St Benet’s Hall offers a vibrant and exciting place to study and recreate 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 and academics. St Benet’s is proud to continue the traditions of Oxford whilst blending it with a wonderfully vibrant atmosphere. The closeness and friendliness that St Benet’s Hall prides itself on is something which 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. In other colleges there is a High Table for the Master and Fellows, however there is no such segregation at Benet’s. Every member of the college sits at the main table surrounded by peers, tutors and the religious community. St Benet’s is renowned within the University for the welcoming atmosphere at its meals which uphold its ethos of equality and community.
St Benet’s is also very proud of the academic excellence of its students. In the academic year 2019/20 Thais Rocha Da Silver completed her DPhil in Egytpology, the first women to do so since women were admitted to St Benet’s. As well as this St Benet’s is participating in the Opportunities Oxford scheme; a supportive and bridging programme for offer holders. All students are supported by the excellent tutors in the Hall many of whom are leaders in their fields, who are invested in making sure that each student has the best learning experience possible, and are present in both the academic and pastoral spheres of the university experience.
The JCR unlike other colleges is a joint common room where undergrad and grad students alike interact and are an important part of the Hall. The JCR also 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, recently winning Cuppers for their division, mixed hockey, a rugby 7s team, and a netball team. 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 known as the ‘Smoker’. The St Benet’s choir sings regularly at college events such as Guest Nights and music is an appreciated part of college life. These activities foster a sense of belonging and community unique to our Hall.
Several social events are hosted by the JCR throughout the year. There is a termly JCR Party; 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, relaxing and interacting.
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 in 2015 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 continue to be key players in the life 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 is embracing these changes whilst continuing to uphold and triumph 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.
Poppy Atkinson Gibson, JCR President, Trinity 2020