Residential Commons in Oxford

Eight SMU undergraduates and four faculty and staff members are exploring the birthplace of residential colleges: Oxford, England. With stops in London, Cambridge, and Bath, this group of residential leaders are searching to answer the question, “What is the culture of a true residential college system?” The students, faculty and staff hope to bring back ideas and traditions to enhance SMU’s new Residential Commons system.

Read more from Residential Commons in Oxford

Day 4: Less cobblestone and more academia

image2

An update from Samiat, a sophomore majoring in business management and a member of the Residential Commons Leadership Corps in Ware Commons:

Today we took a ride to Oxford’s competitor, Cambridge. While there we were fortunate enough to learn about Cambridge’s King’s College and Chapel. There was high emphasis on the chapel. We were also able to view the art of punting and hear the sounds of England’s next hit sensation in the voices of local street performers.

image3 Our tour guide, a true scholar and British figure, informed us of Cambridge’s academic system. The history of the college dates back centuries. However, Oxford has pride in that it was established almost a half a century before Cambridge. By 1209 students began to venture from Oxford and France to Cambridge. Cambridge had been a Roman town while Oxford was Saxon.

Our tour guide also informed us that the old colleges are in the center and the new modern colleges are located west. The colleges are where the students live, take their meals, do their own private study, and worship in the college chapel should they choose to do so. There is no teaching in the college. All teaching takes place in the university. On this front, Cambridge and SMU are quite comparable as a college is like a residential hall and the university is the central place of study. Cambridge educates about 19,000 students; 12,000 are on a first degree and the rest are postgraduates. Five of Cambridge’s thirty colleges admit only postgraduates while the rest admit most undergraduates and postgraduates.

King’s Chapel houses the second largest medieval glass collection in all of England. During World War II all the windows were removed from the chapel for 60 pounds each and stored in Cambridge. After the war’s end it would take three years for all of the windows to be placed in their exact spot. The windows had first been placed there in the 1500s. Chronologically they depict the stories of the New and Old Testament. Furthermore the chapel is known for its fan-inspired celling, which possesses much detail and artistry. It is also know for the many different animals and creatures which hug the wall.

Share this story:

    About Sarah Hanan

    EA-PubAffairs(Periodicals)
    This entry was posted in Residential Commons in Oxford. Bookmark the permalink.