Newnham’s first BAME formal hall a night to remember

Isabel Beresford-Cole, Social and Political Sciences undergraduate at Newnham, writes about the BAME Committee’s first BME Formal Hall, held on Wednesday 25 October to mark Black History Month, which she organised.

One of my first priorities as BAME Officer was to have a BAME formal. The idea of students from different backgrounds coming together in the name of celebrating cultural diversity is something beautiful and should be encouraged and nurtured.

The excitement from the students when the formal was announced solidified to us that our efforts were worth it, and we knew this was going to be a night to remember.

Tickets sold out within 12 hours, which portrays just how necessary this event was for our students; students wanted to represent their cultures with pride and share it with other students.

Feedback on the menu was particularly heartwarming; we as a committee asked students directly what food they would like to see on the menu. Students who saw their favourite dishes, that are undoubtedly special to them, on the menu expressed deep gratitude to us, and many got to experience new cultural dishes for the first time, hopefully leaving them with a taste palette for different cultures.

The night was such a special night for Newnham. Students all coming together to celebrate diversity, wearing their cultural dress with pride. A menu designed with a fusion of culture, and some beautiful gospel music to set the ambiance. I am so proud that everything came together, and I hope this leaves a lasting mark on our BME Community.

It was such an honour to be joined by our brilliant guest speakers. Maggie Semple, OBE, FGI,  inspired and educated us all on the language of race, which lead to some really interesting conversations.  Stephanie Adeyemo shared a sentiment of resilience, when outlining her academic journey. Professor Manali Desai, as BAME Advisor for Newnham College, shared projects and efforts towards a more diverse and inclusive community. It was such a pleasure to hear from you all.

I hope that this becomes a lasting tradition, and the excitement and feedback from the students demonstrate why we need to have events like these. Uplifting these communities and celebrating our differences, having conversations and listening to each other. This event was about more than just the food, it is a step towards a more diverse and inclusive Newnham.

Photos by Inaas Asad