Coming soon: the Hildaboy

first_imgWilliam Hedley, 18, is one of the first ever boys to hold an offer for St Hilda’s. The Shrewsbury School pupil spent last Saturday afternoon exploring his new turf at an open day organised for those with conditional offers for Michaelmas 2008. Will has heard mixed reports of what the Hilda’s girls have in store for him and admits that he’s not quite sure what to expect come October. Will’s friends are clearly optimistic about the prospect of him going to a former all-girls’ college. “I made a bet with one of my school friends. If I don’t sleep with 20 girls by the end of first year I have to take him on holiday,” says Will.St Hilda’s has repeatedly refused to give out any figures regarding how many boys they’re expecting to take at the start of the academic year, and estimates vary wildly. However, according to Will, about 20 of the 50 who attended the open day were boys.Having initially applied to Wadham to read German, Will got pooled to St Hilda’s during the application process. His memories of the interview period are somewhat jaded:“It was horrible weather and I went out the night before because I’d thought my interviews were over.”“I was annoyed only because I wanted to go home and thought I wouldn’t have to go through any more interviews and questioning – but St Hilda’s itself wasn’t a problem and the interview there went really well. At the Open Day, I talked to lots of other boys who had been pooled there and some of them said they had been disappointed at where they had been sent.“Even a girl said that when she was applying somewhere else, she had thought of Hilda’s as a ‘drop-out’ college and hoped she wouldn’t end up there. Unlucky for her, then, I guess.”Will has said that the Open Day on Saturday was well organised, but that it was clear the College was still adjusting to change.“In some areas, it was a bit obvious that it had been a girl’s college for decades,” he says, “especially with sport. They took a lot of pride in showing us the netball and tennis facilities, but there’s nothing there for boys yet.“They didn’t say much about the fact that taking boys is a big change for the college except to say that accommodation will be mixed when we arrive.”Luise Birgelen, JCR Sport’s Rep at St Hilda’s said that students are doing what they can to make provisions for the male cohort when they arrive in Michaelmas. “We are doing our best to accommodate new male members of the college,” she said. “Because there will be so few initially, however, we’re anticipating having to set up corporations with other colleges.“Also, St Hilda’s has been successful in securing sponsorship for women’s sports this year and we’re hoping to have a similar situation in 08/09 where financial support will help the college adapt to an increasing number of male members. However, as the process of introducing boys at St Hilda’s will obviously be staggered over a number of years, changes to college facilities will also have to be a gradual process,” she said.JCR President Sam Gisborne has said that St Hilda’s JCR is proposing to alter its constitution to allow a male welfare officer and a male sports officer to be elected, among other new roles which will help to inaugurate the new arrivals at the college.She also said that St Hilda’s had spent considerable time in discussing provisions for a single-sex block of accommodation for female students who felt it was their right to request it, having joined the college unaware that men would be accepted as students during their course.“This issue was discussed at length in Michaelmas 2006 and the idea of a single sex block was rejected on the grounds that it would be a logistical nightmare and that there wouldn’t be enough volunteers to fill the rooms. Instead the JCR agreed that there should be single sex corridors throughout the first year accommodation in the initial intake in 2008.”last_img

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