Magnificent moondance at UWC Atlantic College
Tom Partridge, Head of Atlantic Outdoors at UWC Atlantic College, discusses how the college plans to embrace its new sports facilities
Our college of nations seeks to challenge students to push themselves and each other to realise and embrace new ways of thinking and learning. This occurs outside of the classroom as much as it does inside. The Moondance Sports Hall presents UWC Atlantic College’s international community with an array of new opportunities to improve their health, fitness and wellbeing.
Since its founding in the early 1960s, the college has recognised the importance of providing students with opportunities to challenge and develop themselves through various physical activities. Fostering the ability for students to take authentic responsibility to make their own decisions and drive their own development, is a continuation of the vision our college’s founder, Kurt Hahn, started over 50 years ago.
Our campus on the ruggedly picturesque Bristol Channel coastline already allows our students the chance to test their abilities as they surf, sail, and explore our breathtaking environment. That said, the somewhat temperamental Welsh climate has sometimes hindered more traditional school sporting activities.
We are incredibly grateful the Moondance Foundation for their support to provide a facility that will allow our students, who join us from across the world, even greater options to develop and realise their potential, whatever the weather.
The sports hall provides students with a multi-purpose gym and facilitates for activities such as basketball, badminton, indoor hockey, handball and dance. However, we believe the benefits of these facilities extend beyond equipment – they will provide generations of students with the chance to lead their own wellbeing and physical development.
As a college which each year draws together around 350 students, who represent over 90 nationalities and cultures, this space provides a new hub for our community to come together to learn from each other. From learning Indian dance to Canadian floorball, our students have a new space in which they can exchange elements of their personal heritages, and teach themselves to live and work with those with differing outlooks and opinions.
For this reason, the Moondance Sports Hall has become a new means for UWC Atlantic College to encourage values of leadership which we hope they then put into action in transformative leadership roles back in their own community or the wider world.
When students are faced with meeting the rigorous academic standards required for the International Baccalaureate, the benefits of providing near round-the-clock access to exercise and trained staff is undeniable.
This is a benefit we are keen to share with our neighbouring village communities, and in doing so we will provide our students with yet more opportunities to develop their understanding of the country that is their home for the next two years.
The sport hall’s construction was part funded by support from the Moondance Foundation, a charity supporting children, education, issues of poverty, health, the arts and humanitarian projects. Diane Briere de l’Isle, who established the Moondance Foundation with her husband, Henry Engelhardt, commented, “Seeing this magnificent facility is a dream come true for me and my family. We have been involved with UWC Atlantic College for many years, starting when our first son joined the College as a student in 2004. He was later followed by his siblings. Ensuring access to sport and promoting health and wellbeing to young people is essential for their development. We know from experience that UWC Atlantic College is a special place which centres on taking students out of their comfort zone to challenge them in so many ways that open them to the world. It is an enriching experience, which fills the minds and souls of the students who come here.”