Student Blog: Spotlight on Charity

HammondOne of Brasenose’s greatest strengths is our ability to use all of the diverse interests and talents of this wonderful community to play a positive role in the community around us, as well as in the wider world. I hope that through my role as Environment and Charities Rep I will be able to contribute to this effort in these two areas, which I care so deeply about. I would like to take this opportunity right away to thank everyone who has been or will be involved in any way in environmental or charitable efforts in Brasenose, in Oxford or further afield and then to outline a couple of my plans for the year.

Perhaps the most noticeable way in which we are able to make a difference is through the £7 donation that many undergraduate students generously chose to give to the charities nominated and elected by the student committee each term. This term we will be supporting two international charities (Sightsavers and Medecins Sans Frontières), two UK charities (Mind and Cancer Research) and two Oxford charities (SeeSaw and the Gatehouse), each of whom will receive £370 from us as a result of student generosity.

Throughout the year Brasenose will be host to a number of events in aid of our elected charities, as well as in response to current emergency appeals. At the end of this term, there will be a jazz night in hall organised by our Arts’ Rep, Richard, with an optional charity donation on the door, and next term I will be liaising with other members of the committee to make plans for a charity bop or formal. Equally, I am aware that a number of students at Brasenose are involved with a huge variety of charities and organisations, asides from our college charities. 

On the environmental side, I see this role as being about representing the views of our students as to how we can improve college’s environmental sustainability and encouraging college to make change for the better. Areas that I think are worth discussing include recycling, food waste and motion-sensor lighting, as well as possibly more ambitious ideas such as composting and rooftop rainwater harvesting. I will also maintain Jo Baker’s brilliant college bike scheme, with current plans to fit the bikes out with new permanent lights. On a slightly different note, I’m hoping that this will be the year we manage to get some birdhouses put up in the trees in Frewin to encourage even more wildlife to visit! I am also working with other committee members to bring a green flavour to elements of college life, with a environmentally-themed welfare tea coming up in 7th week of this term. Again, I am keen to hear from as many students as possible as to any environmental issues or sustainability improvements they would prioritise within college, in order that I can best represent their views.

In both our charitable and environmental efforts, Brasenose can really benefit from engaging with wider university schemes run by, amongst others, RAG, the Oxford Hub, OUSU E&E and the Student Switch Off Campaign. Therefore I have been attending various meetings with reps from these organisations, hearing about what has worked in other colleges and considering how we could implement similar ideas here. Already a number of Brasenose students took part in RAG’s Valentine’s Blind Date and hopefully enthusiasm will remain similarly high for other exciting schemes lined up later in the year.

Last but not least, something I’m really passionate about, and indeed which was a main driver of my decision to run for this position is promotion of the charitable and environmental sectors as career options. Consequently I will be organising speaker events involving people working in these sectors, ideally including representatives from our college charities, to talk about opportunities in the area and bring some diversity to the often finance-dominated Oxford careers programmes!

I’ve only been in this role for a few weeks and there’s so much I want to achieve this year. However, it’s already provided me with so many exciting opportunities to get involved with, promote and initiate schemes which I think could make a real change for the better. I would really encourage anyone who’s interested in the environment or charities to come and talk to me about their ideas, either at the termly meetings I’ll be running or via email, and perhaps even to consider running for this role next year.  

By Amy Hammond (Second Year - Geography)

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