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Millie Drew

What’s the best thing about St Hilda’s?
For me, this is an easy question to answer! The friendly atmosphere fostered by both staff and students is something that we are lucky to have. When I first came up to Oxford, I was so surprised at how friendly students from different years were, how strangers would smile at each other and anyone would be happy to stop and have a chat! One of my favourite memories was going to watch the football matches last year. As the team progressed, more and more of the College came to support them and we’d outnumber the other colleges' fans by about 10 to 1! The chaotic scenes celebrating this proud sense of “Hilda’s spirit” is something that I will always treasure – it was a fantastic way for the College to celebrate the football team’s first ever Cuppers win!

What’s your favourite place in College and why?
I would have to say Hall Building. Purely because I think the Library is one of the grandest parts of our College, I love its character. Surrounded by the warmth of the wood and looking out over the garden and river, it’s crazy to think of all the people who sat there studying before me. Not to mention, the JCR is just downstairs for when all the studying gets a bit much! There’s always something going on there, whether that’s Welfare Tea or a chilled evening with friends at the bar. What’s not to like about having two College gems in the same building!

If you could raise money for one thing to help students, what would it be?  
Definitely more opportunity for grants for books and study resources. Without a doubt, these can help anyone and everyone in College. Currently, students are permitted a £60 book grant for the first term of their first year – but obviously they need resources for all years of their degree! I think it would mean so much to the students if this grant could be extended, particularly as the challenging consequences of the pandemic will be felt for years to come. It has been so much harder to borrow books and study in libraries and I think many of us have really enjoyed returning to the materiality of a book after being so used to staring at a screen all day!

Why should alumnae give to St Hilda’s?
As I’m sure many of them will have experienced themselves, any donation no matter how big or small, is what keeps the College going. Whether that’s to improve facilities, fund activities for the JCR or support students with individual needs. Donations allow alumnae to keep alive the St Hilda’s College community that we all know and love. It honestly makes a massive difference to the day-to-day well-being of the students here!

If you have received a bursary, scholarship or grant, how has this made a difference to you?
This year I was lucky enough to be a recipient of the Nielsen Scholarship. I was touched to find out that the fund was created by two Danish sisters in the 1920s in memory of their father. It was crazy to me that something so personal and historical could be given to me as a current student and I appreciated learning this almost as much as the financial donation! Coming from a small farm in Devon, I found Oxford to be quite a daunting prospect, both financially and socially! It means so much to me to feel supported and invested in during my time at university.

Can you give an example of an activity or event run by the JCR that you have particularly enjoyed?
As Secretary of the College JCR, I have had first-hand experience in dealing with many setbacks and challenges that the pandemic has faced us with this term. I have felt particularly proud to be involved in a committee that has tried so hard to cultivate an online College community! As well as the amazing digital Welfare Weeks, the Welfare Officers did an amazing job of organising weekly welfare challenges throughout Hilary term. From creating a College playlist, to a pancake themed MasterChef, there were so many fun things to look forward to and so many great prizes! It gave everyone something to laugh about and it is one of the rare things about lockdown that I shall miss!

Millie Drew