On Monday 27 January LSE’s Widening Participation (WP) Programme was celebrated with a unique event in the Court Room at the Bank of England. Hosted by the Bank of England and LSE, in collaboration with Tim Frost (BSc Government 1987), LSE Governor and Non-Executive Director of the Bank of England, we were joined by current and former Widening Participation beneficiaries, the School’s leadership, LSE alumni from the Bank and other friends of the School.
The aim of the event was to not only celebrate the continued success of Widening Participation and to thank the current donors of the Programme, but to also reinforce LSE’s commitment to WP, offering it a greater platform to amplify its voice both within the School and externally. It also gave LSE Advancement the chance to work with Sam Paxton, Widening Participation and Community Engagement Manager, and her team, learning in greater detail about all the work they do throughout the course of an academic year.
Following Tim Frost’s introduction to the event, Andrew Bailey, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, welcomed everyone on behalf of the Bank, outlining the connection between the Bank of England, LSE and Widening Participation. LSE Director, Professor Craig Calhoun, then spoke about the importance of WP at LSE and the School’s obligation to continue raising the aspirations of bright pupils aiming for a university education, regardless of their socio-economic background.
In addition two exceptional students spoke about their experiences of WP and the impact it has had on their future in education. Former WP student and LSE graduate, Esther Ajose, detailed her journey from LSE’s Pathways to Law to student mentor, via LSE Choice and a BSc in the Department of Anthropology. Current LSE Choice WP student, Jason Balaquidan, spoke about his experiences and how they had positively shaped his path into higher education and broadened his horizons.
Speaking of her involvement as a student mentor, Esther said: “It is always inspiring to see the desire for success among students at the end of the WP Programmes. Through committed teams of staff and student ambassadors, the programme provides a lens through which young students are able to see that coming to a prestigious higher education institution like LSE is achievable.”
WP Beneficiaries were then able to meet donors of the Programme, LSE Alumni and friends of the School to discuss their experiences further. LSE Advancement is now following up on conversations that emerged following the event in the hope of increasing interest in philanthropically supporting the Programme.