Warden's welcome speech (recorded)
Hello and thanks for tuning in! My name’s Adrian; I’m your Warden at Connaught.
Normally I give this speech in person, in our dining hall. But since around half our students are still yet to arrive this year, I am sharing it online so that everyone has an opportunity to hear and no one feels left out or left behind.
So it is my honour and great pleasure to extend you a very big, warm welcome to London, to Connaught Hall, and to what I hope will be one of the most satisfying and rewarding periods of your life so far.
The first thing I would like to do is introduce my team. The Resident Advisors (RAs) and I are here to promote a welcoming, respectful, supportive, safe and enjoyable social and community experience.
We don’t manage the hall, the building, or the facilities; we’re here to look after the people side of life in halls. Get to know our faces… and please, get to know us. Because we want to get to know you. You’re always welcome to join us at meal times or speak with us at events. Even if you have nothing in particular to say … maybe you just don’t want to sit alone. You’re always welcome to join us.
To those who are already here in Hall, it has been a real pleasure for my team and I to meet so many of you in the past week. Keep talking to us, keep letting us know how things are going. Like I said, we want to get to know you. I hope you’ve begun to settle in by now: finding your feet in your new home, building the connections that will sustain you through this life transition that coming to university represents.
And if you will be arriving soon, everyone here is looking forward to making you feel at home.
I hope that this year will give all of us many opportunities to forge great friendships and many happy memories.
We are all so different from one another, with such diverse backgrounds, and now we have this wonderful opportunity together to create supportive a community that celebrates friendship, inclusivity, and respect, leaving no one behind. Because despite our many differences, we do share so much in common. Everyone here wants to do what’s best… wants to be happy… and wants to belong.
The best way to achieve those desires is to help others achieve them. Helping others is the best way to help yourself. It starts with kindness, and kindness starts with you and with me.
Just imagine how great this year can be if all of us work to help one another do what’s best, to bring happiness to one another; if we can offer support when times are tough, and make everyone feel that they belong. A community is built from the actions, words, and attitudes of its members – and that means you. What you say and what you do can make all the difference. So this year, be a part of making Connaught a warm and welcoming home for everyone. Helping others is the best way to help yourself. It starts with kindness, and kindness starts with you and with me.
One way you can be a part of this is by standing for election to the Hall Association Committee – or HAC. The HAC helps me to decide how to spend the social and community budget in Hall to best meet the needs and wishes of all of you. And the HAC members then take on the organisation of the events and cultural activities that, year after year, have given Connaught a reputation as the most social Hall in London. It’s fantastic experience for developing your teamworking, organisational, and communication skills – and it looks great on your CV! That election is happening on 3 October. Talk to me about it over double dessert tonight to find out more, or any time you see me around the hall.
There will be other ways to get involved, too. We will host a feedback forum each term. Come to those and let your voice be heard. We can also support you to set up a club or an interest group to share your passion with the rest of us. In pre-COVID times, we had very active football, yoga, art, and poker clubs to name just a few. This year? Well that’s up to you. What you say and what you do can make all the difference. Helping others is the best way to help yourself.
And of course, there will be countless other ways to make your own special contributions to the community life of our Hall this year. One of the most important is just to show up and take part in the events and activities that will be going on – and that’s something we can all do!
Now, it’s completely normal to experience some stress around moving to a new home, making new friends, and studying at a new level. And there will continue to be challenges throughout the year ahead. But if any of those stresses and challenges feel too great, please know that it’s absolutely ok to reach out and ask for help. Nothing is too big, too embarrassing, too minor, too silly – or too… anything else – if there is a problem, talk to me or an RA about it. That’s what we’re here for. I can’t promise that we’ll be able to make everything better, but we will be there – with you and for you – when you need us. And remember that, besides the support there in Hall, your family and friends, your GP, and wellbeing service at your university all want you to do well and be the best you can be. Tap into all that support if and when you need it.
Working together, we can ensure that Connaught remains a safe, supportive, and friendly home for everyone here. So let’s look forward to a brilliant year filled with new experiences, new opportunities, and – most of all – new friends!
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