The University of Roehampton is comprised of four colleges and is therefore a collegiate university, one of only twelve in the UK and eighty worldwide. When joining Roehampton, you will quickly discover that college pride is a massive part of campus life, complete with rivalries, chants and events.
An easy way to think about the colleges is in relation to Harry Potter – a popular comparison is Digby as Gryffindor, Froebel as Slytherin, Southlands as Ravenclaw, and Whitelands as Hufflepuff, although that order is up for debate! We also have the college cup, which can be likened to the House Cup, as the colleges compete for points throughout the year, before the summer term’s grand finale. Varsity, like the Triwizard Tournament, is the one time in the year in which the colleges unite to battle Bucks New University, whilst Frigby and Shitelands can be considered our equivalent to the big quidditch matches.
Whichever college you live in during your first year will be your college for life, but if you live off campus in your first year, your college is the one you study at. Most people choose to live on the college that they study at, but this is not compulsory – you could study Dance, a Froebel degree, but live on Digby if you wanted to.
Often referred to just as Digby, Roehampton’s largest on-campus college was founded in 1874 by the Society of the Sacred Heart, whose Sisters remain active in supporting the college. Named after Mother Mabel Digby and Mother Janet Stuart, Digby Stuart is made up of the departments of Drama, Theatre and Performance, English and Creative Writing, Social Sciences and Humanities, as well as the accommodation blocks of Shaw, Elm Grove, Lee, Bede and Newman. One of the busiest campuses, Digby also houses the Library, Digby Chapel, the Diner, Santander and the post room. With the lion as their mascot, Digby students are fiercely loyal to their college, and can often be heard chanting ‘I’m Digby ’til I die’…
Home to the departments of Dance and Education, Froebel is also the location of the popular Students’ Union, medical centre and sports facilities. Established in 1892, the college remains true to its tradition of exemplary teacher training, with many classes being held in Grove House, arguably the University’s most picturesque building, overlooking a sprawling lawn and lake. Froebel’s main-campus accommodation blocks are Linden, Aspen, Willow, Old Court, New Court, Garden Court (collectively known as ‘the courts’) and Lawrence, as well as owning the off-campus Mount Clare and Chadwick Halls, a short five minute walk away. Froebelians’ college spirit is strong, and their mascot, a zebra, is a firm fancy dress favourite.
Southlands’ close-knit community was created in 1872, and is now the base for the departments of Business and Media, Culture and Language. Set around a lawn courtyard, Southlands’ accommodation blocks, Epworth, Wesley and Aldersgate, and academic buildings, including the university’s music facilities, are all united, and are each a maximum of a two minute walk away from the Reef, their cafe honouring the college mascot of a shark. Southlands hosts a variety of events for its students, including an impressive annual firework display in their square, which is not to be missed!
Founded in 1841, Whitelands is Roehampton’s oldest college, and the fifth oldest in the UK, as well as the first to offer higher education to women. While having relatively small on-campus numbers, Whitelands has the most students of all colleges, and is comprised of the departments of Life Sciences and Psychology. Badger the cat, named after the college mascot, can often be spotted roaming the grounds and reception area, and with scenic views of Richmond Park, wildlife is never far away. With its own bar, the Sett, students living in Beverly and Cheltenham, Durham and Gilesgate, Kings and Melrose, and Sutherland and Walpole can all enjoy the benefits of a social space just for them.