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Students sign up for new college.

Byline: By Graeme Whitfield

Durham University opened its newest college to students this week.

Josephine Butler College ( which is named after a Northumberland-born Victorian social reformer and educational pioneer ( differs from other Durham colleges in that it provides self-catering accommodation.

It is the first completely new college to open at a British university for 25 years, and will provide accommodation to 800 students and members of staff.

Second and third-year undergraduates from other colleges have transferred in to give Josephine Butler a thriving student body, while freshers are arriving this week to take up places.

College principal Adrian Simpson, who is a reader in mathematics education, said: "One of the most obvious differences about Butler College is that it's self-catering and all the rooms have en suite bathrooms. It's a new venture for Durham, but we think it will be popular because that's what students have been telling us they want.

"It's going to take the best out of the existing collegiate system, which sees people in a small, friendly organisation rather than one big, amorphous university.

"We've got nearly 100 students who've transferred across from other colleges and they have already organised 200-odd clubs and societies. That's been a fantastic effort."

Durham University has 16 colleges, with three ( John Snow, George Stephenson and Ustinov ( created out of other institutions in recent years.

Butler College is part of a pounds 35m programme to improve student accommodation, and is the first college created from scratch since Collingwood in 1972. The college was designed to have Durham's only self-catering rooms, as it was thought modern students prefer that option.

Sam Wright, 21, and from North Wales, is Butler's first Junior Common Room president.

She said: "The new student body at Butler College is being made up of over 80 students transferring from other colleges, postgraduates and new undergraduates coming to Durham for the first time.

"We are all really looking forward to creating something new from scratch."

Among those transferring to the college is Sarah Hetherington, 21, from Sunderland.

She said: "I transferred to Butler College because I wanted to be part of a completely new college community from the very beginning. We're looking forward to shaping the identity of the college and making it a place where there really is something for everyone."

Durham's colleges provide both accommodation for students and social and sporting organisations, but are independent of the university's academic side.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 7, 2006
Words:402
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