When you get to Oxford, you'll be inundated with offers of things to get involved with. There are societies, clubs and teams at both College and University level. Within College a huge variety of interests are catered for and within Oxford as a whole there's a society for just about everything. So there's no reason to think you'll be spending all your time in the library!
If you're reading this over the summer, you might want to start thinking about the sort of extra-cur ricular activities you're interested in taking part in, whether it be continuing with an existing passion, or something brand new. If you just want to look forward to the nights out to come, that's fine too!
New College is undoubtedly among the best at having fun in Oxford; there's always an amazing event coming up! Our bops happen three times per term and they are pretty legendary. A bop is a College-held fancy dress themed party in an Oxford nightclub; they're great fun, and a fab way to de-stress with your friends. In terms of the theme, most people dress up to match at our bop, and lots of people go all out - go get some body paint, capes, sparkles and wigs, top that off with a little originality and dress to impress! There are also exciting opportunities for student DJs at bops so all you talent ed musicians can get involved. Outside of in-College entz, the clubs in Oxford cater for a variety of tastes. Despite what you may have heard, there are in fact plenty of places around offering everything from drum and bass events (the Bully) to the downright cheesy (Atik) and everything in between. The Entz Officers have organised loads to do in Freshers' Week, and through out the year will be putting on fun events like club nights, quiz nights and silent discos. Other things to look forward to include the famous New College Boat Party, inter-year crew dates, and the New College Garden Party in the summer.
All this should mean that your first year is one that you'll never forget!
On top of all this there's the Varsity Trip: the annual Oxford and Cambridge ski trip. It's been running since 1922 (even before the Winter Olympics) and is the oldest and largest trip of its kind! The trip takes thousands of beginner to advanced skiers to the Alps every year, and provides packages for transport, clothing and equipment to make the week as smooth as possible. There is always a big New College turn out, and many students will go multiple years-there's often a group of freshers going, so don't stress about finding people to go with. For any more information or if you have questions, talk to the College Varsity Rep, Toscanie Hulett.
Sport is a huge part of life at New College, and whether you're the starring striker for the Blues, or just fancy an afternoon game of croquet, the opportunities to get involved are endless. We have a fantastic sports ground just 5 minutes walk away from College. It has football and rugby pitches in Michaelmas and Hilary terms, and lawn tennis courts and a cricket pitch in Trinity term. There is also a squash court, and a hard court for tennis, netball, and basketball. We have a lovely pavilion with changing rooms, which is perfect for watching a relaxing afternoon's cricket in the summer. If that's not enough we have our own set of punts which you can sign out at your leisure in Trinity term. New College Boat Club also has its own boathouse located on the Isis river, equipped with bar and balcony. As a New College student, you'll also get free access to the Iffley Gym, about 20 mins walk from College.
At the moment, New College runs badminton, cricket, croquet, dance, darts, football, hockey, lacrosse, net ball, pool, rounders, rowing, rugby, squash, table tennis, tennis, touch rugby and yoga. If you're keen to set up something that is not on this list, notice that something has lapsed or want to organise a team, email the Sports Officers, Alex Albright and Joanna Smith.
A large number of our teams compete in the annual inter-collegiate competition called Cuppers, and New College generally does very well. If you want to get involved, contact the captain of the team, or the Sports Rep, or alternatively, most teams should have a stall at the New College Freshers' Fair. Don't be put off if it seems too competitive for you - you can get involved at any level. For those who wish to progress further with their sport, you can represent the University in high level teams - just get in contact with the Sports Rep or the current University players to find out more.
New College is a fantastic place either to try something new or to take something with which you have experience to a new level. The first major event on New College's arts calendar, especially for freshers is the OUDS (Oxford University Drama Society) drama cuppers, the inter-collegiate competition open exclusively to first year graduates and undergraduates. It's a great opportunity to become closer to your fellow freshers and with no experience necessary, a brilliant way to get a feel for what an Oxford production entails!
The arts community at New College is vast - ranging from solo musicians, jazz groups, beat poets, comedians, ballroom dancers and everything in between! Chat to our Arts Officer, Char Mitchell, for all things arts related. This year, we are expanding the scope of arts to include music, art, dance, drama, film, photography and literature, and will be introducing new writing workshops for you to get involved in. Char is also the person to contact if you want to get involved in New College Music Society, attend some of the various workshops and classes we offer (e.g. taster sessions for different types of dance), or when you want to take art out of New College's termly Art Store (the various art you can borrow from College to decorate your room). Michaelmas term also brings with it the New College Pantomime, written and directed by Char and performed by first years mainly.
New College Music Society
The New College Music Society (NCMS) is one of Oxford's leading College music societies. They offer a myriad of events and socials, and provide a wide range of activities to musicians of all abilities. They hold frequent concerts with their in-house and external ensembles, and hold free recitals every Wednesday during term-time. They also encourage College and University students to join their ensembles; their non-auditioning ones include the New College Chamber Orchestra and the Holywell Singers, while their auditioned groups include the Wykeham Consort.
As well as their wide range of concerts and musical activities, NCMS provide many social events, including open mic and Jazz nights. Follow their Facebook page to keep up-to-date with their many events and socials, and if you are interested in joining the music society, drop them an email.
It's also easy to get involved in music more informally - we're proud to have our very own Band Room (get in touch with the Band Room Officer, Heidi Nicholas, if you're interested).
Charities and Environment
Within College, we raise thousands of pounds each year for charity, voting on the char ities this money goes to in the JCR each term. There is an optional battels levy, which contributes to this fund. There are also various College events such as charity formal hall that help raise money (and are often themed... think Harry Potter for example), as well as fundraisers in College, for example, the Oxford Half Marathon in October. We create a New College Naked Calendar each year, and are always looking for new ideas to raise money. We are particularly excited to get charity events up and running after a long year of Covid ruining plans, so if you are interested in running an event contact the Charities Officer, Lia Keane.
New College is great at getting involved in the wider community and there will be plenty of opportunities to take part in charitable activities. There are loads of volunteering opportunities, so here are just a few examples:
- Curry Runners: homelessness charity at New College that distributes food twice weekly
- Turl Street Homeless Action: volunteers distribute food daily to homeless people in Oxford
- Solidaritee: sells T-shirts to raise awareness of and money for the refugee crisis
- Jacari: encourages students to teach English to children of refugee and asylum seeking background
- Schools Plus: aims to address educational inequality by providing Oxford student tutors
- What’s a Pound? Encourages university balls and other large scale events to add a pound to ticket prices which is then donated to charity
- Tingewick: run by medical students, raises money for local hospitals and for grief
For more, speak to the Charities Officer Lia Keane; she'll be emailing out volunteering opportunities throughout the year, and will also be able to match you up to more specific opportunities in Oxford that fit you.
You can also get involved with helping with environment and ethics. This year we
will be holding an EnE (Environment and Ethics) Discussion Group, led by Peps Haydn Taylor, which is a great thing to get involved in if you are interested in these sorts of questions. We also have our very own College eco guide, filled with tips for being as eco-friendly a student as you can! Please give it a read! In addition to this, you can get involved with all the environmental action in Oxford at a University Level, for example through the Oxford Climate Society. We are always looking for new ideas for how to improve the College, so contact Peps Haydn Taylor if you're interested in making New College more environmentally friendly!
Outreach is really important to us at New College. By getting involved, you can make a real difference to prospective students who might, inspired by you, decide to apply to Oxford when they may not have done so otherwise. It's all about encouraging everyone to apply, irrespective of their backgrounds. The main way that we do this is through visiting state schools or having them visit us. This relies on student volunteers and the Access and Outreach Officer, Nina Drury, will be in touch to recruit willing tour guides each week. In addition, there is an ambassador scheme, where volunteers are trained and are involved in access work on a more consistent basis. Besides visits, we have our Instagram @newcollegejcr, where we share stories and testimonials from New College students, as well as College tours and guides to applying, so follow and get liking!
Typically, volunteering means giving a tour of College, having some (free) lunch and giving a Q and A session about Oxford. It's encouraged for everyone to get involved in access events, no matter what background you've come from - remember that the entire point of access is that your school shouldn't matter.
One of the most well-known University-wide schemes is called Target Schools, which encourage Oxford students to visit state schools in their local areas. If this is something you wish to get involved in you can get training and support. They also run a programme in which prospective students "shadow" a current student in a subject they're interested in, attending lectures and seminars for a day. New College also runs a great program called Step Up, which you can learn more about by heading to our website.
This year, for the first time, as well as our Access and Outreach Officer, we have a newly elected Inreach Officer, Ines Momodu-Herrero. The role of the Inreach Officer is to ensure that all our students who identify as coming from a "non-traditional" Oxford background feel happy, comfortable, and welcome here at New College and in Oxford. We think it is really important that the support that comes with outreach doesn't just stop once you get an offer, but continues throughout your time at College. Ines will be running social events for those who identify as coming from "non-traditional" Oxford backgrounds, including smaller events like inreach teas & drinks and termly access family events (sign up for access families will go out in September on the JCR Facebook page!), as well as larger events like formal dinners for Crankstart scholars & students from under-represented regions of the UK (like Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and the North East).
Stuff outside of College
There are so many societies in Oxford that to start a list would be impossible. You'll find out about all these at the Oxford SU's Freshers' Fair. This takes place in Freshers' Week and will be virtual this year, with stands representing everything from skiing to Amnesty International, from the Biochemistry Society to J.R.R. Tolkien Appreciation. One important organisation at a University level is Raise and Give (RAG), which gives you the opportunity to do anything from bungee jumping to hitchhiking all in the name of charity. They also organise infamous club nights and other social events. Look for them at the virtual Freshers' Fair and their own RAG Freshers' Fair.
Oxford SU: Oxford SU is the Oxford University Student Union. Because of the College system, it isn't a social hub like at some other universities but it still does important work. Oxford SU Council is every two weeks and New College is invited to send three representatives to vote on issues like endorsing NUS regulations or SU Policy. We send the Vice President for Communications, Welfare and Equality and the President, but there is one space up for grabs, so you could make a difference just by turning up. The Freshers' Fair is run by Oxford SU too.
If you've read everything so far, firstly well done on sticking with it! Secondly, you might have noticed mentions of people like the Entz Officers, or the Sports or Arts Officers, and you might be wondering who they are.
Each Trinity term the JCR elects a committee (led by the President, Alice Childs dos Santos) which works to run various important things around College, and to allocate JCR funding.
Absolutely everyone has a say in the running of the JCR - through JCR meetings and motions anyone can put forward a proposal for how to spend our budget, or a policy the JCR should adopt, or a new idea we should explore - all of which is voted on.
JCR money is spent on the likes of sports kit, arts, big College socials, bagatelle boards, pizza, and any other items that get JCR approval. The VP for Finance and Operations, Amberley Odysseas, ensures that we remain within budget. To get your hands on this cash, simply put in a motion to the Vice President for Communications, Welfare and Equality, Kim Anh Nguyen, and turn up to the JCR meeting to make your case.
JCR meetings are your fortnightly dose of democracy, with large quantities of pizza on the side. At these meetings, we decide our spending as well as our affiliations. However, New College is not the most political of Colleges so we don't make as many big political statements as some other Colleges. There will be a taster session for JCR meetings Sunday afternoon, where you'll see how JCR meetings run.Previous