Van Mildert – finalists at the international Green Gown Awards

After winning the UK and Ireland Green Gown Award Finals back in November, we were so excited to be heading to Marseille, France for the International final of the competition! We were among three further or higher education institutions shortlisted for the prestigious International Green Gown Award for Community. Established in 2004, the Green Gown Awards recognise exceptional sustainability initiatives undertaken by colleges and universities.

International honour

For Van Mildert College’s community outreach projects to be recognized on an international scale is truly an honour. It has been such a fantastic experience taking part in the Green Gown Awards; from the initial application to attending the Finals in Marseille. The whole process has been so exciting, and has really helped us to evaluate the strengths of our projects and see how they fit into the wider project ideals of other organisations including Green Gown. We have come back from France with loads of ideas for the future!

Community Outreach projects

Our college currently runs six student-led outreach projects:Van Mildert college Volunteering

  • The Young Persons’ Project seeks to raise aspirations of Year 10 pupils in schools in North East England;
  • the Primary School Project provides County Durham schools with assistance in teaching and running after-school clubs;
  • the Carers Respite Committee supports families with children with physical or mental illnesses;
  • the Community Visiting Scheme involves students visiting and befriending elderly people;
  • the Secure Centre Mentoring Scheme sees students supporting the rehabilitation of young people in a secure centre; and
  • the Environmental Conservation Committee seeks to promote environmental awareness and education

Partners include St Oswald’s Church, Durham City; Aycliffe Secure Centre, Newton Aycliffe, County Durham; and the County Durham Drug and Alcohol Service.

Being recognized against big universities from Paris and Tasmania was amazing, and it was exciting to be put alongside some other fantastic projects in the UK and Ireland section of the competition too. To be seen as a top three institution/College in the world for community work is a testament to our students past and present who have made the projects what they are today! The award has been 30 years in the making.

Student commitment to volunteering

Van Mildert COllege Durham volunteersOver 200 Mildert students are currently involved in our college outreach projects each year, giving hours of their time to making the projects successful and ensure that they really make an impact in the community. Mildert outreach is so unique in its range of projects and the fact that it is wholly student-led and facilitated. Our students have worked so hard to fundraise and expand the projects not only this year but since the projects were started. The compassion, drive and enthusiasm shown by our volunteers is what has made the projects so successful. The strong relationships formed by Mildertians with our service users who benefit so much from our projects shows just how hard everyone works!

A great year and more to come!

This year has been incredibly exciting for Mildert Outreach, and I’m so proud of where it is now and what it has achieved. The whole College community is delighted at the incredible achievement of getting to the International Finals! As our projects continue to grow, I am excited to see what the future holds for all of our 6 projects as they carry on making impacts in their relevant communities. Sic vos non vobis!

Van Mildert college durham
Read more  Van Mildert College students involvement in the Green Gown Awards 
Visit Van Mildert College webpages
Watch this short film to find out more about their Community Outreach and Volunteering projects.

Durham student volunteerign Green Gown awards

Sophie Hurst

I’m Sophie, the current Van Mildert JCR President, having graduated in 2017 in Anthropology. I previously sat on the JCR Exec as the Outreach officer in my 3rd year, and have been in the Outreach Project Carers’ Respite Committee since my first year at Durham.

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