Pembroke is the “fun college” of Oxford, with extremely friendly students and huge opportunities to succeed in all aspects of life. We’re also the pink college. We wear pink (not just on Wednesdays), play sport in pink, paint ourselves pink and even have The Pink Panther as our official college mascot.
At Pembroke, all first years’ evening meals are catered for 6 days a week and are pre-paid for through battels at the start of each term. Subsequent years have the option to be on a flexible meal plan – the credits from which can be used in hall as well as the café. All evening meals in hall (formal or informal) have the same price and a wide range of dietary requirements (e.g. halal, kosher, vegan etc.) can be catered for. According to various sources, the food served at Pembroke’s informal halls are comparatively better than other colleges in Oxford! Formals take place 3 times a week in Michaelmas, twice a week in Hilary and once a week in Trinity term, although students can switch from formal to early informal hall. Untypically, Pembroke’s formal halls aren’t very formal at all! Students often wear whatever they’ve been wearing that day with the addition of a gown on top, although if you fancy dressing up once in a while, Pembroke’s once-a-term Guest Formals usually have formal dress codes. Lunch is also served in hall but on a pay as you go basis. The college café also serve breakfast, lunch, brunch and snacks. Alternatively, students can also make use of the shared kitchens around college.
College owned accommodation is available for all undergraduates for at least 3 years, either on main site or in the Geoffrey Arthur Building (GAB), an offsite annex less than 10 minutes’ walk from Pembroke. Rooms are allocated by students’ preferences of room bands which are expressed before the start of the year. The 5 different room bands (A, B, D, E, F) are differentiated by size, facilities and price, with band D (medium sized room with an en-suite bathroom) being the most common. There are several kitchens dotted around main site as well as the GAB, equipped with microwaves, kettles, hobs and fridges. Some kitchens also have ovens and freezers. Personal mini fridges and kettles are allowed to be used in rooms, and mini fridges can be rented from the college with priority given to students living in staircases without kitchens. There are also several laundry rooms with washers and dryers on both sites, operated by using pound coins. At Pembroke, some rooms already have easy accessibility to students with disabilities and they are adapted to suit students’ needs. Step-free access is available to some rooms, teaching rooms, hall, JCR, Pichette auditorium, and café. Students do have to move out at the end of every term (although there is the option to not move out from second year onwards) and limited vacation storage is provided with priority given to international students. Some rooms have built-in lockable storage which students can use to store some of their belongings in over the vacation period but the storage space is not large enough to store everything. The college has arrangements with a local storage company which can provide short term storage at a cost; they can pick up and return students’ storage boxes at their staircase in college on a date that is suitable. Accommodation can also be available for postgraduates, and Pembroke tries to accommodate as many fresher postgraduates as possible each year.
Pembroke performs well in a variety of sports and have had many sporting successes over the years; men, women and mixed teams in football, netball, rowing, rugby (and more) welcome players of all abilities, including complete beginners! Aside from sports, Pembroke has a great art, drama and music scene as the JCR organises musicals, open mic nights and art competitions. Students can also join Pembroke’s choir or perform an instrument (or sing) at Master’s Recitals. More casually, students can contribute to the college magazine The Pink Times, or join Pembroke’s discussion groups – Pembroke Panthers is a discussion group on race, ethnics and culture and ‘Peminist’ sessions are held throughout each term to discuss issues and topics relating to feminism.
Our welfare is important at Pembroke, which is why there are many trained people available for students to contact in regards to welfare issues and concerns. The welfare team at the college includes members of staff, students and academics. Amongst the students, there are male and female welfare officers who organise weekly welfare teas (a wide collection of snacks is available at these teas, not just tea) and ensure that the students at Pembroke are supported in many ways. Apart from welfare officers, students can also get in touch with trained Peer Supporters and First Responders who will gladly lend an ear without any judgement and/or give support. Initiatives such as Welfare Week and text-a-cookie take place each every term. Students can email anyone on the welfare team and/or contact students on the team through platforms such as Facebook. The college nurse is available to all during visiting hours which can be found on the website.
Both the Junior Common Room (JCR) and Middle Common Room (MCR) are situated on main site, for the use of undergrads and postgrads respectively. In the JCR, there is a foosball table, pool table, various board games and a TV. JCR members can often bring motions to JCR meetings for the organisation of college-wide viewings of shows such as the Great British Bake Off, Super Bowl etc., complete with snacks and drinks. The MCR is also very active - a variety of events and activities take place on main site each week, such as gust formal dinners, bar nights, tea & cake evenings and more. The GAB has a common room available to use also. Our college bar is situated below the hall and opens 8pm-11pm Monday to Friday and 7pm-11pm on Saturdays. Drinks bought in the college bar are paid for by cash, debit/credit cards or topped up SALTO credits. Friday nights are particularly lively in the bar, as well as before BOPs (big organised parties), open mic and comedy nights. Unlike other colleges, Pembroke’s BOPs take place in various booked out clubs on Monday nights and always have fun fancy dress themes with a prize for the best dressed.
What I love most about Pembroke is its focus on individuality; each student is recognized by their tutors, friends and staff as an individual person with their own talents, interests, aspirations and worries.
My favourite thing about Pembroke is the college spirit. Everyone is really friendly and supportive. Everybody celebrates everyone else's achievements.
The minute you walk in the staff and students are so friendly - it felt like home straight away (and a pretty picturesque one too!)
You might also want to take a look at the official college website.