Wolfson Oxford Essay

1077 words - 5 pages

Wolfson is a humanist College, which sits on the banks of the River Cherwell way, way to the north of the city centre. Despite being one of the younger colleges it appears to have bagged the very best venue in all Oxford, a site that encouraged the development of a punt harbour complete with a fleet of well-maintained punts – presided over by a student nominated Admiral of Punts. A tranquil setting located well away from the descending hoards of Oxford tourists – well worth the ten-minute bike ride from the Bodleian Library. The college owns two historic meadows on the opposite side of the bridged river that, because of ‘significant scientific interest’ are protected.
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Diverse student mix
The college motto ‘ Humani nil alienum’ roughly translates to ‘Being human I consider nothing that concerns humans alien from me.’ It offers a wide range of subjects, ranging from the humanities to natural and social sciences, attracting a diverse mix of international students from over seventy nationalities. It is home to Oxford’s Centre for Korean Studies, The International Association of Tibetan Studies and The Foundation for Law Justice and Society. The well-equipped library is open 24 hours a day and houses specialist research collections.
Egalitarian and democratic ethos
All Souls Fellow Sir Isaiah Berlin was instrumental in establishing the college in 1965, which was designed not only to be a centre of academic excellence but bound by an egalitarian and democratic ethos. Students, fellows and visiting scholars are encouraged to mix and exchange ideas. The management systems include student participation – there is no high table and only one common room. Student volunteers run the bar and organise the Christmas Ball and Summer Fate, all of which help create a great sense of community.
Wolfson actively supports the Creative Arts Fellowship, which encourages exploration in the visual arts, music and writing. The Arts Society can loan students framed art for their rooms.
Various leisure activities
A full and varied complement of extra curricular activities is offered including exchange dinners with other colleges. Sporting facilities include a gym, squash court, tennis court and croquet lawn. Rowing, volleyball and horse riding all have enthusiastic participation. An annual sports day is held against sister college Darwin (Cambridge), which includes sweaty field sports as well as board games. For the active, non-sporty, green finger types an allotment is available to work on.
Heavy weight teaching staff
The influential Berlin created an intellectual environment that attracted a heavy weight teaching staff, including Niko Tinbergen, an award winning Dutch wildlife filmmaker who won a Nobel Prize for his study into animal behaviour in 1973. Tinbergen’s students have included evolutionary biologist and active atheist Richard Dawkins, who was recently called Darwin’s Rottweiler. Berlin’s influence didn’t stop with the staff, his reputation in the areas of political philosophy and the ‘History of Ideas’ inspired many graduates to come to Wolfson.

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