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Online Event: Thursday 15th September 2022, 1-5pm
In-Person Networking Event: Friday 14th October 2022, 3-5pm 

The aim of the combined two events was for Black students to access sessions that helped to demystify and explain how the University works, as well as develop connections with their peers across courses and colleges. To that end, a number of sessions were designed into the programme with current Black students and alumni covering topics such as societies and leadership, through to post-study career advancement.

Online Event

121 students out of the 168 Black registered incoming Black students (CAO, 2022) registered for the event, with around 75 joining us online on the day of the event. The first session was outined 'Roadmap of Student Services' with the purpose of familiarising students with support services across the University before they moved into College.  Panellists were requested to speak to the issue of race as much as they can, rather than give a generic overview of what their service provides. The students heard from the following:

  • Angela Ike, Senior Counsellor, University Counselling Services 

  • Helen Tully, Disability Adviser from Disability Resource Centre

  • Jennifer Skinner, Library Manager at African Studies Library and Eve Lacey, Assistant Librarian, Newnham College Library

  • Gemma Douglas from Student Advice Centre 

  • Dr Sandra Fulton, Senior Tutor at Girton College

This panel was chaired by Kefeshe Bernard, the current BME Sabbatical Officer.

"Really varied group who reassured us about the work being done behind the scenes in Cambridge. It was useful to know this ahead of term time"

- anonymous feedback given via GoogleForms about this session in the Online Programme 

"I think the DRC section was very encouraging in terms of asking people feel comfortable to seek help."

- anonymous feedback given via GoogleForms about this session in the Online Programme 

The next two sessions were breakout rooms facilitated by 8 students:

Student Subject Areas 

  • STEM
  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Postgraduate study

The Student Experience

  • Activism and Access
  • Careers, Skills, Leadership
  • Religion, Faith, Culture
  • Music, Drama, Arts
  • Sports

"I was in the Access/Activism room - I think it was really nice to hear opinions from the student and staff side, and I appreciated how honest they were about their experiences and the importance of not over-burdening yourself."

- anonymous feedback given via GoogleForms about this session in the Online Programme 

"I learnt that there are lots of activities that you can join and be a part of, but to also know your limit and when to say no. I think this is really valuable information as it reiterates that the ideal Cambridge student isn't someone who does everything effortlessly and that everyone needs to have the opportunity to relax and enjoy their studies."

- anonymous feedback given via GoogleForms about this session in the Online Programme 

Students were then encouraged to post anoynmous questions onto a Padlet board, where they could ask anything from transport, managing finances, where to go grocery shopping, questions about formal gowns, and how to fill your time in Cambridge.  

"I thought that made it really easy to ask some of the more silly questions that you have when you're moving to a whole new place especially regarding hair and food and kitchens etc. I think it was really nice to ask questions anonymously and I really appreciated the questions and answers as they looked into things that I hadn't thought about."

- anonymous feedback given via GoogleForms about this session in the Online Programme 

In-Person Afternoon Tea & Networking Event

Students heard from Sonita Alleyne, the master of Jesus College and Chair of the Steering Group, alongside Tyra Amofah-Akardom, a PhD student involved in the consultations that created the Black Advisory Hub, and Professor Toni Williams, a Senior Tutor at Girton College.

These 3 speakers were invited to speak openly about their first few weeks attending Oxbridge universities, identifying patterns of change and continuity in ‘belonging’ over time, and sharing tips on how to navigate University life and how to make the most out of opportunities that present themselves.

2 students who facilitated the online breakout rooms for the September Induction were hired to facilitate discussion tables, alongside Snighda Dutta (CCTL) and Tyra Amofah-Akardom. With flipcharts and post-it notes, students were encouraged to share their honest experiences about their college and department inductions in their first few weeks at the University of Cambridge.