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A picture of 3 ducks by a pond

Ducks appear to have taken up full time residence around South College Pond. Whether they are attracted by Oswald's avian presence or simply by the outstanding architecture I know not. It may simply be that the College's reduced population makes it a quieter place to live. No matter, they are most welcome, and I greet them with a smile every time I walk into College in the morning.

Beyond the College, vaccination of the UK's most vulnerable continued, raising at least the distant prospect that lockdown may be partially relaxed. Sadly, that prospect appears remote at present. Beyond these shores it was good to see Joe Biden and Kamala Harris sworn in as America's President and Vice President without any of the street violence many in the USA feared. Blessedly, few accepted the outgoing President's invitation to attend his ill-judged farewell ceremony, though I am sure he imagined millions were present. Indeed, it was almost certainly the biggest farewell party ever.

In South the democratic process that must elect our new JCR Executive has opened. These elections are enormously important. Our core principals of freedom, equality and global citizenship cannot thrive without active democratic representation. Among the greatest privileges of being a College Principal is the opportunity to work with elected student representatives. So, please engage with the process. Read the candidates' manifestos carefully and use your vote wisely.  Whether you are resident in College or at home in UK or the wider world, your mandate is precious. South has benefited from superb student leadership this year. We will need it as much, if not more, in 2021/22.

As we hope and plan for a much better Easter Term, including our first ever College Day and Summer Ball, it falls to all of us to remain vigilant. The freedom and fun we all want and deserve can only come about if we keep safe and well. Please take care and, if you are in residence, please keep testing. The University's testing centres are open, and everyone should be testing at least once every week. If you cannot get to a testing centre, note that we have tests available here in college. An LFT kit will always be available to any Southie who needs one!

Finally, remember that lockdown is tough for everyone. This is a time for kindness and consideration. I know generosity of spirit comes naturally to Southies, and I am doubly grateful to see so much of it on display.