Part 2 of our interview with Natasha and Joe at the lovely St Benet's Hall:
R: Do you have an Access Officer?
N: We don’t have a clearly defined role, mainly because we don’t have very many staff, so everyone doubles up on roles, but there is always someone about to listen to you and any concerns you have. We’ll also have an Access Rep on the JCR soon! We’ve also got an unofficial college dog – jokes have been made about appointing her as the Assistant Welfare Rep!
R: What’s your favourite thing about Benet’s?
N: Ooh, I think we’re going to need a minute to think about this: we’ve got to get it right and definitely say the best thing – there’s so many things!
J: Physically, I’d say it’s the Calefactory, it’s like a social hub. Overall, though, it’s the atmosphere and people.
N: No matter what’s wrong, there’s always someone there to listen. You always feel valued.
J: Yeah, definitely. Oh, and having tea from 3-5pm – it’s dreamy!
N: Physically, for me, it’d be the JCR party! And it’s like a second home here – you even feel like you’re walking into a house!
R: Can you tell us about your dining hall set up?
J: We have one common table – so no high table – and we all eat the same wine and food. We’re all supposed to be the same, one big family.
N: Before every meal we have grace and a reading from St. Benedict’s, which is our monk’s monastic code – they’re Benedictine monks.
J: We have a rota of freshers who do the reading, two per week – it’s tradition! And we also have a tradition of introducing our dining guests to the whole hall, which makes small talk after the meal so much easier, as you already know who new people are!
R: Do you have any other college traditions?
J: Our boat club is so small that most of us are involved. Other PPHs also row with us. And because we are so small, if you’re taking part in a sports event, most of the hall end up going along to cheer you on!
N: We have a fun ceremony to be introduced into the boat club in Port Meadow – we get given name that usually has a story behind it! And we have our “Smoker”, which is an annual talent show. We also have a summer garden party.
J: And we take part in trashing outside Exam Halls.
N: Everything is quite eccentric! After dinner, we sing around the piano. And we do a Christmas Carol concert.
J: We do Burns Night here, too. Someone who comes here is Scottish and he even plays the bagpipes!
N: And I guess procrastinating in the Calefactory is a sort of tradition!
St Benet’s was a completely lovely place, it was like one big family – it’s well worth a look around!