Most Wadham students returned home at the start of the lockdown period, leaving their rooms empty, and reducing the workload for many Wadham staff.
Following a decision by College to furlough some 90 staff members early in the lockdown (many from the housekeeping, refectory and kitchen teams) and to top up the 80 percent government contribution to full salaries, the students wanted to help. Finance Bursar, Peter Alsop explained: “Since Wadham has continued to pay full salary and full pension contributions to all our staff, we are bearing about 30% of the cost of furloughed staff.”
As the majority of Wadham students returned home at the start of the lockdown period, the College has not charged them for their empty student rooms. In solidarity with the College and staff, the Student Union initiated a Voluntary Contributions Scheme by which students could contribute to staff costs.
In a letter to Wadham students explaining the Voluntary Contributions Scheme, SU President Alasdair Leeding wrote: “College has done the right thing in my opinion, without being nudged to, of paying 100% of wages and full pensions to all furloughed staff and casual workers. I think we should show support for this by helping with the cost of that. Us contributing now leaves more money for future Wadham students, as less of the endowment has to be spent now.”
Commenting on this gesture, Peter Alsop said: “I would like to thank Wadham Students for their generosity, and to thank the officers of the Student Union for championing and supporting this scheme. Students have generously contributed almost £ 20,000 towards the employment costs of non-academic staff who are on furlough or are coming in to carry out essential work while most people are away from the college. It is a difficult time for everyone, and we are deeply touched that our students have chosen to contribute in this way at a time when the College is facing a substantial loss of income from traditional sources. This is a very thoughtful action, and speaks volumes about the values of the Wadham community.”
Wadham alumni have also shown tremendous support for the College and its students during this unprecedented period by adding their contributions to a COVID-19 Student Support Fund, a hardship fund set up to support students in difficulty as a result of the pandemic. As part of Wadham’s Access to Excellence programme, this Fund has been set up in May 2020 to offer flexible support to undergraduates and graduates who are facing financial hardship or need immediate assistance with travel costs, study support or other similar requests during the pandemic. Thanks to donations of all sizes from alumni and friends, the College can offer flexible and immediate assistance to all our students in need.
Alumni have also been generously supporting the final stage of our building campaign for the new Undergraduate Centre and Access Centre which are to open in Michaelmas term. For further information and details of these campaigns please contact Julie.email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org