety
of aspects of college life, in addition
to enjoying the social and networking
opportunities provided. Finally, our staff
include housekeepers, catering and
kitchen staff, the operations team and
student development and support staff
in the principal’s office.
How then do we build a robust and
sustainable community, inclusive to
all, and encouraging an enduring
sense of belonging to the greater Van
Mildertcommunity?
Sic vos non vobis
– thus you
do, not for yourselves
The college adopted the motto
sic
vos non vobis
– thus we do not for
ourselves – as a way of life for the
community shortly after its foundation.
This line is attributed to the Roman
poet Virgil. His anonymous epigram on
Augustus Caesar, which pleased the
emperor, was claimed by a rival poet
Bathyllus. This incensed Virgil, and he
wrote these four words,
Sic vos non
vobis
, four times as the start of four
lines of verse; Bathyllus was requested
to complete them. This was, of course,
beyond him, but Virgil completed the
lines to the acclaim of the emperor and
the humiliation of Bathyllus:
Sic vos non vobis nidificatis aves;
Sic vos non vobis villera fertis oves;
Sic vos non vobis mellificatis apes;
Sic vos non vobis fertis aratra boves.
There are many dimensions to this
trenchant and enduring statement.
Itforms the basis of an ethos of caring,
for each other, the environment, in its
narrowest and broadest sense, and a
way of life. The majority of the strands
of community life in Van Mildert College
link into the ethos, from caring for
the environment to the outreach and
volunteering projects of which the college
and its students are immenselyproud.
The role of the student body
The student body in college is the
JCR, which has its own governance
structure providing leadership and
participation opportunities at all levels.
There are some 120 different clubs,
committees and societies in college
alone and each is led by an executive
including a president, secretary and
treasurer. Friendship groups are quickly
created through clubs, committees and
societies, on corridors or merely through
dining together. These are often
enduring constructs lasting alifetime.
There are three main social hubs in
college: the bar, gym and library. Many
of the clubs, committees and societies
are organised around these hubs or
into larger units. For example, the
sports clubs belong to Team Mildert,
various forms of performing and visual
arts fall under MildARTS and drama
productions are performed by the Apart from outreach and
volunteering, there are
many clubs, committees
and societies on offer
The majority of
the strands of
community life in
Van Mildert
College link into
the ethos, from
caring for the
environment to
the outreach
and volunteering
projects of
which the
college and its
students are
immensely
proud
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
44 | VAN MILDERT COLLEGE
college’s Feather Theatre Company.
Collaboration between staff and
students is vital to ensuring the success
of college life. Staff see themselves
as facilitators to ensure students can
realise their aims, which might include
setting up a new society, putting on
an event or developing a long-term
project. It is the role of staff to ensure
that students have genuine leadership
opportunities from which vital skills
can be gained and reflected upon.
New “Dimensions” in student
development
Dimensions brings together some of
our most illustrious alumnae together
with friends and supporters of the
college to present a series of clinics,
lectures and workshops across three
broad themes: Engage and Inspire,
Find your Future and Wellbeing and
Community. These themes reflect
and align with our aim of promoting
intellectual curiosity, a sense of
belonging and responsibility and
building personal effectiveness within
the student community.
There is also a more scholarly aspect
to college provided by lectures
from visiting academics, talks and
discussions in the SCR and by our
College Fellows. These provide
opportunities for interdisciplinary
discussion and debate with students
and staffatallstagesoftheir careers.
Thereare also spaces for student
presentations within a supportive yet
intellectually challenging community.
All of these activities along with
those included within the Dimensions
programme also contribute to the closely
aligned and very recently launched
Durham Inspired Award through which
students can gain valuable recognition
for their extracurricular activities and
the many contributions made to
college life at Van Mildert.
Completing the circle
The Van Mildert community is, we
hope, a community for life. Every
encouragement is afforded to students
to join the Van Mildert Association:
the alumni association of Van Mildert
College. There are some 11,000
alumnae dispersed worldwide and it is
a unique network of Mildertians willing
to help with mentoring, through the
college’s platform, The Mildert Link.
Our large but intimate college
community is inclusive, innovative and
supportive, rich in diversity, energy and
opportunity. Its community is based
on a strong ethos, derived from the
words of the Roman poet Virgil,
sic vos
non vobis
In our view, the community
is a resilient and sustainable one,
providing a transformative experience
for ourstudents.
The Van
Mildert
community is,
we hope, a
community
forlife
Students receive their degrees from
Chancellor Sir Thomas Allen
During an intensive induction week, arriving
students are introduced to the college

www.dur.ac.uk/van-mildert.college

This article was sponsored by Van Mildert College. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development