My highlights of the academic year

By Simon Friend
March 26, 2009

The academic year is coming to an end and, after a remarkably varied six months, my highlights have been:

- Best Campaign: as part of Holocaust Memorial Day, Leeds University JSoc acquired more than 12,000 bottle tops to create a centrepiece for the university’s new Hillel House, to represent just one per cent of those who suffered. Support came from far and wide; large numbers from the Limmud conference and, bizarrely, contributions from Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur football clubs.

- Best comment: When asked to justify Oxford’s under-21 rugby team’s “Bring a Fit Jew” bar night, team captain Phil Boon claimed that he “didn’t see what the problem was” with his event. Mr Boon later conceded: “I can understand why it might have offended some people, but it would have been an awesome social.” Duh.

- Biggest hotheads: LSE, the historic hotbed of student political activism, this year maintained its energy in its rebuke of Operation Cast Lead. The height of the tension came in the form of a sit-in over several days in the university’s largest lecture theatre, complemented by a rally, at which George Galloway addressed the crowds, encouraging people to join him on his Viva Palestina convoy.

- Best event: celebrated Jewish chef Silvia Nacamulli visited the London student centre earlier this year in an attempt to lift her audience from their pasta-based student diets. Some may suggest that making pan-fried chicken breast in red wine and mandarin sauce on a repeated basis is a slight stretch for a student loan. A chip sandwich is more likely.


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