St Benet’s is probably the friendliest place in Oxford. Benet’s resembles the old traditional halls of study that were first set up when the university was founded. St Benet’s preserves the best of ‘Old Oxford’, blending it with a family atmosphere which cannot be experienced in many other, larger colleges. Benet’s is the tallest building on St Giles, and views on the top floor look over the entire city.
Student here soon become accustomed to fine dining and good company; guests are frequently invited to one of the three formal meals every week. These are preceded by sherry and canapés and followed by coffee, which in summer, is served in the beautiful garden. In addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday, the Hall provides tea from Monday to Friday. All this ends up costing £11.61 per day.
All first year undergraduates and a few finalists are provided accommodation within the Hall. Fifteen out of the twenty-five rooms are en-suites and all students are given individual rooms. Unlike most colleges, all rooms are randomly allocated at the beginning of each term.
Despite its size, Benet’s participates successfully in a range of extra-curricular activities. Over the years, the boat club has consistently punched above its weight, beating boats from colleges with ten times the number of students. The Hall has also entered teams in croquet, tennis, football and rugby seven for Cuppers tournaments. The Hall has a flourishing drama scene with summer garden play and termly ‘smoker’ (talent showcase). True to its tradition, Benet’s has joint, as opposed to separate common rooms. Decorated with rowing blades from years gone by, and living room sofas focused around the widescreen TV, the JCR acts as a living room. The MCR is the more formal lounge where pre drinks are served in winter and where newspapers and magazines are read.
We have a dedicated and trained welfare rep who liaisons with the junior dean, hall doctor and senior tutor. Every term we hold ‘Gerards tea’ a Benet’s tradition that helps raise funds for a charity chosen by the JCR.
St Benet’s hosts a Party at the end of every term, a black tie event with free food & drink accompanied by live music. The Hall also holds a 'special guest night' every term, inviting academics from a range of different fields. Because of our common table, first year undergraduates often find themselves sitting next to these distinguished guests. The famous Port Meadow BBQ is an all night event that serves as a final farewell to the finalists, something that really embodies the family spirit of the Hall.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and enjoying the company of Freshers, 4th years, post-grads and members of the monastic community. Benet's is one of the most caring communities in Oxford.
The single table is a rather charming feature of the hall. It's a good equaliser, I think, and it helps the various years, the staff, and the students bond in that most ancient of ways, communal eating.
Being at Benet’s really pushes you to make the most of university life; everyone’s involved in societies or sport, which makes the hall an interesting and exciting place to be.
You might also want to take a look at the official college website.