Trinity Law student Wanipa Ndhlovu hopes a new set of videos presented by Cambridge alumna Courtney Daniella will encourage more BAME students to apply to Cambridge.
In the first video released this week – ‘Courtney busts myths – the YouTube vlogger and entrepreneur tackles common misperceptions about Cambridge, some which she admits she believed were true before she came to study Human Social and Political Sciences at Robinson College four years ago.
Before I actually got to Cambridge…I wasn’t going to go because I was giving in to every single voice in my head that was telling me I couldn’t, every kind of preconceived notion I had about Cambridge. I used to tell myself every day that Cambridge wasn’t for a person like me partly because I’d never known anyone who’d gone there, and I’d never seen a black Cambridge student, ever.
Now I want to say to anyone who believes that to stop putting yourself and Cambridge in a box and start thinking ‘I have so much that I could bring to this university – it would be great for them to have me.’
This wry look at Cambridge is part of a new social media campaign, Get In Cambridge, featuring 26 films encouraging students from under-represented backgrounds to apply.
Wanipa, who is BME Officer of Trinity College Students’ Union and President of the University African Caribbean Society, was involved in the filmmaking. She said:
Amazing projects like this are so important in dispelling myths and are a crucial source of representation. Courtney’s videos on YouTube showed me that there were people like me at Cambridge and genuinely inspired me to apply. In the same way, I hope that even one black student sees all our faces and knows that they have a right to belong here.
Wanipa worked on the recent ‘Black Cantabs: History Makers’ at Trinity, which featured some of the College’s current black students alongside well-known Cambridge alumni, including Thandie Newton, Diane Abbott and Sharon White, as well as rare archival images of students from the past.
Cambridge announced progress this week on widening access to the University with the proportion of BME students at a record high of 23.5%. However, 2.5% of the undergraduate population in this year’s intake were black compared to 3.4% of the UK population.
Wanipa collaborates with Trinity’s Schools Liaison Officers and Admissions Tutor, Dr Glen Rangwala, on access work. Growing up in York, Wanipa said she had always been in a minority and knew what it was like ‘to try to fit into spaces where there aren’t many people who look like you.’
My mere presence here is a testimony to the fact that BME people do belong in spaces like Cambridge! Now I want to make sure that other people are aware of that and that our presence here is not just acknowledged but cherished and celebrated.