PG Committee News Update

As lot has been happening and changing since the new Board of the Postgraduate Committee was elected in May! Catch up with the latest news.

PG Committee Writing Retreat

In June, we had our first New College weekend Writing Retreat organised by our Treasurer, Sammy Bishop. We spent three idyllic days in the Burn (Glenesk) where our work was constantly disrupted by good food, beautiful countryside walks. Some of us were writing their master’s dissertation, some were preparing for the first-year review board and others were polishing the final versions of their theses! We’re planning to have another Writing Retreat in May 2018.

The summer was a very busy period for us as we were simultaneously occupied with many projects. One of them was the Welcome Week, which was led by our new Director of Postgraduate Studies, professor Brian Stanley. We hope that Week’s programme (mid-September) was enjoyable and helpful for our new students at settling down. The Committee organised a tour of New College, ice-breakers, pub socials, annual ceilidh, informal potluck lunch and Extended Committee elections followed by questions and answers session for new students. One of the factors that contributed to the warm welcome of new masters and PhD students was increasing our online presence via social media. Already in June, we set up a Twitter account (please follow us! @NCPGCom) and we made our Facebook page (@NewCollegeCommunity) more active than in previous years. For those who use neither of these platforms, we have set up and advertised our university email address (

During the Welcome Week, we posted daily reminders of the programme and promoted any additional events happening at the School or the University. We have continued to use social media to keep students informed about conferences, job opportunities, paper calls, article submission and also all things fun ranging from walking tours in Edinburgh and art exhibitions to improvised comedy shows. 

PG Committee Common Room

At the same time, we were preparing our new PG Common Room, which used to be the PG Convenor’s office. The School has agreed to change the fitted carpet in the room and helped us financially with necessary purchases. We equipped the room with sofas, side lamps, tables, blankets, cushions and a pink rug! Throughout the year we will decorate the room further to make the space as relaxing as possible. We hope that the room’s bookshelf will soon be filled with books and board games. 

Since the summer we’ve also been in touch with Andy Johnston who’ll design our New College Swag that will be available for the whole School. For now,

we’re planning to order hoodies, t-shirts and mugs but depending on the demand we can expand our offer! Andy is not only a successful graphic designer (check out his website: but also our School’s alumnus. He knows our community well so we are sure that his design will reflect well our values and character. The Swag will be available to buy for the whole School and we hope we’ll start taking orders before Christmas.

This year the Committee’s goal has been to increase our engagement with charity, education and initiatives pertaining to equality and diversity. Thanks to a suggestion of one of our PhD candidates, Elijah Hixson, we started ordering pastries for our community’s meetings from providers that are unique businesses. In September, we bought traditional Syrian sweet treats (lots of baklava) from the Sweety House (Clerk Street). It is co-owned by Nour who used to have a bakery in Aleppo but fled from Syria with his family in 2012 and moved to East Lothian in 2016. For November’s First Friday, we are buying baked goods from the Social Bite that supports homeless people in Edinburgh. In December, we might order vegan doughnuts to speak against cruelty towards animals. Since September we have encouraged everyone to bring their own mugs to First Friday and, therefore, reduce waste as previously paper or plastic cups were provided for all.

Another innovation, which was suggested by Dr Laura Mair (big thank you!), is our Period Emergency Boxes (PEBs) placed in all PhD toilets. These contain panty liners, sanitary towels and tampons which can be used by anyone who found themselves caught by surprise or just forgot to take them from home. We can see that PEBs are used regularly and we’ve received very encouraging feedback. The idea has been picked up by Stephen Dolan, the NC UG Convenor, who put PEBs in the toilets used by the UG students. 

PG Comnittee Meeting With Holocaust Survivor

Finally, we are very excited that on 30th November we are hosting a talk by Ms Mala Tribich, a Holocaust survivor born to a Polish Jewish family in 1930. She’s going to talk about her experience of war, concentration camp and the reunification with her brother in England. The tickets to the event were booked out within fifteen hours from launching the event online and we’re now in the process of preparing overflow streaming in another lecture hall to be able to give tickets to those on the waiting list. We are truly honoured that Ms Tribich is coming to Edinburgh especially for us and we are thrilled by the high interest in the talk.

There are many other projects and annual events with which we are on our agenda, such as, Thanksgiving Dinner, Student Panel Debate in semester two and ongoing projects such re-painting the Ramsay Lane kitchen, swag, co-operation with the Chaplaincy, the Campus Minister, the newly-founded New College Society, the NC Choir and many other initiatives. So please, follow us on social media to be up to date with all the changes we’re introducing this academic year!