DanielTomlinson, Vice-President for Charities and Community, Oxford University Student Union writes:
I was sitting on a bench in the corner of Gloucester Green on a dark Saturday morning in late October. I was waiting for the headlights of a 165ft crane to appear through the grey mist to see if it was possible for it to fit between the trees that circle the Green.
My name is Dan and I’m the Vice President for Charities and Community at Oxford University Student Union (OUSU).
As part of my job, I work on all the events that OUSU’s fundraising arm, Raise and Give (RAG), organises, and on this cold Saturday morning I was waiting for the crane because almost 100 students were about to take it in turns to bungee jump from the top of it in the name of RAG’s four elected charities.
By the end of the day the fundraising students, and some spontaneous permanent residents, had raised almost £9,000 for charity.
But that is not all – last year RAG raised over £100,000 in total, with beneficiaries including Helen & Douglas House and Crisis.
But RAG is just one part of OUSU.
We are uniquely placed to reach across the invisible, and arguably non-existent, barrier that exists between students and permanent residents.
One way that we do this is through our Student Community Warden programme.
We hire eight students on a part-time basis to work in the local community.
This scheme has strengthened the relationship between students and Oxford permanent residents.
The community wardens work in Jericho and East Oxford – largely in the triangle between Magdalen Road, Iffley Road and Cowley Road.
They knock on doors, distribute information, deal with minor antisocial behaviour and work on community initiatives.
If you live in either of these areas and have any ideas on community programmes that they could work on, or any issues relating to students, contact them on community@ ousu.org The student population clearly feels strongly about issues that affect many of us.
One of our many campaigns is the Oxford Living Wage Campaign.
It’s a campaign that seeks to unite Oxford behind the idea that nobody in our city – including staff who work at Oxford University – should be paid an unfair wage.
We are hopeful that progress will be made in this area soon by working with the right people.
If you’d like to get involved and help us broaden out the campaign, contact email@example.com Students are also passionate about the issue of homelessness in our city and I work with the Oxford Hub to encourage volunteering in this area.
Students are also talking about starting a campaign against the recent Oxfordshire County Council budget proposal to cut services to the homeless and vulnerable in our city by 38 per cent.
Since working at Oxford University Student Union I’ve come to realise that the students of Oxford are more concerned with the community than you might think.
Many of them are active citizens of Oxford and spend much of their time working with the wider community to improve this city that we all love.
And the best thing about my job is that I get to spend a whole year working with them – even if that does sometimes mean sitting in the cold on a bench in the corner of Gloucester Green.