St Benet’s 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 students who are, in most cases, living away from home for a significant duration for the first time. St Benet’s is justly and proudly the closest and friendliest institution in Oxford, preserving the best of ‘Old Oxford’ and blending it with a wonderful family atmosphere which simply cannot be experienced in many other, larger colleges.
Hospitality is an important aspect of life at St Benet’s. The Hall hosts three formal meals each week: Tuesday and Thursday dinner and Sunday lunch, which are three-courses with wine, preceded or followed by drinks. St Benet’s is renowned within the University for the welcoming and fun atmosphere at its meals. At Tuesday formals we often enjoy the company of a distinguished guest speaker who gives us a short ten minutes speech on his or her life or work. After the meal, students are always given the opportunity to meet these speakers and ask their own questions. Students are encouraged to invite guests to the formal meals, so there is frequently a welcome mix of interesting people. It is a great way to show friends from across the University, friends from home, or even relations, what St Benet’s is like at its best.
At St Benet’s everyone sits at a common table. Unlike other Oxford colleges, where there is High Table for the Master and Fellows, there is no such segregation at St Benet’s. It is an important part of the Hall’s ethos and emphasis on equality that all, students and tutors alike, dine together.
Sports and drama are well catered for at St Benet’s, as are other clubs, societies and activities. We have an active Boat Club which puts an VIII on the water and successfully competes in all the major University Races – Christ Church, Torpids and Summer Eights, and we won blades for Summer Eights. Every summer, the JCR puts on a Garden Play open to friends and invited guests. For the last two years, we have also been highly successful in participating in the annual OUDS Cupper’s events, winning awards on each occasion. Please view the further information page for more details and how to get in touch.
It is an incredibly exciting time for the JCR and a turning point in the St Benet’s history. This year I am the first elected female JCR president, and can vouch for the other female undergraduate students in claiming that we have successfully integrated into the Hall. The acquisition of Norham Gardens has opened up more opportunities for us to host bigger events, and so the JCR has proudly been able to host more events during each term.
The Hall has also expanded on it's intake of graduate students, whom have also integrated well into the small community, and enjoy regular events in our Joint Common Room, which is another striking feature of the Hall. Our sense of community is indiscriminate, and we are able to successfully cater for undergraduates, graduates, and Visiting Academics alike.
The JCR hosts several social events throughout the year and unlike many other colleges, the JCR does not charge for these parties – students and their guests enjoy them for free. This is another way in which St Benet’s provides a unique, and I believe, the best, experience within 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.
— Gurpal Khera, JCR President, Trinity 2017
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