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Ask not what Oxford can do for you...


  • Picture of Tom Gilliford
    Tom Gilliford
    Former Project Engagement Manager
  • Fellowship

On Tuesday evening Somerville College played host to the RSA's Oxford Engage event where Fellows and the public from Oxford, and beyond were invited to have a glass of wine, some nibbles and talk about their exciting ideas.

The meat of the evening consisted of lightning pitches from socially conscious projects.  Each speaker needed something from the audience, be it guidance, funding or even some borrowed enthusiasm, to take their idea further and realise their creative power.

The pitches

Mary Gillie FRSA

Energy local want to change the way that people think about their energy consumption. They want to give you more power to choose where your energy comes from, so that you can save money and be more sustainable.

Mary's ask:

Could you help them with administration tasks? Could you let them know about relevant funding? Do you have expertise in marketing and would you be willing to share it with them?

Adam Dawson FRSA

1 Million children live in substandard housing and Adam thinks it's about time we changed that. He wants to explore the possibility of changing the way we buy and sell houses, and make it fairer by divorcing land and resale values.

Adams' ask:

Could you give Adam legal advice? Could you have a conversation with Adam about a similar idea?

Charles Boundy FRSA

Thame Town Council have already agreed to a Green Living Plan for their Local area. Everything from footpaths to waste management will be used to make Thame a greener, better and more sustainable place.

Charles' ask:

Could you give some of your time and energy to take make this plan a reality?

Will Churchill

Student Hubs is an umbrella organisation for student ventures and charities.  Student Hubs currently runs a programme for social entrepreneurs, providing them with seed funding and support. 

Will's ask:

Could you lend Student Hubs your time and experience by becoming mentor for one of their entrepreneurs?

Rick Hall FRSA

3-2-1 Ignition was set up to increase the STEM literacy of young people. They want to put a scientist in residence into every school and set up Curiosity Hubs in your local towns.

Rick's ask:

If you are passionate about education and science, could you promote these ideas in your local area? Could you become a scientist in residence or run a Curiosity Hub?

Aida Alonzo:

Oxfordshire Social Entrepreneurship Partnership (OSEP) supports local people with big ideas to make their locality better by supplying material support, guidance and funding.

Aida's ask:

Could you become a social entrepreneurship mentor? Could you run a skills workshop for social entrepreneurs just starting out?

Philip Koomen FRSA

Oxfordshire will be hosting 'Ideas in the Making: a creativity symposium for all' on the 25th April. Talks, workshops, family activities and discussions will bring together artists, scientists, practitioners and the merely curious to explore the nature of interdisciplinary creativity.

Philip's ask:

Could you come along? Could you talk about your own ideas?

Each of these projects wants to make Oxford, and the wider world, a better place, but need a helping hand to do so. So to appropriate a presidential call to arms: "Ask not what Oxford can do for you; but what you can do for Oxford."

Next steps...

If you want to know more about the projects from Engage: Oxford then get in touch with our Project Engagement Team who can tell you more:

Connect with Fellows- Create your online profileFind like-minded fellows and Engage with projects in your area.

Be part of a project- Develop a new projecthelp with an existing one and propose new partners or potential funders by getting in touch.

Be inspired- Read the RSA Journal, submit an opinion piece to RSA Comment or join the discussion on our RSA blogs.

If you're not already an RSA Fellow and you support our mission of 21st century enlightenment, find out more about joining us.

Tom is a Project Engagement Manager, working to connect Fellows with the RSA’s research. Email him or follow him on Twitter at @tom_gilliford

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