Although comparatively smaller than most other colleges, Oriel boasts a wonderful location, a multitude of facilities and a close, caring atmosphere. The college itself has three quads, with the first being home to its iconic steps. Oriel has a bit of reputation amongst other colleges for being competitive - particularly with rowing. This may be true, but it provides an ambitious atmosphere where everyone pushes and encourages each other to excel in every aspect of their college lives.
The beating heart of culinary life at Oriel is the hall. This is where all regular meals are held. There is a great range of choice and catering to a wide variety of dietary requirements. Brunch is hosted on Sundays and ‘Informal’, a casual evening dinner, is hosted most nights. Oriel maintains the quintessentially Oxford tradition of formal hall; holding it six nights a week. At only £5.15, it’s a three course meal where students wear gowns and suits - even the Queen has attended!
Despite its relatively small size, the college provides accommodation for all years. There are several small kitchens equipped with a microwave, toaster and kettle at the bottom of most staircases. Most freshers live in the recently revamped Rhodes building which boasts fantastic facilities. There is a wide range of accommodation, varying in cost due to quality and size. Rooms are initially applied for on a cost basis, and are later chosen, via a random ballot for preference.
Oriel has a wide range of extracurricular activities. Its main sports grounds are within walking distance of the college. Oriel also has gyms which can be used free of charge. Oriel is particularly well known for its sporting achievements. Our boat club are often "Head of the River", and sit at the top of the rowing ladder. Oriel also has a strong drama scene, who resurrected its annual garden play this year, and also performed in Cuppers and other productions. A student-run college music society organises events ranging from open mic nights and jazz nights to full-blown concerts. 'Acapporiel' was recently established, and is proving particularly popular.
The JCR has two Welfare reps, an LGBTQ rep and Peer Supporters. The college employs two Welfare deans and other Junior and Senior deans provide a crucial welfare role as part of their job. There is also the Chaplain who is happy to help regardless of faith and beliefs -- his weekly Afternoon Tea’s are always well attended!
There’s a variety of events on per term. Each term Oriel has three bops hosted in the bar and featuring cheesy music and cheap drink deals! The college also has seasonal events, including TOPE (The Oriel Pancake Event) in Lent, and the Summer Garden Party at the end of Trinity term - which is free for all students. Oriel is one of the few colleges to host a Commemorative Ball, a huge event hosted by the entirety of college. Attendees dress up in ball gowns and tails and are entertained through the night and well into the morning!
What Oriel really encapsulates for me is 'community'. All the students, no matter what year they are in, treat you as their equal and are more than willing to help with anything.
Oriel is beyond fantastic. When it comes to rowing we're one big team and it shows on the river. When the Oriel roar hits you, no matter how hard you've pushed, you find another gear.
I love Oriel because of all the facilities it offers, including the new gym, sports fields and fantastic welfare events.