Pembroke students volunteer with UNIQ Summer school

15th August 2019

Pembroke undergraduate and incoming JCR Access rep for 2019-20, Sophie Lewis (BA History and English, 2018), along with three other Pembroke students recently assisted in this year’s UNIQ summer school course, History: Race and Protest.

The course, part of week 5 in the UNIQ Summer school, took place over four days and was held at The Oxford Research Centre in Humanities (TORCH). UNIQ Spring and Summer gives you a taste of the Oxford undergraduate student experience.

The course focused on the struggle for Black Civil Rights in the twentieth century, looking at leaders such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and others, as well as examining other civil rights issues within the movement, such as those of class and gender.

Reflecting on the week, Sophie commented:

‘Working with UNIQ historians was an incredible experience. The week showed me what a difference we can make by inspiring and encouraging students.

The coordinators of the course helped to show students what they were capable of; that Oxford could be somewhere they belong. Through an intense academic programme, the students were given an insight into the dynamic way in which we learn and engage with content here. Throughout the week I became close with my assigned group and walked them through an Oxford styled academic week. They attended lectures with Pembroke’s Professor Stephen Tuck, had group discussions and wrote essays ready for a tutorial in Pembroke.

It was with pride that I showed them around Pembroke on the final day. A large proportion of my group of nine historians fell in love with the college - as I did when applying. As my role was primarily pastoral, what really hit me was the change in outlook from each of my group on an individual level. They told me how initially they never thought they would belong in Oxford but now they see they could have a place here. I saw how making Oxford more accessible starts when we change perceptions of the university and student’s own opinions of what they themselves can achieve. To have witnessed this close up was an absolute joy.’ 

Throughout the week, Pembroke fellows, including Dr Peter Claus, Dr Rebecca White, Dr Ushashi Dasgupta, Professor Hannah Smithson, and Bursar Jeremy Bennett, kindly leant out their offices for mock tutorials that took place on the final day, followed by a tour from Sophie.