Virtual Pembroke

Virtual Ents by Akshar Abhyankar

Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, Houseparty. Whichever app you're using, I'm sure you’re used to the drill now, repeatedly telling relatives to unmute themselves or explaining the concept of screen sharing to your parents. Thankfully, in our attempts to keep the ents scene active during lockdown, technology has been on our side, but it's been a challenge switching from an in-person social scene to a virtual community.

However, the challenge has been incredibly fun! Surprisingly, we've steered clear of what now seems to be the most popular way of socialising - a virtual pub quiz - and we've successfully run Netflix Party nights, a Pembroke MasterChef competition and a 'The Great Pembroke Bake Off' competition too. We even held a virtual pub crawl on Zoom, where everyone taking part changed their zoom background every 45 minutes to virtually recreate the idea of 'moving' to a new pub!

Yoga & Zumba by Steph Jat

BBC Workplace acknowledged how stressful a virtual term can be - they glamorously compared it to walking into a bar for a drink with your best mate, your significant other, your parents, your neighbours, your dog AND your professors... the inability to physically separate our space is challenging. Pembroke Welfare organised yoga and Zumba streaming for our students over the term and Summer in the hopes of encouraging students to take time off and de-stress!

Lockdown Library by Maya McFarlane

The JPC decided to launch a virtual ‘lockdown library’ to help motivate and support students studying from home. We were all missing the atmosphere of the college library and daily zoom calls were a great way to restore this communal feel. From the funky library backgrounds, to seeing everyone jump out of their skin when I suddenly turned on my mic to say “5 more minutes!”, it really was wonderful. It may be a while before libraries are back to normal, but I think little things like this can make us feel a lot less alone.

Virtual Sing-a-Long by Joe Beadle

It has brought a smile to my face and to my heart to host a livestream on Saturday evenings on the Pembroke Chapel Choir Facebook page. Viewers commented their requests for songs from Disney films or Broadway musicals, and I played them on the piano for them to sing along. In normal term, following Wednesday compline services, members of the choir would often stay around the piano into the early hours of the morning, singing our favourite songs! Seeing people’s comments and requests come in as I played brought me a sense of togetherness, even while apart. I am very grateful for and warmed by the thousands of views each week, and I look forward to the day when we can get back around the piano in Pembroke again and enjoy the music in person!

The Boatclub by Ellen Sparshott

As we all know, many team sports and social events were cancelled as a result of lockdown. Yet, despite all of these setbacks, Pembroke College Boat Club found many virtual ways to continue training and keep morale high. In June, PCBC, along with other college boat clubs, took part in Virtual Bumps in aid of East Anglia Children’s Hospices (EACH). We ran 800m on each day of Bumps (24th-27th June) and achieved fantastic results – notably W1 and M1 bumping up 3 places. Over the summer, our current Men’s and Women’s captains (Toby and Abby) created an incredible summer training competition. The whole boat club was divided into mixed teams, earning points for the types and durations of training they did. Additionally, CircSoc became a huge part of boat club training – all taking place over zoom! Finally, our Coxing Rep, Amy, has organised informative coxing analysis sessions, where our coxes and rowers alike learn about different coxing styles, calls and river safety. Honorary mentions must go to Dan Shailer and Igor Sterner. Dan swam the English Channel in 15 hours and 15 minutes, raising an incredible £10,000 for the Marine Conservation Society! Igor cycled 500km in August in aid of Maggie’s Centres, raising over £500! We are currently in preseason training; are all very glad to be back on the Cam and are excited to see what Michaelmas term holds for the boat club.