College Guide: Derwent

Derwent College Shield 218 x 200 left

Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my graduation. I shall hold no titles, pass no exams and win no glory. I shall live and drink at my post. I am the chanting in the darkness. I am the ambulance callout to halls. I am the PR disaster that makes the locals hate us. I pledge my life and lack of honor to Derwent College, for this night and all the nights to come.” – The oath of Derwent College.

Named after: A river

Founded: 1965

Motto: En-suites are for sissies

Real Motto: Probably none (do we have college mottos?)

Anthem: I Love You Derwent (to the tune of ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons)

Derwent College – a festering, brutalist necropolis constantly threatening to fall down under the weight of its own asbestos – is a University of York institution. The oldest college, it has stood as an obdurate relic of the Universities past, like a mighty rock defiant in the face of the crashing waves of time.

The fervent loyalty and fierce pride shown by Derwenters towards their college is unequaled across the University, having spent many years cultivating their image as the home of revelry and drunken loutishness on campus, generation after generation of Derwent students make sure to impart these sacred values onto each new first year class.

It’s the college that never sleeps, because nobody ever can. The sounds of chanting from the roaming inebriated mobs generally carry on well into the wee hours of the morning. Living in the cheapest and oldest University accommodation, residents of Derwent will tell you that only in their college can you get the authentic UoY experience, and on some level they’re right, providing of course you believe that the authentic UoY experience should involve watching a man throw a hoover off a roof. Which actually happened during my first year by the way, I kid you not.

Like all states het up on nationalistic sentiment, Derwent has pursued a campaign of ruthless expansion over the last few years. The college doubled in size when long term rivals Langwith abandoned their own 60s, concrete blocks for the dusty edge of the Heslington East frontier back in 2012. With this, Derwent have claimed a second bar as their own, The Courtyard, as well as their spiritual home of D-Bar. The Charles in Heslington village is also often considered an honorary Derwent watering hole, putting the college in a unique position in terms of their proximity to licensed premises for alcohol consumption, and one which suits its residents to a tee.

Derwent’s internal social scene  is university renowned, not just because of the aforementioned proximity to campuses two most popular bars and the raucous atmosphere within the blocks, but also through the college’s regular Club D events and annual Project D (or whatever the hell they’re calling it this year) end of year blowout, an event with no equal at the university.

The college fresher’s week is also widely considered one of the best, if not the best on campus, and is usually organized, uncharacteristically for Derwent, with a military efficiency and precision.

Ultimately, Derwent is a rush, it’s a blast, it’s like living in Cold War era East Berlin. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart, but it’s Derwent, it’s always, unapologetically Derwent.

PS: Derwent also normally do quite well at sport, if that sort of thing floats your boat.

Tom Davies
Tom Davies is a York Vision columnist and generally unpleasant, self pitying human being.