Dartmouth to Durham: Global Citizen, Local Impact

by Laura Logan, Dartmouth College

Before this conference, I defined global citizenship as “choosing to participate in a global community that extends beyond the persons you encounter on a daily basis.” Since then, I’ve updated my definition to emphasise the internal aspect of global citizenship:

On an interpersonal level, global citizenship means recognizing that we share this Earth with other people. On an intrapersonal level, it means leveraging my position and privileges in the world to help others.

I still don’t think it’s the perfect definition, but I’m grateful for the experiences in Durham which challenged my original interpretation of the term.

I’ve enjoyed eight incredible weeks in this beautiful city. I spent the first two weeks helping to organise and later participating in the 2019 Matariki Global Citizenship Forum. Throughout the forum, I met inspiring individuals, bonded with my Dartmouth college mates and explored “empowered learning.” In my previous post, I shared some reflections on the forum and the Matariki Network. 

When the forum ended, I still liaised with the Dartmouth delegation and shared responsibility for managing the forum page of the GCP website. However, I devoted most of the following six weeks to the study of Durham University’s relationship with its local community.  Looking back, I now realise I made a big leap from the mostly abstract ideas of student empowerment discussed in the forum to the real-world problems of a small English town. It was hard for me to reconcile the two experiences, until I found inspiration in an unlikely source: in reviewing my application to this internship.

In accordance with the Matariki Network, I believe college students are uniquely positioned in the fight against global intolerance and indifference. I see the three Matariki strands as a template for working together and overcoming differences. With education as our weapon, we must first unlearn the imagined differences that separate us at our core. We need constructive dialogue to navigate our cultural differences and find our mutually agreed-upon goals. Finally, we will need to learn how to create opportunities to engage with our communities, both locally and globally.
Me
Earlier this year

Global citizenship is very much about how we engage with our local community. As I discovered in the forum, it can even be about how we engage with ourselves. “Think global, act local” is a good maxim to summarise this attitude.

From there I came up with the phrase “Global Citizen, Local Impact” to title this journal. I used my status as an outsider to explore ongoing issues in Durham from a new perspective. By chronicling my journey on this page, I hope that my experiences can be used as a learning tool for Durham. I also look forward to acting locally when I return to my home institution Dartmouth, bringing with me the ideas I have learnt here.  

My Walking Tour of Durham

My internship placement was with Durham University’s Community Liaison Officer, Hannah Shepherd. Because no such equivalent exists at Dartmouth, it took me a while to understand Hannah’s role, as I did in the “Shepherding” series below. On our first official meeting, Hannah gave me a tour of Durham that I have outlined on the map below (it can accessed in greater detail here). Along the way, she pointed out areas marked for development by the University, or signs of the changing City. It was an invaluable introduction to the unique dynamics of this University city. 

Botanical Gardens

Here, Hannah explained her role and how she entered the position. She also began creating a list of reading material, including the University Strategy 2017-2027 and Associated Estates Masterplan

The Current Business School

The University has outgrown this site and needs to provide better facilities in order to meet its goal of becoming a Financial Times Top 20 European Business School by 2027.

We passed Ustinov College, where I lived for the greater part of the summer. Built in a highly residential neighbourhood, Sheraton Park,  Ustinov contains cafe space used by both students and residents.

Housings in Multiple Occupancy (HMOs)

This eerily empty street outside of term-time exemplifies the process of studentification. It is common for second year students to live with a group of friends in HMOs such as these. However, living in such close proximity to long-term residents can cause tension.

Purpose Built Student Accommodations (PBSAs)

An increasingly common housing option, favored especially by international students, are PBSAs, which offer greater comfort and security. The PBSA pictured, Rushford Court, will temporarily house John Snow College, formerly located on the Stockton Campus.

Site for New Business School

My tour ended in Elvet Waterside at the proposed site of the new Business School, where it will replace the Old Durham Baths. In the heart of Durham City as well as on a floodplain, the developers must overcome challenges of aesthetics aswell as safety.

Durham Diaries

When Durham University presented the University Strategy 2017-2027, a ten-year plan for growth and development, their announcement was met with widespread criticism from long-term residents, students and local governing bodies alike. These groups felt that they had not been consulted and that their interests were not being represented in the new developments. Two years later, much has changed in regards to how the University is moving forward with the Strategy. Everyone I’ve spoken to in Durham has an opinion on the expansion of the University.  

Coming from an institution that also has long-standing traditions, I could understand why people, students especially, would object to a rapidly changing Durham University. But there were other points of view that I didn’t understand because of the differing contexts between Dartmouth College and Durham University. For example, only a small number of students live off-campus at my university, so there is less direct interaction between students and long-term residents.  In order to capture these perspectives, I conducted interviews with three different stakeholders in Durham: a Parish Councillor and city resident, the Manager of the Business District and the Student Union Chief Executive Officer. These interviews, along with my work with the Durham University Community Liaison Officer, helped me to form my own, comprehensive opinion on what the University Strategy means for the City of Durham.

Shepherding

If you’re wondering why the introduction below, I created this series for the Durham Community Newsletter in addition to for this blog.

Hello, my name is Laura, and I’m a second-year Geography student at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, USA. Through a special relationship between my school and Durham University, I was able to spend this summer in Durham studying the town-gown relationship under Hannah Shepherd. Hannah was brought in by Durham University in 2018 to maintain and develop the relationships between the University, its students and longer-term residents in Durham. Just one year later, she is firmly established in this position and it’s thus been a fantastic learning opportunity to work alongside her. “Shadowing Hannah Shepherd” aka “Shepherding,” is a series in which I’ll give you insight into the day-to-day life of the University’s first Community Liaison Officer through our adventures around Durham City.

Local Politics

One of Hannah’s roles can be thought of as “the official temperature-taker of attitudes towards the University.” Everyone I’ve spoken

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After six weeks of shadowing Hannah, my key observation is that the University is actively trying to redefine its role within this locality. Hannah’s position, and the early indications of its success, proves that bringing together the right people at the right time is the first step in establishing healthy partnerships. While her work is generally well-received by most stakeholders, there’s still a lot of work to be done, and a lot of trust to be regained among the community members. With the University’s rapid expansion underway, the ever-changing nature of the city and the high turnover of students, the services of the community liaison officer will be needed for years to come.

Direct Service

I like to do hands-on volunteering wherever I go. I think it’s a great way to meet like-minded people and explore an area’s challenges and what they are doing about it. I’m grateful to Katie Stobbs from Student Volunteering who helped me to secure a couple placements during my last few weeks. 

Sanctuary 21
I worked twice per week for two weeks in a cafe that serves tea, soup and toasties to customers who have the option to pay or not. Our non-paying customers are usually people experiencing housing or food insecurity who can also enjoy a safe space to meet and talk to other people. One day, my manager overheard me talking about my dream to watch a live football game and loaned me his season's pass for a Sunday. And that's how I got to watch Arsenal beat Newcastle 1-0!
Sunderland Foodbank
I worked once with the team of students from Duke University, NC. We helped to take inventory of stock at a food bank in Sunderland, some 30 minutes drive from Durham City.

The Student Pledge

Lastly, I worked on framing how the new Student Pledge will be received by first-year students during the Fresher’s Fair. I brainstormed some small tokens that could be parceled out to students along with the Student Pledge when they visit Hannah Shepherd’s booth during the fair. I’m excited to report on how it turns out!