A COLLEGE was out in force at a prestigious conference.

Current and former Queen Mary’s College (QMC) students, staff, and governors had a big presence at the prestigious McWhirter Conference in Oxford held on March 13 and 14 with two student delegates, the conference chair, a guest speaker, and a seminar group leader all hailing from the Basingstoke college.

The conference is organised by the McWhirter Foundation, a charitable foundation which aims to encourage young people to engage in debate on topical issues.

Together with over 80 counterparts from across the country, QMC students Becca Holland and Oliver Barnes explored whether or not economic wealth really creates social wellbeing and happiness.

About the conference, Becca said: [It was a] great opportunity to experience life inside an Oxford college – staying overnight, taking part in a formal dinner, and experiencing lectures and discussions. It helped me realise that I could apply to Oxbridge.”

Meanwhile, the national conference was chaired by QMC’s own head of history, philosophy and politics, Tom Featherstone, former QMC chair of governors Saffron Cordery gave a lecture on the NHS’s role in promoting social wellbeing and the challenges the NHS faces, and to complete the QMC quintet, former principal Stephen Sheedy led a seminar group exploring the issues thoughtfully and in-depth.

Mr Featherstone said: “It is a great pleasure to chair the McWhirter conferences this year in Oxford and last year in Cambridge. At both events I have been so proud of the impressive involvement and contributions of QMC students. I am delighted by the strength of QMC’s association with this remarkable thought-provoking conference.”

The head of department also plans to create a similar annual conference at QMC itself, so that all history, philosophy and politics students can take part.

The national conference has previously been addressed by Shami Chakrabarti, Sir Richard Dearlove and Sir Roger Bannister, among others.

QMC principal Ali Foss said “we are proud of QMC’s ongoing involvement with the McWhirter conferences. They provide our young people with an exceptional insight into academia.”