Welfare at Mary’s (WAM)

WAM is here to do whatever they can to help anyone who may be struggling at university. The two head WAM Officers, Ruth and Rob, sit on the executive committee, and the two assistant WAM Officers, Fran and Charlie, sit on the ex-officio committee. Each Officer runs a confidential weekly drop-in session where anyone can go and have a chat over some tea and chocolates. There are also free welfare supplies, such as condoms and pregnancy tests available.

WAM also runs “Burst Out of the Bubble” events for the whole college, designed to give everyone a chance to escape the so-called Durham “Bubble” and have some fun in the surrounding area.

Here you can meet the WAM Officers:

Head Female WAM Officer – Ruth Kaufmann-Wolfe, 2nd Year Geography (BA)

Hello! I’m Ruth, a second year Geographer. Massive congratulations for getting into Durham and welcome to Mary’s! In case you didn’t know, you have just joined the friendliest college in Durham.

This coming year, I will be your Female Welfare Officer. This role involves heading Welfare at Mary’s (which is lovingly dubbed as WAM). WAM plays an integral role in college life, as it provides support to the student body in a variety of ways. WAM encapsulates what Mary’s is all about – a college that really cares for all the individuals in its community.

There are two sides to the role of a WAM officer:

Firstly, each of the four welfare officers has been Nightline-trained, enabling us to hold weekly drop-ins. There will be four drop-ins per week (we will publish the times of the drop-ins on the WAM 17/18 Facebook page).  These drop-ins are a safe space where you are welcome to talk about anything you want; to be connected to other student support services (in college and university-wide); and pick up from our abundant supply of sexual health supplies.

Secondly, the general WAM committee runs a series of College Welfare campaigns through-out the academic year. These events include welfare-related campaigns; “Burst out of the Bubble” events (which give you a chance to get out of Durham and see the surrounding area); or food-related activities (think revision snacks). Last year, I was part of a team that ran a fantastic consent campaign, and led a “Burst out of the Bubble” skating trip to Newcastle. This year we are eager to facilitate discussions around mental health, sexual health, and inclusivity. The WAM committee is made up of students across St Mary’s and is open for anyone to join. It would be great to have you join the ever-growing WAMily (family), and you can actively drive forward welfare-related change at St Mary’s.

Feel free to drop me an email if you have any questions about Durham, Geography, St Mary’s, Welfare, or anything at all: ruth.s.kaufmann-wolfe@durham.ac.uk.

Assistant Female WAM Officer – Francesca Walker, 2nd Year Law

Hello lovely freshers! My name is Fran (the one on the right of the photo) and I’m a second year law student here at Mary’s! I hope you’re excited to spend the next 3 or 4 years being a member of the best college in Durham!

I will be your Assistant Female Welfare Officer this year which means you will see a lot of posts from me on the Facebook page! At Mary’s, the student-led welfare team is referred to as WAM. As one of the four Officers this year, I am one of the go-to people for any queries or worries that you have or if you’d just like to have a chat, particularly in our weekly drop-ins! WAM also run campaigns throughout the year focused on important issues and topics that are particularly important at university such as sexual health and consent, to hopefully expand the conversation and help everybody learn a little bit more about anything they did not know before! All in all WAM are here to help keep Mary’s as safe and as happy a place as we all know it to be! All four of us will be around for the whole of Induction Week so feel free to come and see us to talk!

Aside from all things welfare, I’ve been the Publicity Rep for Mary’s FemSoc, helped out on the Ball Committees, I joined Mary’s Boat Club (with absolutely zero rowing experience) and was also a Post-Offer Visit Day Rep. At university level, I also joined the Labour, Mooting and Pro Bono society and became a volunteer for a helpline as well! As you can see, there is a lot to choose from! I would say that one of the highlights of my first year was being a Post-Offer Visit Day rep – getting the opportunity to spend time with such a lovely bunch of people was great! Of all the advice that you will receive as a fresher, my token contribution will be to get involved in absolutely anything and everything that you are interested in and to just be yourself! The first few weeks of uni can be daunting but it is true when they say, there really is something about Mary’s! If you would like to ask me any questions feel free to email me at francesca.l.walker@durham.ac.uk.

Assistant Male WAM Officer – Charlie Gerlack, 2nd Year Geography (BA)

Hi everyone, I’m Charlie a second year from Essex studying Geography. A massive welcome and well done to you all on joining the Mary’s community.

I am your Assistant Male Welfare Officer for the year, so expect to see me around College a lot and endlessly posting on the Facebook group. I will be running drop in sessions where you can pop in and chat about anything you want on a weekly basis. In addition to this I will be heavily involved in the organisation of WAM led campaigns and trips. I cannot urge you enough to come and talk to any of the WAM team throughout the year, no matter how big or small you believe it to be.

Make sure to get involved and make the most of your first year! I played Hockey (Men’s Captain this year so feel free to ask any questions) and Football for all 3 sides, as well as the occasional performance for the darts and pool team.

If you have any questions about anything feel free to get in contact through Facebook or email me on charlie.gerlack@durham.ac.uk


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