By Jack Munns (2nd Year PPE student)
Brasenose’s Junior Common Room (our student council - called the JCR) has made amazing contributions again this year to charities in a range of ways – both individually, through volunteering and sponsored events, and as a group, through regular fundraisers and termly donations. Helping people help others has been such a wonderful part of being Charities Rep on the JCR this year, and it’s been amazing seeing all the great things the JCR has gotten involved! Here’s just a quick run through of what’s been going on in Charities this academic year:
With homelessness an increasingly important issue in Oxford, many Brasenose students have become involved in efforts to support the homeless right here in Oxford. A number of Brasenose students regularly volunteer for Turl Street Homeless Action, a student-led outreach group who walk around the city centre in the evenings to give the homeless some drinks, food, and company. This not only provides a great way for Brasenose students to give back to the community around them, but also raises awareness of the issue in college. We also have an ongoing system of fundraising for the homeless through Homelessness Oxfordshire, started by students and now run through the lodge: the JCR Airbed Scheme. This system allows students to rent airbeds for their guests for £3 per night, with all the money raised going to Homelessness Oxfordshire. This has proved highly successful and a fantastic way for the JCR to provide meaningful support to the community we live in. In the Spring term alone managed to raise £202!
We have had a number of great charity events this year as well. We had a charity pub quiz in the college bar in the autumn term that over 50 people attended, raising £65 for The Porch, a charity which provides cheap food, showering and clothes washing, and job training services for homeless people in Oxford. We also had a charity dinner, which successfully raised money for DigDeep, a charity that delivers vital water and sanitation facilities and education, as well as menstrual products, to rural areas in southwest Kenya, which one of our current third years, Alisha Wright, will actually be visiting over the summer! She is also climbing Mt Kilimanjaro in support of DigDeep as part of her fundraising, which is incredible!
This year also saw the JCR financially support DigDeep and other charities through our termly Charities elections, thanks to the £7 students opt to make each term to contribute to the Charity fund. Thanks to this generosity, six charities (two local, two national, and two international) each term received over £380 each! This year, a particular emphasis was placed on the efficiency of each charity in spending its money, and so the JCR elected highly effective charities, with most charities spending 100% of the money we raised directly on their programs, ensuring our money had maximum impact!
Volunteering remains a prominent way in which Brasenose displays its amazing desire to helps those in need, and our Brasenose Volunteering page has provided a supportive environment in which to share and promote volunteering opportunities and celebrate all the great things Brasenose students have been doing! This March, we had one of the current second years and a current first year, Eunice Ngooi and Eleanor Dodd, visit the Moria refugee camp in Lesbos, helping to look after the refugees while they seek asylum on the Greek mainland. Another second year, Lennaert Woudt, is currently president of the Oxford Hub, which coordinates a number of fantastic volunteering programs around Oxford, and helps to get students involved in any way possible.
We also had a number of runners raising money for charities in the Oxford Half Marathon last October (Jack pictured with fellow Brasenose student Jana), and over 50 runners running in support of Muscular Dystrophy UK in the Oxford Town and Gown 10K this past May, an outstanding contingent that got a mention in the Oxford Mail!
Brasenose really does have a fantastic approach to charities, with everyone always eager to help others in need, especially in the community around the college. I am very proud to be Brasenose’s Charities Rep and see all the amazing things this wonderful community can do.