Giving Day raises over £60,000 for scholarships, grants and sustainability

Giving Day scene

Giving Day, a 36 hour concentrated fundraising event held across 5-6 February at Green Templeton, provided our global community with the opportunity to pause for a moment to consider what a special place Green Templeton is. During the Giving Day we asked as many alumni and friends of the college to come together to help make a difference to current and future students, to make sure Green Templeton remains as rich as it is in diversity, and that there is a common theme among some of the world’s best young minds, concentrated and committed to effecting real change in the world.

After the amazing 36 hours of challenges, events and experiencing the best of our community, we raised more than £60,000 for our Principal’s fund, Annual fund, and Area of Greatest Need:

  • Principal’s Fund – Providing support for students in the areas of scholarships, bursaries, hardship and personal and professional development.
  • Annual Fund – Providing grants for students that support academic-related activities (for example, student academic events and initiatives, including professional development) and support for college life (for example, sports, societies and improvements to college facilities).
  • Area of Greatest Need – Providing maximum flexibility to make an immediate impact when and where the need is greatest in college. Currently, we are hoping to install a voltage optimiser that will provide immediate and long-term savings reduction in carbon and electricity costs from the date of installation, in line with our sustainability strategy.


The whole event kicked off with three challenges designed to last 36 hours, starting at 7.00am sharp. It was a marathon, but all in a good cause!

Denise agreed to the first challenge called Round the Houses, where she visited every head of house (all 37 of them, as well as the Vice Chancellor!) in 36 hours. With each head of house Denise collected a selfie and an unusual statistic about that college, and even made it back to college with time to spare! Read more about her whirlwind tour.

The second challenge was the Phileas Fogg Challenge undertaken by our Bursar Tim Clayden. Tim was tasked with visiting 10 mystery destinations in mainland UK, all of which have a connection (however tenuous) to Green Templeton. Tim was presented with a clue to each new destination, the difficulty of which was dependent on how much funding was raised at each point. Read more about his adventure in more detail.

The third challenge was a row-a-thon – staff, students and fellows are gamely taking to the ergos for half hour slots so we can attempt to complete 36 hours of non-stop rowing. The team made up of over 60 students, staff, fellows and friends of the College managed to row an amazing 468.14km; the equivalent of Green Templeton to St Edmund’s College (our sister college at Cambridge) twice over! The most km rowed in 30mins was Karl Overdick , and Anna Humphreeys got the nearest guess of the total distance rowed.

Our GCR (Graduate Common Room) President Maggie Plesa undertook her own challenge, “Hoy Ahoy”, to reach Hoy in Scotland with her partner Richard, for his elective medical placement, funded from the Green Templeton Learning Fund. They made it after three days of travel, with some beautiful scenery along the way.

There were also plenty more events going on throughout college over the 36 hours:

Wednesday 5 February

  • 07:00 – The three challenges were kicked off bright and early as Denise and Tim rushed off and the rowers began their marathon erg-sessions!
  • 14:00 – The staff Blue & White fancy dress competition was judged. Harriet Quint and Ben King were awarded joint third place for their very blue outfits! Sophie Schirmacher and Naomi Benson won joint second place for almost convincing us as doctors, and Ruth Saxton won first place for her creative choice of the Marquis de Carabas, a nobleman from the fairytale Puss in Boots!
  • 20:00 – The Stables bar hosted a busy student quiz night with bucket bar, and prizes for the winning team.

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Thursday 6 February

  • 10:30 – Some gorgeous cakes were presented for the Blue & White Bake Off competition. The cakes were expertly judged by our Chef Chris, before Lady Jay, High Sheriff of Oxford, announced the Bake-Off winners at 14:00. Jane Wastie’s tasty Greek-inspired cake came first, with Chris Heemskirk’s sea-themed cake second, and Sophie Schirmacher’s College Crest cake gaining third place. The fabulous cakes were then available to buy at 50p a slice.
  • 18:30 – As we neared the Giving Day finish line, Tim and Denise returned victorious from their challenges.
  • 19:00 – Live music and party poppers marked the end of a busy and successful Giving Day!

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The college’s first ever Giving Day was not only an excellent opportunity to raise vital support for college, but the events across the 36 hours and hard work that went into the organisation of the event highlights the tremendous sense of community, research, inclusivity & diversity, and people that make up Green Templeton College.

Created: 10 February 2020