Brasenose is one of the old mid-sized colleges located in Radcliffe Square with a stunning view of the Radcliffe Camera. With its warm and inclusive sense of community, Brasenose is known for being the "happiest" college. The student body engages in fun (and equally successful) sports teams, musical concerts and projects like the legendary Arts Weeks. With over 500 years of history, Brasenose is not without some strange traditions: Ascension Day, for example, takes place every May. On this occasion, Brasenose students sneak over to Lincoln (through secret tunnels!) to have a free pint of beer!
Food at Brasenose is both high-quality and low-cost! There is informal breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday through Friday. A full English costs about £1, with lunch and dinner between £2.50 and £4. On weekends, the College serves its famously fully loaded and delicious brunch where students are able to choose between 3-4 hot mains (including two veggie options), 4 hot sides and a salad bar. In addition, Formal dinners are served Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday.
Accommodation at Brasenose is guaranteed for all undergraduate students. First and third years live in College whilst second and fourth years live in one of the Frewin or Hollybush Row accommodation annexes, less than a 5-minute walk from College. On all sites, there are laundry facilities, some en-suite rooms, and personal fridges are allowed. On the main site, every staircase has a fridge, toaster, kettle and microwave. In the annexes, there are full kitchens. Although there are some en-suite rooms, most students share bathrooms between four people (on average). There are accessible rooms available with height adjustable desks and the college is more than happy to make changes for anyone who requires it. Rooms on all sites are in a banded structure, from A (the best) to F (supposedly the worst, but there are some really nice rooms that are F bands). Which band a room belongs in is judged on things like size, sink/toilet/neither, proximity to bathrooms etc. For fairness, names are drawn from a randomised ballots. Scholar’s privileges were abolished some time ago - also for fairness. In second year, everyone is entered into the B ballot, whereas in third year they are entered onto the A ballot (people in the A ballot get to choose rooms before those in the B ballot). Accommodation for graduate students is at the St Cross and Hollybush Row annexes, so all postgrads live off-site. At each site there are laundry facilities (washers & dryers) and shared kitchens. En-suite rooms are available, as are two self-contained flats for couples.
At Brasenose, the student community is very vibrant and everyone is encouraged to pursue their interests. The general philosophy is that if people want to try something they can, so any society within college is very welcomed to start. Recently, for instance, there was the emergence of the cross-country club. Many students are involved with theatrical productions or musical ensembles, but there is also a very active History society and Debating society. Generally, all extracurriculars are catered for: there are music rooms, sports facilities like tennis courts, and more rooms for activities available in College. Sports at Brasenose is usually more about the taking part – BNC (short for Brasenose College) does an ok-job in the league tables and can put together some reasonably skilled teams, but, really, it’s usually more for the laugh and the pub afterwards.
At Brasenose, student welfare is both fun and important. There are two welfare reps and a team of peer supporters, and their goal is to make sure everything is just fine. We hold weekly welfare teas in our common room where everyone in college is encouraged to come along, relax, and enjoy some treats and snacks. These are great fun, and can help make sure Oxford life doesn’t get too stressful! Brasenose is lucky enough to have a secret Welfare Cookie Fairy, who keeps spirits (and sugar levels) high! Brasenose Welfare has a baking fund and weekly yoga classes for all to enjoy, and there are also regular welfare walks. Getting in touch can be via the senior staff (chaplain, senior tutor for undergrads, tutor for graduates, dean, equality/diversity & fitness to study lead, disability leads), via students (junior deans, student reps, peer supporters), or via the support staff (college nurse, college counsellor, writing support tutor), and there are boards around college that give information on all these contact details, making it super easy to reach out for help when needed.
If people book in advance, most rooms in college are available for student use. JCR and MCR in main college. The bar is student-run, and hence offers an opportunity for causal employment, and is open between 7 and 11:30 each night. It's always well used and generally a great place to be (it's underground!) and, indeed, many people who don’t drink are happy to go down the bar because of the friendly atmosphere and wide range of non-alcoholic options.There is also a huge variety of events happening regularly around College, including the hugely popular open mic nights, pub quizzes, karaoke, charity auctions, etc. We also have a computer available so that everyone can queue what they want to listen to (with a fair use policy). At the end of every term, there is a black tie party in a venue such as Freud’s. College BOPs usually take place every 2 weeks, usually in Fever, Cellar or Plush. Brasenose also holds a big ball every two years, so there really is an event for everyone!
The regular open mic nights and the fantastic annual Brasenose Arts Festival have allowed me to band together with a couple of other talented Brasenostrils and showcase my deteriorating guitar skills.
The college also provides me with a great base to get involved in University sport, as well as allowing me to play in a more relaxed environment when I want to.
What I love most about Brasenose is its sense of community. It’s great to be a part of a college that has such a friendly and inclusive atmosphere.