Univ Dates: 2010-2013
Degree: BA PPE
Degree Level: Undergraduate
Occupation: Researcher, Resolution Foundation
Biography: After finishing his finals Dan took up the role of Vice-President (Charities and Community) at the Oxford University Student Union, a position he was elected to during his final year at Univ. He spent a year in this role supporting Oxford students to change their university and city for the better, winning a Living Wage for the lowest paid staff across the University. He’s since worked as a civil servant and as a researcher in a think tank.
What were your preconceptions of Oxford or Univ before you started here?
I think that my preconceptions of Oxford changed a lot when I visited the Univ Open Day. Before I made the trip to Oxford to see it for myself I’d assumed that it was full of lots of very similar people, and that none of these people would be like me or have backgrounds like my own. But, visiting Univ and meeting students already there showed me that, actually, the College – and Oxford as a whole – had a much broader mix of students than I’d imagined.
What do you remember about your first day at Univ?
I remember getting shown to my room and being glad to find that it was on the ground floor and had views out onto Logic Lane (a beautiful cobbled street that runs through the middle of College). I also remember that my mum wanted to stay until I’d unpacked all of my boxes, but that I was keen for her to get going so I could prove my independence. And after she’d left, I remember missing her quite quickly. Soon after though, I met my new “College family” and we went for dinner in the Hall for the first time – which was possibly the noisiest eating experience I’ve ever had; over 200 people all getting to know each other for the first time is quite loud!
What is your most outstanding memory from Univ?
One great night was the election night in 2012 in which Barack Obama won his second term. The College provided American cuisine (burgers and chips) and we all watched the results come in on the big screen as Sir Ivor provided a running commentary on the news. It was great watching history being made in front of our eyes. Less great, was how tired we all were for lectures the next morning.
How do you think Univ shaped you?
Univ shaped me into someone that always sees the other side of the argument. I used to think that the right answer was always findable (Maths was my favourite subject in school), but studying at Univ – and meeting people who held totally different views from me – helped me see that often lots of reasonable answers to the same question are possible; and that figuring out which one is best requires a lot of effort.
How important is a project like this?
When I volunteered as a Student Ambassador at Univ Open Days I always spoke about how welcoming and diverse Univ was as a college – this was something that I didn’t quite believe would be true before I applied, and yet I quickly found that it was. So, I think this project is important in so far as it provides another way of demonstrating the variety of paths trodden both before and after study at Oxford.