The student body at Kellogg is one of the largest amongst Oxford colleges. In 2014 Kellogg matriculated close to 300 students, which is a huge leap from the first cohort of 25 in 1990. This brings the total student population to 867; 239 full-time and 628 part-time. By being the first college to accommodate part-time study, Kellogg introduced flexibility to Oxford education – the opportunity to study part-time meant that the world-class education offered by the University became available to those wishing to continue their careers or devote time to their family or other commitments during their studies. Amongst Kellogg’s students one finds highly successful and active businesspeople, entrepreneurs, diplomats, political and environmental campaigners, teachers, writers, medical practitioners – the list is endless. As the only college where part-time students make up the majority of the population, Kellogg plays a vital role in Oxford’s continual endeavours to widen access and to remain one of the best, most forward-thinking and vibrant universities in the world.
Oxford itself is a very international city and within that, the Kellogg community is one of the University’s most diverse in terms of nationality, ethnicity, age and background. This diversity continues to grow year on year; students now hail from over eighty different countries and speak as many different languages. The academic profile of Kellogg has also changed almost beyond recognition since its foundation. Our students study on over one hundred different courses in a large number of departments, ranging from Master’s programmes in Creative Writing or Economics to DPhils in Oncology or Linguistics. Part-time courses often permit students to study without moving to Oxford, meaning there is constant Oxford activity all over the globe, as students carry out their research and writing in places as far afield as Bulgaria, India, Hong Kong and Australia. However, with 239 full-time students and many part-time students choosing to live in Oxford during their studies, the Kellogg campus is also a very active place.
One of the main ways for students to meet and socialise, alongside staff and Fellows, is at mealtimes. Formal dinners, known as Guest Nights take place once a week during term time and provide a fantastic opportunity for all to mingle, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. The high quality of the food and service make these events really worth travelling to, even for students who are not based in Oxford year-round. In fact, because of the diversity of the Kellogg community, it is almost impossible to attend a dinner without making new acquaintances and learning something about a new subject area or a different culture. Kellogg dinner conversation is undoubtedly some of the best to be had in Oxford! An indicator of the emphasis on shared experience and community is the absence of a high table.
Lunches and informal dinners provide daily opportunities for socialising in a more casual setting (but still with fabulous food!). On top of this, 2014 saw the introduction of brunches at the weekends, following a successful campaign by the MCR. This means that Kellogg now provides catering for its students seven days a week – a huge step forwards in cultivating a vibrant, social atmosphere.
As Kellogg’s population has grown year on year, its social calendar has expanded along with it. Events range from the ever-popular pizza nights in the MCR (now a staple of any MCR Term Card), to bowling excursions, museum visits, pub quizzes (the aptly-named Fruit Loops being an established team at the Old Bookbinders each Tuesday) and trips to sporting events, to name but a few. 2014 has ushered in a host of new initiatives, a fact which is reflective of students’ engagement with and enthusiasm for College life. Members of College have for a number of years been attending as a group the Varsity Rugby match at Twickenham and the Boat Races in London and Henley, plus in 2014 a group travelled to Newmarket to watch the first ever Varsity Horse Race. The cultural scene at Kellogg is booming, with the continuation of established activities such as the book club and classical music concerts, as well as new ones such as a new fortnightly Classic Film Night, a Theatre-Goers group and a designated college Design Week, including an Arts Guest Night dinner to feature musical performances, literary readings and displays of visual art by students. Kellogg students are now welcome to audition for Keble College Choir, a performing choir of a very high standard. The MCR Committee is also expanding, with new positions and sub-committees in response to the demands of a bigger population and increasing involvement. One of the strengths and also the challenges faced by Kellogg’s MCR is the diverse needs of part-time, out-of-town and international students in comparison with those of full-time and Oxford-based students; this is therefore one of the priorities in the expansion of the Committee.
One of the aims of the MCR has always been to raise the profile of Kellogg around the University and great progress has been made on this in recent years. In 2013, Kellogg’s first full-scale ball was held, with the theme of The Tempest. This was a great success and was followed up by a sell-out Swan Lake-themed ball in 2014. There are plans to make the 2015 ball even better, with Fellows and students working jointly on its organisation for the first time as we celebrate our 25th anniversary in black-tied style. As well as this, the MCR Social Secretaries now arrange a bop in Hilary Term each year (with a legendary silent disco), and ‘exchange dinners’ with other colleges. Events such as these not only give our students the chance to visit other colleges and meet their students, but also strengthen the reputation of the College across the University as a whole. The MCR President also attends the Graduate Common Room Presidents’ Committee and Oxford University Students Union (OUSU) Council, to ensure that Kellogg is represented at all levels of student activity.
One more initiative that marks Kellogg’s 25th anniversary for the MCR is the inaugural presentation of the MCR Award for Excellence in the year 2014–15. This financial award is given to a student who is judged to have made an outstanding contribution to the College and MCR during the year. The money for this has been raised through the efforts of Katie Crabtree and Stephen Jones, the 2013–14 and 2014–15 MCR Development Officers respectively. It is the MCR’s hope that this will continue as an acknowledgement of the importance of student participation in College life, in addition to their academic achievements.
Because of the volume of activity at Kellogg, it is difficult to sum up student life at Kellogg in a few words. However, when students are asked to do just that (in three words, to be precise), the variety of responses is proof (if any more was needed) of Kellogg’s broad appeal. Suggestions range from ‘diversity, vitality, community’ and ‘quirky, friendly, delicious’ to definitions of our College as a ‘megadiverse inspiring family’, having ‘something for everyone’ and, quite simply, being ‘the best college’. Let’s see where the next twenty five years can take us from here.
MCR President 2014-2015