You might think summer at a Cambridge college means lazy days as exams are over and the undergraduates have gone home, but in reality, Churchill College remains a hive of activity.
Postgraduate students are an important part of the Churchill College community, with a vibrant population of around 375 postgrads from all over the world. Many of our postgraduate community remain on-site throughout the summer months, enjoying social events from themed Guest nights to family fun days. By late July there were still around 190 postgraduates living on-site, many working towards the key academic submission period of late August to late September. The College also hosted two busy Open Days in July for prospective undergraduate students led by our team of student ambassadors and Admissions tutors, with another in the diary for September.
Summer is also a busy period for our external conference and events service. Churchill College has hosted academic conferences and a broad range of external events since the College’s main buildings were opened in 1964, starting with an experimental residential Economics course for the Advisory Centre for Education. Referred to as ‘The Cambridge Experiment’, the course was designed to offer students studying externally for a BSc in Economics at the University of London with some face-to-face teaching. Forty-nine students aged between 19 – 52 attended the eight-day residential course which was a huge success!
Since then, the only period no events have been held was during the pandemic. We’ve been delighted to see our conference service at Churchill College bounce back, as a key strand of the College’s financial sustainability strategy.
The College is not-for-profit, and income from conferences is re-invested. Services like conferencing help us to offset the impact of external financial pressures such as the global energy crisis, so that we can cross subsidise student rents and catering services. It also allows us to continue to fulfil our charitable duties out of term.
This summer, we have around 90 events taking place, ranging from day meetings, exhibitions, dinners, summer schools, PhD Symposiums, and large residential conferences. We are hosting a broad variety of organisations from the Royal Society of Chemistry to Raspberry Pi alongside pioneering widening participation projects such as Stem Smart and Sustainable Urban Futures. The College is flexible enough to cater for large scale (420 max delegates) through to more intimate dinners (6+ people), and our Conference team is expert at finding innovative solutions. We are also fortunate to have use of the College’s extensive lawns and grounds to host outdoor catering and events; from BBQs and marquees for conference events, to private dinners and team building exercises, including an outdoor casino-themed evening!
We’ve also hosted the weddings of two College members this summer, which is always something very special.
Delivering excellence in everything we do, including our conference service, is vital and Churchill College has around 175 non-academic staff, of which around 87 operate in housekeeping, catering and other services involved in making sure our events go off without a hitch.
Carol Robinson, Head of Events and Accommodation, said “Summer is certainly a very busy period for the Conference team. I’m very proud of how hard they all work, and of the high standard of service the whole College team delivers. It is a real team effort and the number of clients we have coming back again and again really demonstrates that their hard work makes a difference.”
I’m writing to say a big thank you for all the help with our conference. It went incredibly well, and people are saying it was the best conference they’ve attended. Please pass on our gratitude to the AV team and the catering team.
Dr Yan Wang, 2D TMDs 2023, Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy
Finally, Summer is also a very busy period for both group accommodation and individual B&B reservations. Individual accommodation bookings can be made via our website. For group accommodation bookings of 6 or more, please contact our accommodation office. made via our accommodation office.