From littering the college with posters that read ‘For Queen and Dome, Vote Olivia Barber for JCR President’, to attempting (but perhaps more accurately, failing) to conjure up and deliver a rousing speech, the elections for College student President were an exciting, albeit stressful experience. I was keen to take over the position because I wanted to represent the student body effectively and make the JCR a real force for change around college. Yet, during this year I realised that in order to fulfil this commitment I needed to understand the college and its community, the plethora of factors that define its identity, as well as what it truly means to be one of the members of a college for self-defining women.
What immediately struck me is the solidarity of the college and that when students appear to be hesitant to get involved in student politics, it is simply because the issues under discussion are not of the most fundamental importance to them. Nonetheless, when you strike at the core of Murray Edwards’ identity, its concern to put women first, you realise that many wish to stand up and unite in feminism and the appreciation of the amazing work that this college does to empower young women of today. For, as unfortunate and unacceptable a situation as this is, gender inequality still persists, making bastions for women’s development and education such as Murray Edwards ever more relevant. As this 60th blog has shown, women from Murray Edwards (past and present) are ready to ‘lead the way’ using their abilities to shape the future wisely, positively and constructively.
Yet, what has struck me most is not only the efforts of the college in promoting these important changes but also the sheer strength and determination of the student body to unveil and redress huge inequalities at play. This year, we have revived the Murray Edwards feminist society and had over forty impassioned students turn out to discuss the identity of the college and its stance on feminism at an event organised by our Women’s officer, called ‘Liberté! Egalité! Beyoncé!’. We have also founded a feminist film society and launched it with a screening of a French New Wave film that brings to the fore some of the obstacles that surround female liberation and presents the different lived experiences of feminism from the perspectives of two female friends.
What we can take from this is the fact that these various different platforms for discussion have made the women of Murray Edwards more united than ever, allowing us to be proud of the fact that our college is an important and powerful space for women. Some use this space as the basis of their quiet confidence and strength, others as the springboard for a more forthright contribution. All are important.
“Cake, concrete and calm” – click on the image to view the video
Murray Edwards is an amazing college which truly is like no other, so why don’t more people know about us?
As this year’s JCR Access Officer I am passionate about improving the visibility of Murray Edwards to schools, colleges and the world in general, in the hope of attracting more applicants to our wonderful college. I also wanted to capitalise on the more innovative, less traditional college life we enjoy here at Murray Edwards in an attempt to dispel the myth that Cambridge is a stuffy, elitist environment.
I thought that a perfect way to do this was to create a video – one showing everyday life at college, reflections from some of our current students and our more unique aspects – including our tepee, free library and Dome.
So, how did we make the video? For me it was important to show what life is really like at college; I wanted to show the college’s wonderful students, gardens and environment. There were no external camera crews (just my sister), no scripted interviews, just everyday college life and our annual Garden Party. It was filmed, edited and finished in just a few days – with a special thanks to the beautiful weather, our great student interviewees and the quick work of my sister Amelia.
If you have any questions about life at Murray Edwards, applying or regarding this video please contact Eloise at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy the video!
Click the image above to view the video or click here
Filmed by Amelia Oakley, http://cargocollective.com/ameliaoakley/
Music by Lights and Motion, https://soundcloud.com/lightsandmotion/lights-motion-dream-away
Even though many people absolutely love university life as soon as it begins, I was one of those people who struggled. I was nervous before I came, and felt incredibly overwhelmed by the work and new environment in my first year. But I am so thankful that I ended up at Murray Edwards. As soon as I got my grades, the college gave me tons of information and stories about the realities of university life. I remember reading the JCR letter, and they said it’s normal to feel lonely and homesick at times. When I entered Murray Edwards, it was tangibly open and encouraging. Having almost completed two years at Medwards, I know this support and friendliness is innate. I received amazing help when I needed it most. This is why I wanted to be the Academic & Welfare Officer for the JCR- to continue this legacy.
Welfare at Murray Edwards means creating an environment which grants people the freedom to say when they struggle and to give them choice. This means thoughtfully speaking the truth, both about ourselves and when we give encouragement and advice. So how do we go about this? Well, we don’t just turn our backs; make them to wade through their strife and hope they come out the other side as a better person. Nor do we take over, or ‘mother’ the ‘daughters’. Murray Edwards meets students in the middle. Everyone involved in welfare, both the JCR and college staff, aim to give students the confidence to take control of their own lives and situations. But at the same time, say to students that there is no shame in asking for help and that there are always ways forward. …continue reading…
My name is Nina Jones, and I’m a second year student at Murray Edwards (studying Politics, Psychology and Sociology). I’m also just about to finish my year as Vice President for the college student body (the JCR).
The weeks of wind and rain seem to (fingers crossed) finally be over, and the college is looking (and feeling) decidedly more Spring like. Spring is typically the season of possibility and new beginnings – and so very apt to start off the beginning of college’s 60th Anniversary year.
I feel very proud and honoured to have been involved with these celebrations with other student representatives. For one thing, it has given me a chance to learn more about the history of the college. Understanding where New Hall started from has given me a greater understanding of Murray Edwards today and I think many other students feel similarly. In a sense, this anniversary has provided the college with an opportunity to reaffirm its identity to all its students, past and present, and the wider world. I think this has been really positive: understanding why the third foundation for women was necessary in 1954 can reaffirm why Murray Edwards is still necessary today. It is important that we recognise this, and also recognise the achievements of the past 60 years, which are significant! …continue reading…