The building works for the long-awaited extension to the MCR to provide improved facilities for the postgraduate community began on 3 September 2018 and are due to be completed by 15 March 2019.
Fitzwilliam’s postgraduate community has grown enormously over the last 50 years, with our 350 postgraduate students now almost equalling the number of undergraduates. The majority of students live in College-owned accommodation around the wider College site, and they are a vibrant and visible presence in our community.
But their own communal facilities within the College were far too small to adequately accommodate them. The MCR (Middle Combination Room), tucked into the side of The Grove, although wonderfully central, could only comfortably welcome 40 students at any one time. Inevitably, this limited interaction and curtailed the huge benefits that interdisciplinary conversation brings.
“Having been a graduate student here in Cambridge myself, I know that research degrees are often an isolating experience. A well-organised, active and friendly postgraduate community makes for happier – and more successful – postgraduate students.”
Dr Nicola Jones, Development Director
Thanks to the generosity of alumni, we have so far raised £605,000 towards the build, which allowed us to begin works on 3 September. RH Partnership Architects (who designed A, B and C staircases) have created a sensitive plan that will enlarge The Grove – removing the ugly old ‘boiler room’ and enlarging the communal space significantly. Upstairs, new rooms will be created for teaching, group project work and independent study, vital as many of our 350 postgraduate students currently struggle to find shared spaces in which to work and teach. The MCR and the Fellowship were consulted at all stages of the design, and are excited by the potential the project has to bring the College research community together. Gabby McHarg, MCR President (2017–2018), said: “Postgraduate students have been involved in the conceptual and planning processes from day one, and there is huge support among the postgraduate community for the new MCR, which we all look forward to enjoying from 2019 onwards.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The College is still looking to raise the final £70,000 of this project, and would appreciate any contribution that you can afford. From regular £5-a-month donations, to single six-figure sums, this project has already inspired donors from across the College community to give: this is an exciting opportunity to make a huge difference to half the College’s student population, and we hope you will consider making a contribution. To find out more about how to make a gift to Fitzwilliam College, please visit our website >>