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President’s Welcome

Matthew Brooker

Hatfield College

President, Easter Term 2024

Welcome to the Easter Term at the Durham Union!

Easter Term at the Union is unique. It covers both the pre-exam frenzy and post-exam revelries of Durham University. Many of my favourite memories have been made on the sunny days spent with friends after the exam period, and many of my worst have come from the soul-crushing gloom of the Billy B beforehand.

It is fair to say the Union has defined my experience at university. I have made hundreds of friends through this society, learnt many new skills and found out more about myself and what I want to do. The Union is a fantastic, thriving community, and I am so privileged to be its custodian for this term.

This is in stark contrast to the Union I joined as a fresher in Michaelmas 2021. Covid had turned the Union into a shell of its former glory, with a mere four addresses and no debates that term. The Union has been on a transformative journey since then, and there are many current and former committee members and officers who should be immensely proud of their contributions.

In my (unbiased) opinion, this term is set to be the Union’s best. With addresses from high-profile speakers including a certain former Klute doorman, Don Robbie Lyle, Prof A. C. Grayling, Frank Luntz and political firebrands Konstantin Kisin and Baroness Chakrabarti. The motions being brought before you on Friday evenings this term include abolishing tuition fees, nuclear weapons and the Israel-Palestine conflict.

For me, the highlight this term is our hustings for the inaugural North East Mayoralty, and the opportunity it provides for candidates in this important election to make their case to you. It represents the important role the Union has in bringing both the University and Durham communities together. Open to all students, staff and Durham residents; it is one part of our extensive, but often overlooked, community outreach programme.

Easter is the term of post exam fun, and the Union’s socials will not disappoint. Join us for the annual garden party, the boat party on the river, ice skating and some heated games of dodgeball – an opportunity to channel your competitive spirit (and projectiles) against the Union’s front bench!

Welcome back to Durham and I hope you enjoy Easter Term at the Union.