By Carys Hogan
If you’re ever lucky enough to find yourself crossing over Magdalen Bridge into Cowley, take a minute to explore one of the more hidden colleges in Oxford – St Hilda’s College.
Tucked into Cowley Place, just off the Plain, my college, St Hilda’s, boasts beautiful grounds which are unique in comparison to some of the other colleges, encompassing a mixture of classical Oxford architecture with modern buildings, stunning scenery, and its own concert hall. Originally founded in 1893 as a women’s only college, St Hilda’s may not have the longest history but it certainly has a rich one; which it continues to develop and foster not only in its students but also its commitment to biodiversity and equality.
One of the central pieces of the college is the River Cherwell which runs through it, now looked over by the Pavilion. It makes for one of the most mesmerising spots to watch the sunset, gazing at the reflection of the sun’s magnificent dying beams on the water, while seeing the shadowy silhouettes of the Radcliffe Camera and University Church in the distance. It is the most blissful end of the day, listening to the water and the gentle hum of the college behind you, sat on the grass or at the table by the river. It certainly makes for a more peaceful place to do your essay readings!
The scenery isn’t the only thing that makes St Hilda’s special – it’s the people too. The College and its students strive to uphold their motto “Excellence and Equality” that they take pride in. We are proud of our reputation as one of the former female colleges in Oxford, using the legacy of this to do our part to fight for equality and equity for all today. We annually host the University’s only Feminist Festival, as well as a yearly St Hilda’s Drag Race. In addition, we are the only college to have round tables, making dinners and formals more social and allowing us to talk to everyone on our table. This nurtures the strong community feeling we have. The “hildabeasts” look out for each other and, from day one here, you feel as though you’ve not only joined a college, but rather joined a family and found a new home.
Whether you’re at Oxford already or hoping to get in, take a moment to visit Hilda’s. You won’t regret it!