They were greeted by a Wolfson that looks different from that you knew in some respects:
First, there is a brand new Porters’ Lodge which was only possible because one of our alumni donated the funds to enable the “Best Porters in Cambridge” to have a new home; and we also have two grand marquees (either side of the club room) to expand our facilities in order to allow students to meet and socialise safely; we have table service in the bar! But, of course, some things are unchanging: The Porters are there to greet students as they arrive; the WCSA welcoming committee brings students into their community to make them feel at home; and of course, the tutorial staff and tutors are on hand to get students into their rooms and to help them get the hang of Cambridge.
We have had to hold a number of our welcome events online, or in small groups scattered around the College, but welcome events have been held, and perhaps the small events have made it easier for me to meet and talk to more students individually than I have ever had before. Our traditional matriculation event was held as a giant zoom ceremony and our trusty photographer will be producing a photograph by the wonders of technology, morphing all our individual photographs into one (and just as well, perhaps, because matriculation day was uncharacteristically wet!)
And so, term has begun. With lectures online but with small group teaching continuing where possible, things will look different. Lab work may be conducted in shifts, but experiments are continuing, the library is open and buzzing; and our WolfWorks programme is full steam ahead, offering academic support programmes for students at all levels. Wolfson students are nothing if not creative. they are finding ways to meet up to work together. Our events programme will be a blended mixture of online, live-streamed and in person, meaning that wherever you in the world you can join in, you can find some way of still being part of the Wolfson community (sign up here!).
Our Wolfson alumni community (Wolfson around the World) is growing – from some who left only a couple of months ago to those who were here at Wolfson in the 1960s. I have come to the sad conclusion that trips abroad are off for the time being. But please keep your eye out – I hope to “visit” you often over the next few months! We have a Celebration of Benefactors in November to look forward to and our Wolfson/ASEAN young Researchers conference is moving online in December.
Please keep in touch with us and with others through Wolfson Connect. Send us your news. I just can’t wait to welcome you back in person.