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By Ben Goldstein
Students from Merton have defied claims that ‘fun goes to die’ at their college by creating a naked calendar for charity.
The calendar for 2013 was created in Trinity Term of last year as a fundraising initiative for the JCR’s nominated charities. It features photographs of fully nude students with various props placed in tactical positions.
Each month of the calendar is given over to a different group or society from the college, such as the Politics Society, the Law Society, the JCR Exec and the Women’s Cricket Team.
Jonny Carver, a second-year Historian at Merton, said: “Initially, the prospect of being naked in college was a bit daunting, and then to make things worse it was a freezing cold early morning and raining hard! Ultimately though it was a good laugh and I was happy to do it knowing that lots of other people in college were doing it as well and it was for charity!”
He added: “Although it may come at the expense of my modesty, I would urge people to buy a copy as it’s for a good cause! Combined with the fall in the Norrington Table, hopefully a calendar full of sexy naked Mertonians will help change the way people think about Merton!”
Mike Geeson, a second-year Chemist who also appeared in the calendar, said: “Like Jonny I was a bit worried about the cold outdoors, and that people might judge my fast waning manhood!
“Obviously, the naked calendar experience wouldn’t be complete without one of the guys running off with another’s clothes once the photo had been snapped. Seeing the unfortunate victim chase around our college, naked as the day he was born, was probably the highlight.”
Jezah Khamisa, a first-year Historian, echoed this by claiming: “The calendar clearly defies the idea that fun goes to die at Merton.”
It was not only the students who stripped for charity. The Merton JCR mascot, “Monkey”, also appears in all thirteen of the photos (including the front cover).
He was originally scheduled to appear clothed, but the JCR Exec insisted that, in the interests of fairness, his t-shirt was removed.
Laura Simmons, a third-year Modern Languages student who was the designated photographer for calendar, said: “It was fun to shoot – I had never done naked photos with more than one person in them before and it was a great experience, if a little daunting, especially when it came to the male drinking societies.”
She added: “We had a few incidents with amused onlookers – one visiting chaplain to Merton was slightly surprised at seeing six very lightly clad girls in Merton gardens at 8am.
“We tried to choose early morning time slots to avoid this, and people were only ever naked for about five minutes, as we set the shots up with them clothed beforehand.”
But Simmons reassured any faint-hearted customers that the calendar would be in good taste. “All the photos are in black and white,” she explained, and “all necessary parts are well hidden. I held an absolute “no pubes” approach – at least on show.”
Ayesha Jhunjhunwala, a PPE Finalist at Merton, was enthusiastic about the project: “A large proportion of college ended up in the calendar. I think the idea was just to have a bit of fun.”
She added: “I don’t really think there was any agenda behind it. It was just a way to raise money. I don’t think anyone felt pressurised. I know a lot of people who opted out of it. It was something that was taken lightly.”
The money raised will be split between the JCR’s four chosen charities: Jacari, which helps local children from ethnic minorities learn to read and write English, the Wolvercote Young People’s Club, AMEND, which helps those affected by multiple endocrine neoplasia and the Oxford Wednesday Soup Kitchen for the homeless.
PHOTO/ Laura Simmons