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Switchboard

Switchboard

By Varsity

Welcome to Switchboard! We're back for Lent Term and we have a brand new season of Switchboard lined up for you, plus a whole new team. Over the course of the term, producers Liv and Izzy will bring you new voices and topics each week, covering everything from veganism to Pink Week. Plus, brand new this term - a segment in collaboration with Varsity's AskVulture series!
If you have a story you want covered, an issue you want to raise or want to get involved yourself just message the Facebook page or email switchboard@varsity.co.uk!

You can stream us wherever you get your daily podcast fix.
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S8. Ep7. VarsiTea on Varsity
S8. Ep7. VarsiTea on Varsity
In the final episode of this season of Switchboard, we catch up with some of the sporting community in Cambridge to talk about all things Varsity competitions. From boxing to taekwondo and women's blues football we learn about the preparations for the competition against Oxford and what it's like balancing work with training. We also hear from our very own Senior Sport's Editor at Varsity, Liam, about what it's like covering sports at both the college and university level and the importance of sports for the Cambridge community. Transcripts available here! .................................................................................................................................... Meet this term's team! Producers: Olivia Young & Isabella Todini Audio Engineers: Laleh Bergman Hossain & Joe Bray Writers: Matilda Sidel and Gwilym Hubbard Outreach Manager: Lucy Rostant Graphic Designer: Sam Benatar
55:05
March 15, 2022
S8. Ep6. International Women's Day
S8. Ep6. International Women's Day
This week, Switchboard celebrates International Women’s Day by sitting down with women of Cambridge and chatting about the projects, campaigns, and art they are part of, as well as all the ways they work to empower women and work towards gender equality. With the special addition of a live reading of a poem, and three brilliant guests, this episode is worth the listen. Tune in to hear reflections on careers, inclusion, body acceptance, and so much more! Transcripts available here! .................................................................................................................................... Meet this term's team! Producers: Olivia Young & Isabella Todini Audio Engineers: Laleh Bergman Hossain & Joe Bray Writers: Matilda Sidel and Gwilym Hubbard Outreach Manager: Lucy Rostant Graphic Designer: Sam Benatar
34:16
March 05, 2022
S8. Ep5. Campaigning for Cambridge
S8. Ep5. Campaigning for Cambridge
In this episode, we learn about various student campaigns around Cambridge. We hear about the U Bus Campaign to increase accessibility around the city for different colleges, Cambridge Period Project in their fight against period poverty in the university and beyond, and the Demilitarise Cambridge campaign aimed to shed light on the university investment ties to arms companies. You're guaranteed to leave feeling proud and inspired by all the amazing student activism in Cambridge! Transcripts available here! .................................................................................................................................... Meet this term's team! Producers: Olivia Young & Isabella Todini Audio Engineers: Laleh Bergman Hossain & Joe Bray Writers: Matilda Sidel and Gwilym Hubbard Outreach Manager: Lucy Rostant Graphic Designer: Sam Benatar
50:16
February 26, 2022
S8. Ep4. Vegan Virtuosos
S8. Ep4. Vegan Virtuosos
In a slightly different format than previous episodes this season, Liv and Izzy sit down with a group of vegan and veggie Cambridge students, to hear about a variety of experiences with bringing a plant-based lifestyle to uni. Tune in for a panel-style discussion about cooking in college gyps, ways college dining halls could do better, and recipe favorites from all of our guests. This one is a tasty one!  Transcripts available here! .................................................................................................................................... Meet this term's team! Producers: Olivia Young & Isabella Todini Audio Engineers: Laleh Bergman Hossain & Joe Bray Writers: Matilda Sidel and Gwilym Hubbard Outreach Manager: Lucy Rostant Graphic Designer: Sam Benatar
37:31
February 20, 2022
S8. Ep3. Love Without Limits
S8. Ep3. Love Without Limits
...or, The Queer, The Corporate, and The Christian. In this episode, we dive into what Valentine's Day really means, who it's for (and who is left out), and how people are celebrating their love outside of the heteronormative imagining of February 14th. This one is a heart-warmer; stories of love, joyful first dates, and nonromantic expressions of love overflow from our guests this week. We also challenge the commercialization of Valentine's Day, and ask whether there might be better ways to show and share our love. Transcripts available here! .................................................................................................................................... Meet this term's team! Producers: Olivia Young & Isabella Todini Audio Engineers: Laleh Bergman Hossain & Joe Bray Writers: Matilda Sidel and Gwilym Hubbard Outreach Manager: Lucy Rostant Graphic Designer: Sam Benatar
40:37
February 12, 2022
S8. Ep2. Passion for Pink Week
S8. Ep2. Passion for Pink Week
Just in time for the start of Pink Week 2022 (and the Pink Week Ball happening tonight, Feb 5!!) comes an episode about the history of Pink Week, from its conception years ago to its resounding success today. Our very own host, Liv, is Pink Week President this year, so she gives us the scoop on what Pink Week really is, and how she's managed to balance being president with a Cambridge degree. Our guests have each played a different role across Pink Week's history, each with their own insights and reflections on their experiences with the cause - so settle in and enjoy!  Learn more about Pink Week!  Transcripts available here!  .................................................................................................................................... Lent Term Team:  Producers: Olivia Young & Isabella Todini Audio Engineers: Laleh Bergman Hossain & Joe Bray Writers: Matilda Sidel and Gwilym Hubbard Outreach Manager: Lucy Rostant Graphic Designer: Sam Benatar
51:14
February 12, 2022
S8. Ep1. Considering Covid
S8. Ep1. Considering Covid
In the first episode of a brand new season of Switchboard, our hosts Liv and Izzy bring you student voices from across the university reflecting on and chatting about their experiences throughout the past two years. Tune in to hear from Yasmin, Tara, and Ayomide as they unpack their covid considerations, plus a special treat at the end in collaboration with Varsity's AskVulture.  Transcripts available here! .................................................................................................................................... Meet this term's team!  Producers: Olivia Young & Isabella Todini Audio Engineers: Laleh Bergman Hossain & Joe Bray Writers: Matilda Sidel and Gwilym Hubbard Outreach Manager: Lucy Rostant Graphic Designer: Sam Benatar
39:20
January 29, 2022
S7. Ep8. Switchboard: A Year in the Life
S7. Ep8. Switchboard: A Year in the Life
To close out the term, and the academic year, Izzy, and guest host (and Varsity head editor!) Liz Haigh sit down with the previous four hosts of Switchboard to reflect on the past year and their time as producers and hosts of the podcast. 
01:00:29
August 07, 2021
S7. Ep7. Exams: Exhaustion or Elation?
S7. Ep7. Exams: Exhaustion or Elation?
Izzy and her guest host Laleh Bergman Hossain chat about their experiences with online exams and hear about a variety of different exam conditions across the university, as well as some predictions and opinions about exams going forward. 
47:11
August 07, 2021
S7, Ep. 6: Navigating North and South
S7, Ep. 6: Navigating North and South
Izzy and her guest host Alex Oxford discuss the North/South divide and how this affects the Cambridge experience, exploring both the UK and Italy.
51:06
June 12, 2021
S7 Ep5. Pride, Power and Partying
S7 Ep5. Pride, Power and Partying
Listen to Izzy and her guest host Ted chat with LGBT+ identifying students about their experiences in Cambridge, as well as the work they and others are doing in various spaces around Cambridge to make the university and the city all the more accepting!
50:55
June 04, 2021
S7. Ep4. Investigating the Indian Covid Crisis
S7. Ep4. Investigating the Indian Covid Crisis
Izzy and her guest host Inika Murumbi take a look at the impact of the Indian Covid Crisis for Cambridge and its students, and how we have been doing what we can to support those suffering most in this time...
45:07
May 29, 2021
S7. Ep3 Seeking Spirituality
S7. Ep3 Seeking Spirituality
Izzy and her guest host Nora Redmond discuss spirituality and faith both inside and outside the Cambridge bubble. From the Christian Union to Mindfulness, the duo discuss the different experiences of students either finding religion at university or feeling more detached from it.
50:54
May 22, 2021
S7. Ep2. Matter On Your Mind
S7. Ep2. Matter On Your Mind
As it's Mental Health Awareness Week, Izzy and her guest host Libby Warr take stock of mental health in the last year. With interviews from students, researchers and Cambridge helplines, the episode reflects on the past and looks forward to the future. Special thanks to the interviewed guests: Alicia, Jessica, Natalie and Cat! All resources mentioned in the episode are linked below: University Counselling Service: https://www.counselling.cam.ac.uk/ Nightline: https://cambridge.nightline.ac.uk/ Samaritans: https://www.samaritans.org/ Hopeline: https://www.papyrus-uk.org/hopelineuk/ SANE: http://www.sane.org.uk/what_we_do/support/helpline/ Disability Resource Centre: https://www.disability.admin.cam.ac.uk/
49:07
May 14, 2021
S7. Ep1. Learning from Lent
S7. Ep1. Learning from Lent
In our first new episode of the series, new host Izzy and her guest host Theola discuss the highs and lows of this year's Lent term. We spoke to Ashlan, an Executive officer and soon-to-be president of Cambridge RAG, who spoke to us about organising virtual events and the incredible ways that the Cambridge community were helping others while also struggling themselves.  Next, we spoke to fellow fresher Colin about love, lockdown and living back with your family. He discussed his experiences maintaining a new relationship over the term, as well as the return to sharing a study space and his excitement to cook with friends once again... Finally, we round off by chatting to Zara, a Homerton student who was unfortunately denied the chance to return to Cambridge on mental health grounds, and how she found the term in a space she did not plan to be in... ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Send in a voice message for next week's episode: https://anchor.fm/switchboard/message
47:51
May 07, 2021
S6. Ep10. Reflections
S6. Ep10. Reflections
In our final episode of Season 6, we reflected on the last year and our hopes for the roadmap. We were grateful to have Alex, a member of the Switchboard Team, share an honest account of her recent experiences, which presented their own challenges independent of the impact of Covid-19. We hope this highlights that the past year has been difficult for all but non-Covid struggles are still equally present.  Eliza offered her own view on a perfectionism pandemic, highlighting how social isolation exacerbates our desperation to meet self-set-standards. She hopes this encourages students to connect with one another to remind us that the kindest we show to others should be shown to ourselves. Looking forward, Amber shared her apprehension for the 'roadmap' out of lockdown. She highlighted that the end of lockdown brings its own uncertainty: we need to appreciate that the end of the pandemic will present its own challenges. Finally, we spoke with Rebekah King, the writer of 'In A Cave, A Voice', the winner of the Pembroke Players Script Writing Competition. Not only did we hear about what promises to be an exciting, experimental play but we heard a charming mix of adaptation during the present and optimism for the lessons Covid might have taught theatre. Our music this week from New Music Cambridge is the demo 'Archangel' from Eliza Pepper. 
49:31
March 14, 2021
S6. Ep9. The Trodden Path
S6. Ep9. The Trodden Path
Inspired by our own quarter-life-crises, we searched out current Cambridge post-graduates. We wanted to ask them what they were doing when they were our age and how they chose their post-graduate studies. This episode has lots of helpful advice on how to think about post-graduate education from funding to life plans. Thanks to Ellie Bladon, Grayson Pallen and Charlotte Husnjak. Our music for this episode is a wonderful choral piece from Lucy Walker.
34:00
March 05, 2021
S6, Ep8. LGBTQ+ History Month
S6, Ep8. LGBTQ+ History Month
This week's episode celebrates LGBTQ+ History Month!  We chatted to Cam FM Queer Hour, a student talk-show covering topics across all corners of the LGBT+ community. They've produced episodes on lesbian motherhood in the 70s, the Lavender Scare and the Canadian fruit machine this month! We chatted with Elliot, Medwards Trans and Non-binary Officer, about his experiences.  Last but certainly not least, we were treated to a drag brunch by the cast of Just About Coping. You've got 24 hours to grab your tickets to their virtual drag show on the 27th of February. It promises to be a grand finale to LGBTQ+ History Month! Our music for this episode is Aidan Tulloch's Milk and Orange Juice from his album Somewhere Without Lights. Click here for some more resources on LGBTQ+ history and the celebration of this month.
58:58
February 26, 2021
S6. Ep7. Love In Lockdown
S6. Ep7. Love In Lockdown
Love in lockdown 
39:13
February 19, 2021
S6. Ep 6. Confessions, confessions...
S6. Ep 6. Confessions, confessions...
We must confess.. we've spent far too long scrolling through Facebook. But is this really such a waste of time? In this week's episode, Amber and Eliza explore the goods and ills of Cambridge confession pages and consider how their role has changed during Covid-19.  We chatted with the anonymous admins of Kindbridge, Worldbridge and ADCbridge (who were kept so through some hilarious voice modulation). We also heard some favourite Camfess-es and George Garrity's observation of these pages, based off of his Varsity article. Next week, we're looking for love. So if you want to share your love (or lack there of) for the people, culture and place that is Cambridge send it in on Anchor FM or our Facebook! Our music this week is Soul Boat by 2 Non Men, brought to you by New Music Cambridge. 
48:59
February 13, 2021
S6. Ep 5. Refreshers on Freshers
S6. Ep 5. Refreshers on Freshers
Here with a *fresh* new episode, Amber and Eliza take us back to March 2020 when Y13s across the country had their A Level exams cancelled by lockdown. Current offer holders might be able to empathise and older years will certainly be curious. We heard a range of experiences from current Cambridge freshers of what it was like to start uni with Covid restrictions in place. Overall, we were surprised to hear that the freshers had such a positive experience. It all came down to their mindset. They found creative ways to adapt (through creative online formats such as the Cambridge Freshers Instagram Page) and ways to accept a new reality (household bonding and the rule of 6). So, regardless of what year you're in, its certainly worth hearing the Fresher's wisdom.  Thanks to Thalia, Ella, Ellenoor, Kate, Elliot, Ollie and Avesta. To round up this week's show is 'Marxist Tendencies' by Running Standards.
39:36
February 05, 2021
S6. Ep 4. Creativity Out Of Crisis
S6. Ep 4. Creativity Out Of Crisis
In response to Episode 10 of series 4 ‘Creativity in Crisis’, Eliza and Amber examine whether the arts scene during lockdown is quite so bleak. They chat with theatre veterans Jonathan Powell and Jasper Cresdee Hyde about the ADC Online Season. Considering another prominent feature of the Cambridge art scene, Amber chatted with Johnny Cresswell, the editor of The Mays. This established literature and arts anthology has had to adapt and will be entirely virtual in 2021. Moving away from how the established arts scene has adapted, Eliza consulted Hannah Collins and Claire Lee Shenfield of Cambridge Creatives. This visual arts group emerged during the Spring 2020 lockdown but have persisted and adapted to the varying lockdowns since. Their conversation included reflections on the importance of artistic collaboration despite social distancing and the creation of content specifically for online formats. Finally, we heard from Alex Hadyn-Williams of Cambridge Arts. This is a brand-new Facebook group that attempts to bring all students and societies into one place. It makes pitching projects, finding collaborators and hosting events so much easier and will be fundamental to the arts scene for our upcoming online term. Many of these conversations included a frustration that Freshers have been excluded from the Cambridge Arts Scene due to its virtual nature. We hope that the information in today’s broadcast gives you an entire of where to look for more information or ways you can get involved. Next week we’re going to be focusing entirely on Freshers. We want to understand your experience in Michaelmas and your hopes for Lent. Send us a message on Instagram or Facebook or even leave us a voice message on Anchor FM!
52:13
January 29, 2021
S6. Ep3. Mind Your Health
S6. Ep3. Mind Your Health
As we enter the first week of a remote Lent term, Switchboard is helping you stay tuned to the needs of your mind and body during lockdown! This episode, Amber and Eliza are speaking to Kit Treadwell (representing Student Minds) and Lucy Patchett (one of Varsity’s sports editors) about the importance of feeling physically and mentally fit during this time! Then we’ll hear from two of Cambridge’s best organisations, RAG and Pink Week to discuss how their plans for the term will help you connect with our Cambridge community and every part of yourself even at a distance. With music from Colonel Spanky's Love Ensemble and Judah Daniels 
01:01:30
January 23, 2021
S6. Ep2. The Scoop On Toope
S6. Ep2. The Scoop On Toope
Amber and Eliza chat to V-C Toope on everything from Safety Net provision to the new Foundation Year to hear how Cambridge is preparing for another online term. The brilliant music for this episode was generously provided by Colonel Spanky’s Love Ensemble and a new track from Katrina Rose brought to you by the Cam FM show New Music Cambridge. Unlike your Pret Subscription, we don't expire after a month so tune in again next Friday! Oh and we'd love to hear you on our Facebook, Instagram or by email on switchboard@varsity.co.uk
32:60
January 15, 2021
S6. Ep1. Disparity Strikes Despair
S6. Ep1. Disparity Strikes Despair
Happy New Year to all and welcome to the podcast version of the Cambridge Pret Queue! A new (albeit virtual) term means a new season of Switchboard with a brand new team, here to introduce themselves and share their first episode. Amber and Eliza (this term’s hosts) open by discussing Michaelmas in all its odd glory, speaking to students from Medwards and Homerton about their rather different experiences regarding college communication and welfare throughout the term. Then, we heard an official statement from Rent Strike Cambridge and a participant’s perspective on the next few months and what they mean for strikers, giving information and advice to anyone seeking it! Discovering what’s been and what’s ahead, this episode is packed with personal insights and useful tips from Cambridge students, tune in to find out more!  The brilliant music for this episode was generously provided by Colonel Spanky’s Love Ensemble and a new track from Matt Haygarth brought to you by the Cam FM show New Music Cambridge. Unlike your Pret Subscription, we don't expire after a month so tune in again next Friday! Oh and we'd love to hear you on our Facebook, Instagram or by email on switchboard@varsity.co.uk
47:30
January 08, 2021
S5. Ep10. Creativity in Crisis
S5. Ep10. Creativity in Crisis
For Switchboard’s final episode of the season, hosts Isabel and Maddy explore the impact the coronavirus crisis has had on creative endeavours, asking those involved in Cambridge’s creative scene what it was like working in the arts during such challenging times. The hosts begin by speaking to Alex Haydn-Williams and Cate Horne from BAIT, a termly Cambridge art and culture zine. They explain the origins of the magazine and how the pandemic has impacted their work. (1:21). Next, Fred Duffen and Yvette Murphy from Selwyn College choir tell the hosts about how the choir continued during lockdown 1.0 and 2.0, outlining the safety measures that have been adopted and highlighting the increased engagement that their choral evensong services have had online. (10:35). The hosts turn to discuss innovative ideas that came about during lockdown in an effort to spread positivity. They speak to Tom McGachie, creator of Cambrovision - an online competition where students from Cambridge and beyond could vote for their favourite Eurovision entry. He outlines how this competition worked and the incredible response from students and university staff. (17:50). Continuing the discussion on the importance of music during a crisis, Maddy and Isabel speak to Amber De Ruyt, the creator and co-producer of ‘Ordinary Days’. This musical had its scheduled performances cut short due to the announcement of the second lockdown in November. Amber explains how the production operated under social distancing guidelines and the astonishing morale of the theatre community during this uncertain time. (22.50). Next, we check back in with Alex Haydn-Williams from BAIT about the pressures to be creative during unprecedented moments like the pandemic. He explains that while it was difficult to be productive over the first lockdown, having a small creative task, something he hopes BAIT provides for people, can be a useful form of escapism. (32:18). Finally, Prerona Prasad, curator of the Heong Gallery at Downing College, speaks to the hosts about how lockdown, and subsequently moving the galleries online, has redirected focus onto previously neglected areas, such as accessibility. She highlights the value of art in giving direction and purpose during such challenging times and emphasises her hope that when galleries are able to reopen again, they establish access as a key commitment and principle. (35:10). From all of the Switchboard season two team, we would like to thank you for joining us this term and wish you all a Happy Holiday!
42:35
November 27, 2020
S5. Ep9. Behind the headlines - Sexual Assault Procedure at Cambridge
S5. Ep9. Behind the headlines - Sexual Assault Procedure at Cambridge
Content note: This episode contains mentions of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse. Nine months after the investigation into the mishandling of sexual assault complaints by senior members of college staff at Trinity Hall was published, the hosts ask, has anything changed? (0:38). Switchboard talks to an anonymous student from Homerton college about the recent allegations of mishandled sexual misconduct and disciplinary complaints. (1:10). Journalists Ella Hill and Chris Cook from the media company Tortoise, who originally broke the story of Trinity Hall’s sexual assault allegations mishandling, discuss how they came to cover the story, and Cambridge’s inadequacy of dealing with complaints compared to other universities. (9:05). The hosts talk to Marina McCready and Antonia Harrison, the founders of the Cambridge Loud and Clear society, about what their society is doing to create a zero-tolerance policy against sexual misconduct in the university, and why college culture has led to mishandling of claims. (14:22). Student university counsellor Freddie Poser talks to Switchboard about his manifesto, which pushes for a centralized sexual harassment reporting procedure, why he believes it’s necessary, and the obstacles in the way of such change. (21:40). Finally, the hosts talk to Chris Down, investigator at Office of Student Content, Complaints and Appeals about the procedure of dealing with reports of sexual misconduct, and how the Coronavirus pandemic is preventing students coming forward. (31:31). Switchboard is Varsity’s flagship podcast. Episodes are released every Friday on all major podcasting apps via Anchor. Transcripts of all episodes are available via links on the respective podcast article, found at http://www.varsity.co.uk/.
42:46
November 20, 2020
S5. Ep8. Pushing for Divestment at Cambridge
S5. Ep8. Pushing for Divestment at Cambridge
In the wake of Cambridge University’s commitment to fully divest from fossil fuels by 2030 and the announcement earlier this week that Trinity Hall will divest from direct investments in fossil fuels within the next six months, Switchboard speaks to campaigners to investigate how they achieved this goal, and to outline the next steps. To start off the episode, we hear from Evan Wroe, a representative of the Cambridge Zero Carbon Society. He explains the aims of the society, as well as breaking down some of their demands and methods in the fight for divestment. (1:18). Next, Jesus College Green Officer and representative for Jesus College climate justice campaign, Zak Coleman, talks to the hosts about the college specific campaign. Zak speaks about the campaign’s methods, and the need for Jesus College to commit to full divestment. (4:47). Discussing the 2030 target, an anonymous spokesperson from Extinction Rebellion (XR) expresses their disappointment towards the University, arguing that full divestment needs to come sooner. They also consider the actions of XR youth in Cambridge, such as digging up Trinity College lawn, and the impacts that direct action has on the public perception of XR. (11:44). Continuing the conversation around XR, Evan Wroe speaks on the relationship between XR and Zero Carbon Society and shares his opinion of their action in Cambridge, as well as the general exclusivity of climate movement and the lack of commitment to anti-racism. (21:58). Zak Coleman shares his thoughts on the commonality of direct action in climate protests, specifically referencing the protest that members of Jesus College conducted on their Old Court. (23:54). Talk turns to strike action as hosts speak to Junayd and Luana who are members of Cambridge Youth Strike for Climate. They discuss their involvement in activism directed towards the Council, detailing its response and the ways in which the movement has adapted to limitations caused by the Covid pandemic. (27:04). Finally, the hosts ask some of the guests about their hopes for the future, and how more people can get involved in demanding action on the climate crisis. (33:05).
39:30
November 13, 2020
S5. Ep.7: Mental Health at Cambridge - What needs to change?
S5. Ep.7: Mental Health at Cambridge - What needs to change?
This week, hosts Issy Roberts and Maddy Fisher tackle student mental health at Cambridge, in a term where the start of the notoriously difficult week five coincides with the start of a month-long national lockdown. Switchboard talks to the BME campaign’s mental health and disabilities officer Elia Chitwa about their experiences of poor mental health at Cambridge, and how BME students are disproportionately impacted by mental health issues at Cambridge. (01:10). Former Pembroke student Luke Naylor-Perrott tells Varsity about the documentary he directed, Feeling Blue, which tackles the mental health crisis at Cambridge, and how he thinks the university can improve its provisions. (02:51). Maddy talks to natural sciences student Karris McGonigle about her petition to introduce a reading week to counter ‘Week Five Blues’, and if she thinks the discourse around week five creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. (15:36). Disability Resource Centre mentor, Julie Bailey, tells Switchboard why she thinks mentors should be available to all students, regardless of disability. (21:42). Finally, Switchboard talks to an anonymous Camfess admin about how the nature of submissions have changed since the beginning of the pandemic, with there being a significant increase in the number of posts by students struggling with loneliness, anxiety and isolation. (27:44).
38:07
November 06, 2020
S5. Ep6. Behind the Headlines - Homelessness in Cambridge
S5. Ep6. Behind the Headlines - Homelessness in Cambridge
In a series of interviews by hosts Maddy and Isabel, Switchboard shines a spotlight on the homeless experience, investigating council policy and speaking to students involved in volunteer outreach programs. This week’s episode begins with Angel, a homeless man who has been living on the streets in Cambridge. He talks openly with Isabel and Maddy about how he came to be a rough sleeper and his experience of homelessness in the city centre. (0:55) Next, Sam Crawley, a news correspondent for Varsity, talks us through some of the heart-breaking statistics regarding homelessness and rough sleeping in Cambridge. (4:01) James McWilliams, the manager of Cambridge council’s housing advice service, discusses the help they provide to those living on the streets, through their own letting agency. He emphasises the difficulty that arises in Cambridge in particular, due to the high proportion of privately rented properties. (5:35) Relaying his experience being housed in a hotel over lockdown, Angel talks about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected homeless people, and his opinion on the council’s response. (8:57) With Angel expressing his views on the lacklustre support from the local council, the hosts put these allegations to James. (13:55) Sam Crawley details the current rent scheme in place in Cambridge, following a £960,000 grant from the Ministry of Housing. He explains the logistics of the scheme, and the response from local homelessness charity Jimmy’s. (18:46) Cynthia Fernando, Vice President of Cambridge Homeless Outreach Program (CHOP) talks about the work of their society to help those in need. She also discusses how housing issues can affect students themselves, and outlines some of the issues COVID has presented for the homeless community. (20:48) Founder of The Tab’s ‘Faces of Cambridge’ series Shannon Rawlins, speaks about her goals for this project, which aims to spotlight voices of homeless people and challenge student misconceptions. (24:03) Finally, this week’s guests give their advice on how students can help respond to homelessness in Cambridge, including actions as little as donating to a food bank or acknowledging and speaking to those on the streets. (29:45) Switchboard is Varsity’s flagship podcast. Episodes are released every Friday on all major podcasting apps via Anchor. Transcripts of all episodes are available on the Varsity website under the respective episode article. The Cambridge community is now spread across the UK and around the world, but Switchboard is here to keep you connected. Every episode connects you to an eclectic array of voices and sounds, from Cambridge and beyond...
35:44
October 23, 2020
S5. Ep5. Behind the Headlines - The Movement to Decolonise Cambridge
S5. Ep5. Behind the Headlines - The Movement to Decolonise Cambridge
This week, Isabel and Maddy speak to students and staff at Cambridge involved in the campaign to decolonise the University, as well as talking to those pushing the government for national educational reform. The episode begins with Jazaal Babar, who is one of the Cambridge SU BME Campaign’s Education Officers. He discusses what the movement to decolonise Cambridge entails, and what Cambridge needs to do to challenge its colonial legacies. (01:27). Next, Isabel and Maddy speak to Jonathan Chan and Shameera Lin who worked with the Decolonise English Working Group and have just graduated from Cambridge. They tell us about why this group started and the institutional problems preventing decolonisation in the English Faculty. (3.58). Ali Meghji, Decolonise Sociology Chair and Lecturer in Social Inequalities, talks about the underlying colonial assumptions in sociology and how to re-think these as part of the curriculum. (11.05). Mythiri Sutharson talks about the growing fight to combat institutionalised racism in Cambridge Medical school, and the recent open letter that reignited this movement. (19.39). Talk then turns to how the movement to decolonise educational institutions extends past the university; Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson and Nell Bevan, founders of the ‘Impact of Omission’ survey, discuss the results of their survey assessing the diversity of the British school curriculum, and the challenges they have faced in campaigning for national educational reform. (27:29). Finally, the interviewees relay their hope for the future, describing their mix of optimism and apprehension in relation to the Decolonise Cambridge Movement. (33.55). Switchboard is Varsity’s flagship podcast. Episodes are released every Friday on all major podcasting apps via Anchor. Transcripts of all episodes are available via links on the respective podcast article, found at http://www.varsity.co.uk/. 
39:25
October 16, 2020
S5. Ep4. A Very Different Freshers' Week
S5. Ep4. A Very Different Freshers' Week
This week, Isabel and Maddy speak to Freshers’ reps about the difficulties of organising Fresher’s week during a pandemic, as well as speaking to some first years about the experience of starting at Cambridge amidst COVID-19. To start off the episode we hear from Suzi, who is the first-year representative at St Catherine’s. She talks through the issues caused by the fairly last-minute implementation of the rule of six, and how herself and the other Freshers’ rep have adapted to ensure the best possible experience for the incoming cohort. (1:15). Next, former CUSU President Edward Parker-Humphreys discusses student loneliness, an issue he championed during his time in office last year, and the new challenges which social distancing and self-isolation bring. He highlights that 75% of students said they felt lonely on a daily or weekly basis and suggests ways in which the University could help these students. (4:15). Dorothy, the development officer at Cambridge University Rugby Union Football Club (CURUFC) speaks about the guidelines that they are having to follow, as a high-contact sport, to ensure the highest level of safety. (9:25). The discussion shifts to the responsibility of course organisers and lecturers to help students not feel isolated in their studies. Edward also emphasises the need for colleges to create safe spaces for socialisation. (16:02). Suzi chats through some events that Freshers’ can take part in that could happen in person rather than online, emphasising the benefits that might emerge due to a lesser pressure for it to be ‘the best week ever.’ (19:55). Finally, Freshers Thea and Eve express their feelings about their first week in Cambridge, ranging from the activities, the ability to socialise, and whether they regret not deferring. (21:40). Switchboard is Varsity’s flagship podcast. Episodes are released every Friday on all major podcasting apps via Anchor. Transcripts for every episode can be found using links in the respective Varsity article. 
26:40
October 09, 2020
S5. Ep3. Behind the headlines - Cambridge and 'the refugee crisis'
S5. Ep3. Behind the headlines - Cambridge and 'the refugee crisis'
In this week’s episode, hosts Isabel and Maddy take a closer look at ‘the refugee crisis’, hearing the real life stories behind the headlines, and speaking to the organisations Cambridge students have been involved with that are trying to aid the situation. The hosts talk to Cambridge Alumnus Milan Vrućinić about his experience as a refugee, fleeing Bosnia and Herzegovina as a child. (01:09). Tigs Louis-Puttick, founder of Cambridge Must Act (a city charter of Europe Must act), details the work organisations are doing to urge European governments to evacuate the overcrowded and unsafe refugee camps on the Aegean Islands. (03:03). Newnham fresher Soraya outlines how she believes Cambridge University can become more accommodating to refugees. (08:03). Also the community officer for the Cambridge Refugee Scholarship, Tigs discusses how the scholarship is helping to overcome the educational barriers faced by refugees, and welcome them into the university.  (10:02). Tiara Sahaar Ataii and Alexa Netty tell the hosts about the clothing line Solidaritee, which raises money for the legal aid of refugees in Greece and campaigns to challenge perceptions of refugees. (20:03). Finally, Switchboard speaks to Cambridge Labour MP, Daniel Zeichner, about how the vitriolic rhetoric surrounding refugees has crept into the media and government in recent years, and what can be done to challenge the government on this stance. (26:55). For more information on how to get involved with Cambridge Must Act, check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/cambridgemustact/ To find out more about the Cambridge Refugee Scholarship Website, visit their website: https://camrefugeecampaign.org/ You can support Solidaritee’s work by purchasing a t-shirt on the website at: https://www.solidaritee.org.uk/shop/ 
41:16
October 02, 2020
S5. Ep2. What Lies Ahead For Cambridge Next Year?
S5. Ep2. What Lies Ahead For Cambridge Next Year?
Switchboard is back for episode two; this week, hosts Maddy and Isabel take a look at how the coronavirus pandemic will affect Cambridge student life in the coming year amid growing concerns about the opening of universities. Switchboard asks: What are the university’s guidelines? Are they compatible with government advice? And how does the pandemic affect different members of the student population? Switchboard is Varsity’s flagship podcast. Episodes are released every Friday on all major podcasting apps via Anchor. The Cambridge community is now spread across the UK and around the world, but Switchboard is here to keep you connected. Every episode connects you to an eclectic array of voices and sounds, from Cambridge and beyond...
39:06
September 18, 2020
S5. Ep1. The A Level Results Fiasco
S5. Ep1. The A Level Results Fiasco
Varsity’s Switchboard is back, spotlighting the issues directly affecting Cambridge students and bringing their voices to the forefront. In this episode, hosts Isabel and Maddy discuss the controversy surrounding A Level results day 2020. Talking to prospective undergraduates who felt cheated out of their places, Switchboard asks: what happened? Who’s to blame? How did it affect students? And how will it impact the upcoming academic year in Cambridge? We speak to Varsity's Ewan Hawkins about how the results algorithm was first developed and why it was destined to go wrong. (1:25). Gather thoughts from offer holders Sharleen, Laurie and Tom, who each relay their unique experiences as offer holders at St. John's, Sidney Sussex and Selwyn, respectively. (8:50). Before turning to the future, as Ewan discusses the new issues which have emerged as a result of the U-turn (23:55). Finally, Olly Schönle, Selwyn College JCR President, talks us through how colleges are responding to the A Level results fiasco, specifically how they are preparing for a larger cohort whilst ensuring compliance with COVID-19 regulations. He also touches on the complaints of unfair discrepancies between colleges (25:00). (Hosted by: Isabel Roberts and Maddy Fisher). (Special thanks to: Matilda Head, Cameron White, Matthew Cavallini and Matthew Jeffries). 
31:06
September 04, 2020
S4. Ep4. Life and death in the NHS, CUSU Class Act, and reclaiming Lesbian Visibility Week
S4. Ep4. Life and death in the NHS, CUSU Class Act, and reclaiming Lesbian Visibility Week
CNs: Mentions of coronavirus, death, intensive care units and marginalisation  In CoronaBoard, this week we discuss the impact that changes to the lockdown measures will have on working-class people and hear from an Intensive Care Unit Researcher (00:50). PhD student Hafsah Siddiqui offers an insight into how the pandemic has altered her experiences of sound in Cambridge (09:35). We speak to Kirstie, Class Act Officer at Fitz to find out more about CUSU's newest liberation campaign (14:10). For Varsity Out Loud, Siyang Wei reflects on the first ever Lesbian Visibility week, examining the politics of representation and corporate sponsorship, instead suggesting that liberation lies in pursuing structural and material change (23:35). *** The Cambridge community is now spread across the UK and around the world, but Switchboard is here to keep you connected. Every episode connects you to an eclectic array of voices and sounds, from Cambridge and beyond...
30:00
May 15, 2020
S4. Ep3. (Mis)calculated grades, the myth of “following the science”, and a quarantine haircut
S4. Ep3. (Mis)calculated grades, the myth of “following the science”, and a quarantine haircut
CNs: Mentions of coronavirus, grades, quarantine, marginalisation. This week, we discuss what the prospect of calculated grades means for marginalised students (00:50). Marshall Scholar Jack Chellman shares an original piece reflecting on a quarantine haircut (09:00). During CoronaBoard, we speak to Dr Jana Bacevic about the myth of “following the science” (14:10). Zoe Matt-Williams and Rebekah Rochester of The Mays give us an insight into what we can expect from this year’s edition of the anthology (21:20). We close out with The Plug, the segment keeping you in the loop with the hottest events happening across the Cambridge uni community over the next week (27:35). *** The Cambridge community is now spread across the UK and around the world, but Switchboard is here to keep you connected. Every episode connects you to an eclectic array of voices and sounds, from Cambridge and beyond... *** Thanks a lot to Patrick Fitzgerald for his track raindance, used during The Plug segment.
30:00
May 08, 2020
S4. Ep2. Cambridge colleges for COVID, compulsory clapping, and Virtual Ramadan
S4. Ep2. Cambridge colleges for COVID, compulsory clapping, and Virtual Ramadan
CNs: Mentions of coronavirus, rough sleeping, asylum seeking, and domestic violence. The Cambridge community is now spread across the UK and around the world, but Switchboard is here to keep you connected. Every episode connects you to an eclectic array of voices and sounds, from Cambridge and beyond... In Cambridge & Beyond this week, we discuss the passing of a motion at CUSU Council which encourages colleges to make their vacant accommodation available to 'those in need' during the coronavirus pandemic (00:50). During CoronaBoard, we hear from Cameron White and Dr Priya Gopal, both of whom have questioned the recent outpouring of charitable activities and support for the NHS (07:54). For Varsity Out Loud, Deputy Editor Olivia Emily reflects on how journaling has offered her a sense of perspective during the lockdown (17:16). Rahat Uddin, Publicity Officer of the Cambridge University Islamic Society shares how the society is observing Ramadan as a community, in spite of members being separated by distance (23:01). Closing out this episode is a new segment - The Plug - which aims to keep you in the loop with the hottest events happening across the Cambridge community over the next week (27:27). *** Thanks a lot to Patrick Fitzgerald for his track raindance, used during The Plug segment. *** This podcast is a highly collaborative one, and we’re always open to submissions for segments. Just message the Facebook page, join our Facebook group, or email switchboard@varsity.co.uk, if you want to get involved. Produced by Olivia Hylton-Pennant and Matt Evan Green.
30:00
May 01, 2020
S4. Ep1. Medics graduating early, a Labour Party scandal, and decolonising the English Tripos
S4. Ep1. Medics graduating early, a Labour Party scandal, and decolonising the English Tripos
CNs: Mentions of coronavirus, PTSD, racism, and disability. The Cambridge community is now spread across the UK and around the world, but Switchboard is back to keep you connected. Every episode connects you to an eclectic array of voices and sounds, from Cambridge and beyond... This week, Switchboard connects you with two Cambridge medics, part of the 5,000-strong cohort of medical students graduating early this year to support the NHS, as it responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chay Graham, Campaigns Officer for the Disabled Students’ Campaign, shares a story connecting some thrilling nightmares to the politics of disability. We also have a special report on Labour’s scandalous leaked internal party report in which we hear from CULC’s BAME Officer Jed Asemota, who's written a piece for Varsity about this scandal. Shameera Lin then reads aloud her powerful Love Letter to Cambridge for us, detailing her quest to decolonise the English tripos and the solidarity found along the way.  *** This podcast is a highly collaborative project and we’re always open to submissions for segments. Just join the Facebook group, message the Facebook page, or email switchboard@varsity.co.uk, if you want to get involved. Produced by Olivia Hylton-Pennant and Matt Evan Green. Please subscribe and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
30:00
April 24, 2020
S3. Ep6. Veganuary
S3. Ep6. Veganuary
Switchboard speaks to Galia Shomron, the Vice President of the Cambridge University Vegan Society; Dr Shailaja Fennell, one of the members of the Cambridge Forum for Sustainability and the Environment; and Jess Molyneux, a participant in Veganuary 2020. We discuss the activities of the Cambridge University Vegan Society, the sustainability and benefits of going vegan, the feasibility of vegan lifestyles in developing countries, and the issues surrounding the current state of global agriculture.
30:12
February 08, 2020
S3. Ep5. Climate Change and the NHS
S3. Ep5. Climate Change and the NHS
Switchboard speaks to Julia Simons, the ‘angry medical student’ who gained national media attention last yer after confronting Boris Johnson outside Addenbrooke's Hospital. We discuss what it's been like to gain a huge Twitter following and the relationship between the climate crisis and the health crisis.
12:36
January 31, 2020
S3. Ep4. May Ball Organisation
S3. Ep4. May Ball Organisation
Switchboard speaks to Charlotte Milbank, one of the Presidents of the May Ball Presidents Committee. We discuss how May Balls can be more sustainable, how balls can be more accessible, what to look out for if you want to work at balls, and some of the behind the scenes organisation that makes these nights so special. 
46:53
January 17, 2020
S3. Ep 3. Election Podcast
S3. Ep 3. Election Podcast
Switchboard speaks to the candidates from the Green Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives who are running to be the MP in the Cambridge constituency in the upcoming 2019 December election. In collaboration with the Selwyn Politics Society we talk to the candidates about key issues raised by students from climate change to Brexit, and also the challenges facing each party. 
01:14:03
December 08, 2019
S3. Ep2. Scoop
S3. Ep2. Scoop
Switchboard speaks to George Jeffreys and Tigs Louis-Puttick, founders of Scoop. Scoop is an alternative zero-waste food shop founded and run by Cambridge undergrads, who encourage others to purchase their food without the layers of plastic we typically find in supermarkets. We discuss consumerism, the effect of plastic on the planet and take a look at ways we can change our day-to-day habits to have a more positive environmental impact.
26:01
December 06, 2019
S3. Ep1. The Rising Tide
S3. Ep1. The Rising Tide
Switchboard speaks to historians Dr Lucy Delap and Dr Ben Griffin, curators of an exhibition exploring the history of women at Cambridge University. We discuss what motivated the exhibition and take a look back at how women have navigated the often hostile environment here in Cambridge. 
31:27
November 28, 2019
S2. Ep5. Calling In
S2. Ep5. Calling In
Switchboard speaks to the mental health service Nightline, which provides anonymous phone-in, text and online support to students in Cambridge and across the country. We discuss the mental health issues facing students as well as the role of volunteers who give their time all through the night to support their peers. 
11:54
March 20, 2019
S2. Ep4. Speaking Out
S2. Ep4. Speaking Out
Switchboard speaks to spoken word artist Ms. Eva Johnson who is also studying for a Masters in Law at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. She discussed her inspirations, artistic approach and the impact that spoken word can have at home and further afield. All recordings of Ms. Eva Johnson's work in this episode are included with express permission from the artist. 
16:41
February 22, 2019
S2. Ep3. Merry Bridgemas
S2. Ep3. Merry Bridgemas
Switchboard brings you some festive cheer as we take a look at how Cambridge students are both celebrating and taking action during 'Bridgemas' - an early Christmas celebration in November at the end of Michaelmas term. Switchboard goes along to the Belgian Society's Wafflemas event, a Channukah party at Jesus College, interviews the president of the Cambridge Homeless Outreach Programme, and attends a concert by the King's Men.
19:50
December 05, 2018
S2. Ep2. Changing Climate
S2. Ep2. Changing Climate
Our climate is changing fast, and to understand some of the implications, Switchboard speaks with a glaciologist with 40 years experience at the North and South Poles, a researcher who lived with an Inuit tribe, and an economist who pioneered the appreciation of the environment in the discipline.
27:37
November 09, 2018
S2 Ep1. Maturing with Age
S2 Ep1. Maturing with Age
An ex-heroin addict and prisoner, a private investigator, and a published author of alternative history share their experiences before arriving to study in Cambridge in our episode on mature students.
34:17
October 25, 2018
S1. Ep8. Celebrating Success
S1. Ep8. Celebrating Success
With exams over, Switchboard finds out more about how Cambridge celebrates success at the world-famous May Balls. We interview committee members from Trinity, St. John's, Clare and Wolfson to get some behind-the-scenes knowledge and unusual stories about attempted break-ins, logistical challenges and the pressure to deliver a night to remember.
27:45
August 09, 2018
S1. Ep7. Testing Times
S1. Ep7. Testing Times
Switchboard explores some of the mythologies and bizarre traditions surrounding Cambridge examinations. We speak to two Senior Wranglers - the position awarded to the person with the highest score in the Cambridge maths tripos exams - about their thoughts on the position, its historical prestige, its modern relevance, and the impact of high-pressure exams on mental health. We also discover the position of the wooden spoon - the prize awarded to the student with the lowest mark.
17:28
August 09, 2018
S1. Ep6. Striking Action
S1. Ep6. Striking Action
Switchboard reflects on the UCU strike action in Lent 2018 which had wide ranging effects across Cambridge from protests to cancelled lectures. We speak to Jana Bacevic on the impact of social media on the strike and social movements in general, Madeleine Wakeman on how the strikes affected disabled students and how minority concerns can be marginalised in student movements. Rosie Bradbury of Varsity tells us about the challenges in covering the strikes in student media, and the importance of understanding different perspectives.
24:15
August 09, 2018
S1. Ep5. Keeping Faith
S1. Ep5. Keeping Faith
Switchboard speaks to the King's College chaplain about the role of Christianity in pastoral care and how the values of faith help with modern issues. We also visit Cambridge's Baha'i community, the Downing College choir and speak to a third year medic from Luton who has converted to Islam.
28:30
August 09, 2018
S1. Ep4. Collecting Past and Present
S1. Ep4. Collecting Past and Present
Switchboard explores the different kinds of collections in Cambridge. We visit an exhibit on the suffragettes in the University Library, speak to two recycling campaigners making waste collection more environmentally friendly, discover more about the University Herbarium, and go on a tour of the University Library - one of Cambridge's most famous buildings.
28:13
August 09, 2018
S1. Ep3. Facing Conflict
S1. Ep3. Facing Conflict
This week we hear from a porter who spent 13 years as a paratrooper in the British Army, four international students who have served in their countries’ armies, and a daring student who is defying his father by boxing for the University.
29:27
July 26, 2018
S1. Ep2. Living with Languages
S1. Ep2. Living with Languages
In this episode Switchboard speaks to a young Welsh poet, two gifted polyglots, and a group of students who are learning to speak Latin.
29:60
July 26, 2018
S1. Ep1. Leaving Home
S1. Ep1. Leaving Home
In Switchboard's first episode we speak to the son of a Kurdish refugee now studying at Cambridge, a student who got married on her year abroad in Russia, and the King's College professor who hosts a Syrian refugee in his home. We speak to Faraj, who left Aleppo and now lives in Cambridge, live in the studio.
26:42
July 12, 2018