Profile: Pip Cull
Pip Cull studied at Lady Margaret Hall before coming to Univ to work as the Development Office Assistant and he is now the Donor Relations Officer. In this profile, he discusses his lack of hobbies and pretending to be an important London businessman!
How did you come to Univ?
Well, I studied at LMH (up in North Oxford), where I was a long-time loiterer around the Development Office. When I graduated, I was very lucky that there was a job going at Univ’s Development Office, which seemed right up my street. Nearly a year and a half later, and I am still here. I started off as Development Office Assistant, and was then lucky enough to get the job of Donor Relations Officer when it came up.
What does being Donor Relations Officer involve?
This is a difficult question, as the role was created last year, so a lot of what I do at the moment is really building the foundations for the future. At its heart, my job focuses on saying thank you to the many wonderful Old Members and friends who support the College, as well as doing what I can to show off the great impact their support has at Univ. I am currently concentrating on planning Univ’s first Donor Day (virtually) — an event for us to showcase the College and what we are able to do with donations, and, of course, to say thank you.
How has the pandemic changed your work life?
I think, like most people, the biggest change has been going from a 5-day week in College, to being at home full-time. I was lucky enough that, when things were looking better, I went into College here and there (mainly for the lunches!), but I am now back in my bedroom. There are some members of my team that I haven’t seen in almost a year now, so I think we are all looking forward to getting back to the office eventually, just to see each other in the flesh.
Another one of the hardest things, which I am sure most people have felt, is finding that work-life balance. I heard someone quip that “working from home is really more like living at work”, which I think is very true, and so it’s really important to find a way to switch off from work-mode when it gets to 5pm.
Have you faced any challenges in your life that you are happy to share here?
I am very lucky that I grew up in the time that I did (the noughties). However, when I was at secondary school we lived out in the Cotswolds, and being the only gay kid at school at that time was quite difficult. Coyly carving myself out an identity while making sure that my sexuality was “palatable” to those around me was extremely hard, and something that I think really continued up until very recently, when I realised that it is never one’s job to be palatable.
Do you have any favourite moments from your time at Univ?
It is quite hard to pinpoint one. I was at first tempted to say: “College lunch”, but that seemed a bit banal. One very exciting event I was lucky enough to help out with was Univ’s London Dinner at the House of Lords last year – it must have been just before lockdown. I was wearing a shirt and tie and pretending to be an important London businessman out and about in the City. Then the dinner itself: lashings of food, endless wine, and incredible company (thanks Marlies).
What do you do for fun?
A dreaded question, because it makes me realise that I have no hobbies! Me and my flatmates got really into boardgames over Christmas, so now that has become an almost-daily occurrence. I try to run now and then, but my free time is mostly filled with RuPaul’s Drag Race. I also tune in on the regular to listen to Somethin’ Rhymes with Purple, a linguistics and etymology podcast with Susie Dent and Giles Brandreth.
Describe Univ in three words.
Older. Than. Merton.
Published: 18 January 2021