Freshers’ Info 2014

Welcome all new Clare College Freshers! To help you prepare for coming to Cambridge in October here’s a pdf of the Freshers’ Booklet:

2014 Freshers’ Guide

This booklet is made by the UCS and contains loads of useful info about Clare, Freshers’ Week, the UCS and what to expect when you arrive in October. Hopefully you’ll find it useful! And if anyone has any additional questions don’t hesitate to contact any members of the UCS, email addresses can be found here:


Renewal of the UCS Constitution

Following a referendum of students, the changes to the UCS Constitution was passed, meeting the requirements of two ‘yes’ votes to every ‘no’ vote. As such, it was taken to Governing Body to be ratified, and I’m pleased to say that the Fellowship was happy to do so.

Some of the changes were ones that should have taken place alongside old Constitutional amendments (the document was a little confused I’m afraid!) but here is an outline of the more significant amendments:

  • The removal of the Welfare Officer and the Women’s Officer, and in their stead the addition of a Male Welfare Officer, a Female Welfare Officer, and a Non-Executive Women’s Officer (i.e. a position off the UCS Executive Committee and elected by and from the self-defining women of Clare undergraduates)
  • The addition of a Charities Rep, to organise and provide support for charity work within Clare
  • The addition of a Bike Rep (who in fact existed before, but is now proudly enshrined in our Constitution!)
  • The provision for a vote on the Executive Committee for the First Year Officer

Do let me know if you have any questions about any of these changes, or if you’d like me to explain the more minor ones to you! We very much hope that they serve to better the function of the UCS as it strives to improve the lives of students!


Balloting Changes

The snowdrops are fading, the wintry harshness is waning and the mornings are getting lighter… that’s right, it’s balloting season again! As you may have heard, the system is slightly different this year to previous years. If you’re a second year, you know the system from last year and everything’s exactly the same as that. If you’re a first year, things are a bit different to last year, but that’s purely academic since you weren’t here last year!

If you’re a first year, you may be wondering how the whole thing works. In a nutshell, balloting takes place in two stages: the group ballot, which takes place within the next couple of weeks, and the individual ballot which takes place next term.

For the group ballot, you can get together with your friends and apply for certain places around college as a single group, which means you’re guaranteed to live with your friends. Which group gets what is decided by the average ballot number of the people in each group: if two competing groups go for the same place, the group with the highest average ballot number gets it. As a first year you won’t yet know your ballot number, but you’ll be given these after all the group balloting is finished.

Then in Easter term, everyone who didn’t want to be in a group (and possibly any group that was unsuccessful) goes into the individual ballot. In this you’ll have a selected time at some to visit Housekeeping in N1, and you’ll choose a room out of whatever in college is still available. This is done in order of ballot number: those with the highest go in first.

If any of that wasn’t clear, I’ll be giving a talk about it in the LCR at some point next week. Or you can email me (rare2) and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.


Christmas and Rock n Roll Bops

Christmas Bop

Kiri GrinchThis year’s Christmas Bop was themed a little differently to the usual Christmas one…Clareites had came as their favourite Christmas Tree decoration! This bop was joint with Queens College and was all in aid of charity, with all proceeds going to QCOEF.

Molly and Michael

Music came from Clare’s very own band Rival Skies and Queens’ very own DJ Max Cooper, with some Christmas specials in amongst the music. We also had a special appearance from Clare Voices, who got everyone in the Christmassy spirit with a few well-chosen carols.

The ‘Grinch’s Grotto’ was a particular hit (a slight variation on the usual Santa’s grotto- a more sinister visit to UCS VP Kiri Koumi) and the sweets and mince pies went down a treat. Everyone left feeling very festive, and we raised a good sum of money for charity, whilst partying the night away!


Band xmas


50’s Rock n Roll Bop

Dust Koda

The UCS kick-started Lent Term in style with some 50’s Rock n Roll, the highlight of which was an appearance from up-and-coming band, The Dust Coda, who came from London to get Clare College rocking! It quickly descended into Clareites fighting to win the “air guitar competition”, which was spectacularly won by Victoria Aubrey and Georgina Collie. And talking of air guitars, there were definitely one or two blow-up guitars floating around…

The Dust Coda were followed by DJ Cryptix (Sam Mellor) who busted out his best vinyl collection specially for the occasion and kept people dancing all night long. Rebecca and Clare

Costumes were very chic for this bop- the girls were looking lovely with their 50’s dresses and curls and the boys were rocking out in leather.

We hope to see as many people as possible at the James Bond Formal and Casino Night next week, when we will be transforming cellars into a classy casino and giving Clareites an opportunity to look extra-suave in black tie. The martinis are waiting…


Progress on UCS Goals

A successful exchange was had at Oriel College, Oxford. Next term will see our Oriel friends coming to Clare for what will hopefully be as much fun as our trip to Oriel

• An Open Meeting was had on welfare and gender representation and consequently a referendum will take place next term on the matter

• It was decided that the costs were too great to justify the purchase of a new pool table given that the faults of the old one are not too significant

• A buttery feedback form was organised successfully, with a great many responses from the student body that can help the Catering Department continue to improve

• Following an Open Meeting, a referendum on the balloting system was held, with a strong result in favour of change; the proposal will be presented to College Council at the start of next term

• Next term we are hoping to spend money from the Parents’ Fund to buy new equipment for the Colony Gym

• Terri Yoon was elected as the First Year Officer, so many congratulations to her!

A very Merry Christmas to you all from the UCS Exec, wishing you well for the vacation and the New Year


Exchange with Oriel College 01/11/13

For over 800 years, there has been kept a dark, dark secret. It is feared by all true Cantabrigians, but unfortunately they are all starkly aware of it deep down… There is, in fact, a university in this country that has a history nearly as rich as ours, and a reputation comparable. I am, of course, referring to the other place.

Rivalry has been rampant ever since the Fordies kicked out the best and brightest of their town and watched them found a greatly superior institution here in the Fens. Such rivalry is justified further within Clare ever since Hugh Latimer, a dear Fellow of our College, was, er, burned in Ox***d.

The last few years have seen our sisterhood with Oriel College, also founded in 1326, sadly neglected. It therefore gives me great pleasure to inform you that this sisterhood was merrily (perhaps too merrily for some) reaffirmed last Friday by a visit to Oriel.



32 Clare students made their way over by coach for a drinks reception and black tie dinner, followed by a couple of hours in Oriel’s college bar. The rules of “Pennying” in the other place are reversed (you can only penny when someone IS holding their glass), they call supervisions “tutorials” and they punt from the WRONG end, but never mind.

In spite of bad weather (upsettingly ruining our hopes of a college tour), I think it is safe to say that everyone on both our end and on the Oxonian end had an absolutely joyous time.

We’re all very much looking forward to welcoming our Fordie friends in Lent Term (or “Hilary”, as they say), and to future successful exchanges, perhaps eventually with some friendly sporting rivalry too. Hopefully given that Clare has just won for the second time running the intercollegiate Culinary Competition we can give them a formal that rivals theirs!


Halloween Alter-Ego Bop 27.10.13

The Halloween Alter-Ego Bop took place on Sunday 27th October. There were high expectations after some of the weird and wonderful costumes that appeared at the first Disney Bop of term. Needless to say, the costumes did not disappoint. Who knew that Clareites have alter-egos such as ‘sparty rock’, wolves (some people just can’t resist busting out the multi-purpose onesies…) and the incredible hulk.
Third Years  Halloween Bop Post
Colonel Spanky’s Love Ensemble got the fun started and the crowd dancing with some classics, followed by DJ Konrad who had some Halloween specials up his sleeve!
First Years  Halloween Bop Post
Apple-bobbing and donut-catching also went down a storm. A few Clareites seemed to go for a bit of a swim though (see below)! The sweets courtesy of the UCS also went down well- although a few people were suspect that we luring them into Chlamydia testing- that’s Dylan’s job, guys!
Callum  Halloween Bop Post
Donuts  Halloween Bop Post
All in all, a great night was had by all, and the party continued later on in Life (never wanting to break tradition!)
Keep an eye out for info on the next CHRISTMAS QCOEF BOP- JOINT WITH QUEENS’ COLLEGE!! Guaranteed to be a great end to the term to get you in the Christmas spirit.


Italian Themed Buttery 21/10/13

On Monday 21st October, the UCS organised its first themed Buttery night. We are fortunate to have Italians on the catering team at Clare, so a range of authentic and delicious dishes were prepared. Feedback included ‘probably the best thing I’ve eaten in the Buttery’. With the help of decorations, music and Peroni the night proved to be very popular.



We are planning on organising a similar event next term for Chinese New Year.


IMG_0159 (1)

UCS Goals for the Term Ahead

• To organise and conduct a successful exchange with Oriel College, our sister college from the University of Oxford. We’ll hopefully be going over this term, and hosting our Oxonian friends in Lent

• To revise and update the UCS Constitution, including reforming the way that welfare, gender and sexuality issues are accommodated for both on and off the UCS Executive Committee, as well as giving the First Year Rep a vote

• To look into buying a new pool table for Cellars given that the old one is now pretty run down

• To organise a buttery feedback form so that the buttery serves us according to what we would like

• To review the room balloting system, potentially with an Open Meeting so that students can have their say

• To organise most probably for the beginning of Lent staircase meals that see occupiers of a staircase both old and new come together

Freshers Week

I’m thrilled to look back on Freshers’ Week this year, though certainly sad to see that it has finally come to an end! Then again, one more day and the UCS Exec might have just collapsed…

The freshers arrived, fresh-faced, on Saturday 5th October to a swarm of helpers, in yellow t-shirts (college pride and all that) both from the UCS Exec, from the Christian Union and some others who just fancied lifting luggage out of cars packed to the brim. Once the freshers had eaten lunch, taken a few tours around their new home and bought their gowns (with its three stripes in remembrance of the three deceased husbands of Lady Clare) it was time to find their “college parents”! The system of college families allows freshers to have a couple/threesome of second years to turn to for advice about living and studying at Clare.

The meals seemed a great success, with the entire year of freshers and almost the entire year of second years, with some older students too, being involved. The JCR, or “Cellars”, was the natural progression, and I have never seen it more alive than that night.

Disney BOP

Hopefully no-one was too hung-over when it came to being introduced as a new year to the UCS Exec, the infamous Clare Ents Committee, and various other representatives of the college’s various parts. The Clare Societies Fair was one of my personal favourites over the week: everything from Clare Sound to Clare Politics, there was something for everyone; the Great Hall packed full of sports and the Buttery, well, everything else. Other highlights of the week included the Disney Bop, which went down an absolute treat with freshers and older students alike, staircase meals, taster sessions with various college societies, and, though sadly I couldn’t attend a second time, Matriculation Dinner. Having said that, plenty of non-freshers were happy to take advantage of the university-wide societies fair, if not just to get a free slice of Domino’s pizza!

From speed dating to a charity quiz, I’m pleased to say that the whole thing was a great success. So here’s to more clubbing, more study skills and the amazing year ahead!