HUS President’s Report

Ben Ward, President of the Homerton Union of Students

Michaelmas 2022 was the first academic year free from the restrictions and misfortunes associated with the Covid pandemic. When my cohort matriculated in 2020, instead of being introduced to Cambridge known for its formals and punting, my peers and I were integrated into the College community through a two-week lockdown in West House. An experience no other year group had ever had, and hopefully no cohort will endure again!

HUS Presidents - Ben Ward

As restrictions eased throughout each term over the past three years, it has been an absolute joy to watch the social life, and loving community at Homerton, grow and prosper. Much of this growth I have borne witness to as a student, and crucially as a member of the HUS. I think I speak for most when I say that one of the key reasons I wanted to join the HUS, and have remained on it for three years, was to have the opportunity to throw myself into student life, and facilitate the fun (during freshers week particularly) that my cohort did not experience. Thus, with full freedom on the events the HUS could run, Lent term 2023 started with a bang, as students could re-immerse themselves into Homerton’s rich life.

However, in addition to the fun social activities there is the academic life of Cambridge. The reason why we are all here, already stressful due to its renown academic rigour, came with more twists and turns as students were faced with marking boycotts. These marking boycotts meant that many students moved forward to their next year of study without knowing how they had performed in their previous year, and this affected my cohort arguably more than most. These boycotts resulted in a graduation ceremony taking place, where the majority of my peers had no idea whether we even had a degree. A beautiful sunny day filled with love and pride between peers, family and friends, the day was still an occasion worth celebrating, if not an iconic and fitting end to our particularly hectic era of studying at Cambridge. It birthed the new tradition of Simon’s graduation selfie, and sealed Homerton’s status of having graduates from all courses offered at Cambridge University – as our first ever Architect student graduated!

No Easter term is complete without a May Ball to celebrate the end of exams and everyone’s hard work. It must be noted that the student committee of Homerton May Ball 2023 did an absolutely spectacular job and raised the bar of our May Balls yet again. The night was themed ‘Eclipse’, and was full of delicious food, stunning designs, and to top it all off, Dick and Dom performing a DJ set – what more could you ask for? Those who took part in bringing this event to life for the rest of the student body should feel incredibly proud, and I am very much looking forward to the next one!

The end of Easter term 2023 saw the end of the very first academic year of Homerton partaking in the Foundation Year programme, to great success. We are proud of Homerton for being one of the handful of colleges who took part in the Foundation Year and are very pleased that we are continuing to do so. The HUS this past year has made great strides in forming a relationship with the Realise Project, a Cambridge University initiative to improve access to, and the experience of being a Cambridge student for foster children. We have hosted open days aimed specifically at looked after children and are looking into more initiatives to celebrate and recognise those from disadvantaged backgrounds, such as having a Social Mobility Formal in the coming months.

Dalek Formal at Homerton College

The new Dining Hall has become the new beating heart of Homerton. It is constantly bustling with people, be that with those dressed up for an out of this world Doctor Who formal trying to avoid a Dalek, or as a limitless source of very much needed caffeine, for those powering their way through their supervision essays.

The new Dining Hall has become the new beating heart of Homerton. It is constantly bustling with people, be that with those dressed up for an out of this world Doctor Who formal trying to avoid a Dalek, or as a limitless source of very much needed caffeine, for those powering their way through their supervision essays. Alongside these changes, there have been many evolutions within the HUS. Lent 2023 saw our annual HUS elections, with the new position of Religious and Cultural Minorities Officer being introduced to the committee, to represent, and better the experiences of those from religious and cultural minority backgrounds. The officer has arranged anti-discrimination workshops for students and is continuing to pursue appropriate wellbeing support for students of particular backgrounds. With the growth of the team, we have also expanded the kinds of events we run. These range from a vibrant Diwali party in the JCR, accompanied by gorgeous food organised by our BME officer, to a Hollywood style ‘Red Carpet’ formal, devised and decorated by our ENTS officers! Our ENTS officers have also been hard at work triumphantly bringing BOPs back to their former glory, from hosting a baby Barbie BOP as a starter for our freshers, to our Halloween Silent Disco BOP.

The rest of the team has been hard at work, most especially our Sports officer who has been unwavering in his pursuit of the upkeep, acknowledgment and evolution of all our various sports teams, and the improvement of college’s sports facilities. 2023’s new HUS Communications Officer has been consistently emailing students all they need to know, and has included our team meeting updates on our social media platforms, which has helped form positive bonds between the HUS and the wider committee. Moreover, working alongside the Sports officer, our Gender Equality officer has successfully implemented a Womens and Non-binary Hour within Homerton’s gym to make it a more welcome space for every member of College. Our Gender Equalities Officer is also a member of Homerton’s Gender-Based Violence Working group, alongside other students and staff, and has consistently advocated for equality and support for those of all genders in all facets of college life.

I am so thankful for the years I have had at Homerton and the memories I have made here. I am so grateful to have another year living here and look forward to working with my new and passionate team to evolve our community, advocate for every student and facilitate Homerton’s solidified status in the entire Cambridge community of being the friendliest college (and of course, the most fun!).