Downing’s Amnesty International society organises activities within College to promote human rights worldwide, giving an opportunity for students to become aware of international issues and to gain experience of running campaigns. The core activity we run is a weekly letter-writing session when letters are sent to governments around the world, raising concerns over specific allegations of human rights in individual cases. We also run campaigns on a variety of issues, from small-arms control to violence against women. Activities range from putting-up posters and running a College stall, to spending a few hours in a real cage on public display on King’s Parade in protest at the illegal incarceration of prisoners of conscience. Everyone is very welcome to take part in this informal and friendly group – the level of involvement is up to you, and no previous experience is needed. For those with an organisational streak, there is ample opportunity for using your talent. It is fun, and most importantly, it works!
The College owns a telescope which gives superb views of the moon and the planets. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the rings of Saturn or the craters of the moon with your own eyes! No previous experience or scientific knowledge is necessary – just look through the eyepiece and be ready to be amazed. Keith sets up the telescope near the Chapel on occasional evenings when there aren’t any clouds in the way. If you’d like to receive emails letting you know when this will happen, just email Keith (firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask to be added to the Astronomical Society email list.
Keith Eyeons, the Chaplain (kje11)
Whilst perhaps not a what would usually be called a ‘society’, the chapel is the spiritual hub of the college and welcomes all, regardless of their individual beliefs. It is open for several hours a day and provides a place for quiet reflection and prayer, along with a piano which may be booked for practice at certain times. The chapel is also a focus for music in college, and is often used as a concert venue.
The Chapel Choir is a fun loving choir which sings Evensong every Sunday evening and Compline at least twice a term.
It is one of the only choirs in Cambridge entirely run by students. The choristers receive a free Formal Hall after singing Evensong. The Choir has sung in prestigious locations both in the UK and abroad, and in the summer of 2014 made a successful tour of China.
Louisa Denby (lrd23)
Chris Hamilton (ch792)
Downing has a very active, open and friendly Christian Union, with many talks and discussion sessions throughout the terms. Everyone is welcome. We’ll also be running a Christianity Explored discussion (with free food) for those wishing to take a questioning look at the Christian faith. Please send us an email with any questions you may have, we would love to help you get involved.
To find out more about the Christian Union at Downing visit our website.
Mark Selby (ms2094)
Lili Thomas (lt354)
DDaS meets on a Sunday morning and, unlike any other dance society in Cambridge, we look at a different style each lesson. We’ve done modern, Broadway, Latin, Irish, American tap and even lindyhop with the help of expert teachers from in college and around Cambridge. Classes are tailored to the students’ ability and we welcome beginners and experts in all genres to get a flavour of the astounding range of dance styles we have available – you might even want to teach! Warm ups are designed to encourage good technique, strength and flexibility, which makes brunch afterwards a little less guilty!
Downing Dramatic Society
Downing Dramatic Society is a flourishing society within the College, enjoying the use of Downing’s own beautiful Howard Theatre.
Our first Fresher’s Play, ‘The Accrington Pals’, was a huge success which we aim to recreate and would love you to be involved with!
The society is always looking for people with new ideas, if you have one; we want to make it happen.
Hannah Machover (hm513)
Rosa Tyler-Clark (rpt31)
Downing College Poetry Society aims to bring together students who are interested in reading, writing, and understanding poetry. We host pub meets where we discuss poetry on a theme and also hold bigger events, specifically speakers and discussion events with academics.
Ali Hyde (ah915)
We host wine tastings for our members to scintillate the palate and open the mind to the nuances of flavour! We choose the tastings to cover a variety of grapes and tastes, so sign up and discover how delectable wine can truly be! Whatever your level of experience, do come along and hear our guest speakers, it is certainly not a stuffy or serious gathering, and you will learn a lot.
Downing College Yoga is a society which allows you to escape from everyday stresses and unwind, while building up strength and improving flexibility. Weekly drop-in sessions are held with Martin Bond, who also teaches for the Cambridge University Yoga Society. The sessions cater for all levels – whether you’re a complete beginner or practice every day. The relaxed atmosphere and invigorating practice is the perfect way to end a busy day. Sessions are held in the evenings and cost £4.