A little-known fact: the LSESU Beekeeping Society is open not just to students but also members of staff! Dr Delphine Bénézet recently became the first staff member of our Society, to add to the 90-odd student members we already have. In this interview she talks about the best and worst parts of her job, her love of cinema, and the magical experience of being amongst the bees on the LSE rooftop.
Would you tell us a little bit about your role at LSE?
I have been working in the Academic Partnerships division for two years. We coordinate and support a range of activities between the LSE and a number of institutional partners across the globe. These include summer school programmes in Beijing and Cape Town, double degrees, PhD mobility exchanges and collaborative research activities.
What are the best (and worst) parts of your job?
Until recently my job focused on the two summer programmes we have in South Africa and China, so one of the highlights of 2016 for me was to go to Cape Town last July. It was wonderful to see all our hard work come to fruition on site, and to hear about the opportunities the programme opened to our participants afterwards. The worst part of my job? That’s a hard question, the most frustrating part is certainly to see so many smart and able applicants who cannot find any scholarship to finance their project. This is when I wish I had a magic wand, or bottomless pockets!
How did you find out about LSE Bees, and why did you decide to sign up?
When I joined the London School of Economics, I looked at the SU website and remember being amazed at the number and diversity of societies offered! The beekeeping society immediately struck a chord mainly for two reasons. The first is that my grandfather (who owned a farm) had a number of hives but had never taken me along (in his defense he passed when I was quite young, had 20 other grandchildren, and lived 800km away), and the second is that I have always been interested in topics relating to sustainability and ecology.
And so far, has your (brief) experience with LSE Bees lived up to your expectations?
I have only visited the hive once since I joined LSE Bees but so far it’s been great! I did not have much hope when we visited the hives because it was so early in the year, but surprisingly we got to see bees flying around. It was a beautiful day and I felt really lucky to be able to escape from my desk and see these incredible creatures at work.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I am an avid reader, a keen cook, and a bit of cinephile (I have written a book about the French filmaker Agnès Varda). So a perfect weekend would include a family hike, a meal with friends and a good movie at the BFI, ICA, or the Brixton Ritzy.
It’s great to have a staff member in a “student” society! Would you recommend LSE Bees to other members of staff, and do you have any suggestions for how we can get more staff members involved?
Funny that you mention this, I have already been preaching how special this society and its activities are to my colleagues! While my reasons to join the society are quite personal, I believe that nothing beats learning something different and meeting new people. Plus standing on the roof of Connaught House and watching a hive in full swing is both a magic and humbling experience! I know that some departments and services occasionally organise fundraising bake offs, how about one taking place across the school with one mandatory ingredient: honey?