St Benet’s Hall is a vibrant and exciting place to study at Oxford. It is an integrated and active part of the University, with a college community providing a familial and welcoming home for all students. St Benet’s is justly and proudly the closest and friendliest institution in Oxford, preserving the best of Oxford tradition and blending it with a wonderful atmosphere which simply cannot be experienced in many other, larger colleges.
Hospitality is an important aspect of life at St Benet’s. Its formals are a fitting example, and in particular how in the Hall, everyone sits at a common table. In other colleges there is a High Table for the Master and Fellows, however there is no such segregation at Benet’s. St Benet’s is renowned within the University for the welcoming atmosphere at its meals. This shows an important part of the Hall’s ethos and its emphasis on equality as all, students and tutors alike, dine together.
St Benet’s is also very proud of the academic excellence of its students. In the academic year 2017/18, thirty-one per cent of students at St Benet’s were awarded First Class degrees. These outstanding results are the result of the close co-operation between students and tutors, who are leaders in their fields. Tutors in the Hall are extraordinarily invested in making sure that each student has the best learning experience possible, and are very present in both the academic and pastoral spheres of the university experience.
The JCR ensures that extracurriculars such as sports and drama, are well catered for at St Benet’s. Our Boat Club is a well established reality in Oxford College Rowing and continues to achieve success in Christ Church, Torpids and Summer VIIIs regattas. Other sports teams include football, mixed hockey, and a rugby 7s team which won Cuppers last year. The JCR also provides financial support to our university athletes, and we have the highest percentage of blues out of all colleges.
Drama and art are also key aspects of the Hall’s life. Every summer, the JCR puts on a Garden Play open to friends and invited guests, and a famous talent show called the ‘Smoker’, and the St Benet’s choir sings three times a week in the chapel. These activities foster a sense of belonging and community unique to our Hall.
Several social events are hosted by the JCR throughout the year. An example are the termly JCR Party is an event open to the members of the Hall and their guests, where they can enjoy food, drinks and music, and unlike in many other colleges is entirely free. The newly established JCR Bar, open after formals, provides cheap drinks and a great place of congregation.
It is an incredibly exciting time to be part of the JCR, as the Hall is experiencing dynamic changes. The increasing of the number of students with different backgrounds means that the JCR is adapting and transforming with the Hall. The acquisition of Norham Gardens has opened up more opportunities for us to host bigger events and utilise the space in new ways. Moreover, unlike most other colleges we are a Joint Common Room, and represent graduates as well. They have integrated well into the small community, and their number is set to double in the next academic year, in line with university policy. Our sense of community is indiscriminate, and we are able to successfully cater for undergraduates, graduates, and Visiting Academics alike. The JCR is embracing this change without forgetting the important values which make the St Benet’s experience the most unique in Oxford.
If you are interested in St Benet’s, or would like further information about the Hall, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.
— Leone Astolfi, JCR President, Trinity 2019 Email : email@example.com