A new morale-boosting scheme for students who are social distancing at the University has officially launched, as Worcester College is the first to recruit its own ‘In-College Rep’.
Beth Chamberlain, a student who is currently in University residence, has filled the ‘In-College Rep’ post at Worcester College. Speaking to The Oxford Student, Chambarlain emphasised that the role will help to “reinforce the sense of community that makes Worcester our home, whilst taking a small amount of the sting out of being quite so alone during lockdown”.
The scheme is part of an ongoing effort by college committees to address the welfare needs of those living at University accommodation in the face of social distancing guidelines. Ellen Flower, JCR President of Worcester College, voiced this concern for the “few JCR and MCR members left” who “must feel pretty lonely, with kitchen groups not counting as households”.
Flower told The Oxford Student: “During my weekly teams meeting with our interim provost, we decided that we wanted to do something for those still left in college. We floated the idea of a temporary “In-College Rep”, which would be an unofficial role.
“There could be a network of in-college reps bouncing ideas off one another to help bring a bit of sunshine to those students still in Oxford”.
Flower sent out an e-mail to the Worcester Junior Common Room earlier this week encouraging “anyone… interested in coordinating fun, socially distanced activities for those still in college” to get involved with the new initiative. The idea comes as part of a sequence of morale-boosting activities, such as virtual concerts and quizzes, hosted by members of college communities across Oxford.
In the e-mail, Flower stresses that the In-College Rep will not be “expected” to observe formalities like Committee meetings.
Chamberlain says that she is “excited” to adopt the position and be a valuable point of contact for students on site, especially since “reasons for staying are varied and, for a lot of students, quite unpleasant”. What was “such a big, typically lively space” is now “suddenly empty of people”, according to Chamberlain, demanding the diverse and innovative solutions of the student body to help mitigate.
Chambarlain went on to say that the ‘In College Rep’ is a significant contribution to a wider effort for preserving “community feeling”.
Image provided by the Worcester College website