Four Fitz undergraduates have helped to set up a new access initiative for Cambridge – aim (access-inspire-mobilise).
Tyra Amofah-Akardom (Education 2018), Tolu Mustapha (Law 2019), Tami Briggs (HSPS 2019) and Leona Kouame (HSPS 2019) each have different roles within the initiative, including web design, providing written and video content and developing social media campaigns.
Tolu said: "The new aim website is being launched today as the end of July marks around the time that we attended open days at Cambridge.
"At that time I’d never met anyone who had studied at Cambridge, let alone someone who looked like me. The thought of studying here seemed quite abstract.
"After being introduced to current BME students and learning about their experiences through open days, access schemes like Target Oxbridge, plus YouTube and social media, I felt a lot more confident knowing more about the environment and people.
"I hope that we can help prospective students and incoming freshers in a similar way."
The student-led initiative wants to inspire students from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds to apply confidently to the University, knowing that Cambridge is a space for them. It was initially thought up by Tse Uweja, who is going into her third year studying Engineering at St Catharine’s College.
Baroness Morgan, Master at Fitzwilliam College, said: "I am pleased and proud that our students have been so instrumental in the launch of this new access programme. The initiative aligns closely to the values of Fitzwilliam College – we are committed to encouraging applications from all students who show real academic potential, regardless of social or educational background. Diversity in our student body is of real benefit to all of our College members."
Tyra said: "Cambridge is often presented as a place where students from underrepresented ethnic groups don't attend, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
"We exist in this space, we flourish and succeed here and this must be celebrated. That isn't to say that representation isn’t a massive issue, but hopefully aim helps us get one step closer to tackling this."
The new website collates the experiences of underrepresented BME students across the University through blogs and vlogs, FAQs and a map of cultural hotspots. It will also promote cultural societies and outreach events.
Tami said: "I joined aim because as a student from a minority ethnic background who has been through the application process, I understand the importance of prospective students having access to accurate information."
Leona added: "I’m inspired by students at Cambridge every day, especially those that have made spaces where different cultures and backgrounds are celebrated. I would love for aim to show the variety of opportunities at Cambridge."