JCR Meeting Minutes 28/1/18

Minutes for the First JCR meeting of Epiphany Term 2018

Sunday 28th January, 7pm, Dining Hall


Apologies are to be submitted to Owen, JCR Chair, at st-marys.chair@durham.ac.uk before 12 noon on the day of the meeting.


  1. The minutes of the last meeting

These are available on the JCR Website.


  1. Matters Arising

There are no matters arising.


  1. JCR Announcements


Henry Meech:

Valentine Formal signup will be done in pairs so only one of you needs to do the signup.


James Taylor:

The JCR sits on a large amount of money and we are looking for ways and options to put it into good use so if you have any suggestions, either email or write it and submit it into the suggestion box.

Owen MacCuish:

He thanks us for using the new JCR Chair email and not ruining his life by using his personal one, laughs all around.

  1. Questions of Officers

No questions were submitted.

Questions should be submitted before 12 noon on the day of the meeting.


  1. Motions


  1. Motion to amend Bar Steward election procedure (Appendix A)

Motion will have to be decided by an online vote.

  1. Motion to include February Open Day in Head Post-Offer Visit Day Representative role description (Appendix B)

Motion was passed.

  • Motion to add Bar Steward and Tech Officer to Post-Offer Visit Day Team (Appendix C)

Motion will have to be decided by an online vote.


  1. Motion to ratify St. Mary’s College Mario Kart Society (SMCMKS) (Appendix D)

Motion was fortunately passed. (but who were the people that voted against?)


You can find the details of each motion at the end of the minutes.


  1. Elections, Hustings and Interviews


  1. Head Male WAM Officer


Charlie Gerlack

Proposed by: Ellie Ng

Seconded by: Maddy Cater


Hi guys, my name is Charlie, and I would like to be your Head Male WAM Officer. Having been your Assistant this year, I feel that I am a good candidate for this role. I am aware of the responsibilities associated with this position, and have a good relationship the college officers. Having worked with Fran (your Female Assistant WAM Officer) this year, we have established a great working dynamic that will be a great asset next year.

From my weekly drop ins and Nightline training I feel as though I have the necessary experience and skillset to best advise anybody that has an issues or quieries.

This year, in organising the Alcohol and Drugs Awareness Campaign, I formed a working relationship with some members of the Student Experience and Wellbeing Team which will be useful to improve our campaigns for next year to make sure they are more well and widely received.

This year has been a great year for WAM, having our largest ever committee and I would love to be able to improve upon this next year. One issue that I would like to address is to work more closely with other representitatives. With improved communication and cohesion between WAM and the LGBT rep or Disabilieties Rep for example, it would help to improve the accessiblity of WAM. To that end it would be great if next year we could encoporate these officers by having them Nightline trained so they were able to join our drop in sessions so that more specific issues could be better addressed.

Having been involved in the consent workshops during freshers week, which in our eyes were a great success, I would like to investigate the possibiity of introducing more workshops throughout the year. As the consent workshops were so informative, I feel as though they would be a great way to educate people with a hands on approach. These could tie into our campaigns that we run, so, for example during the Consent Campaign, I think it would be prudent to introduce an Active Bystander workshop for people to attend.

Also, within WAM, I feel as though there should be more frequent committee meetings to ensure that everyone remains engaged with WAM and feels part of the team. Thus, I would like to introduce a calender to improve the organisation and make people more aware of upcoming events. I believe this will have a positive effect on the reach and presence of WAM in college and improve participation in our campaigns.


  1. JCR President


Sam Martin

Proposed by: Jack Leyland

Seconded by: Kate Arkwright


Hi there everyone! My name is Sam Martin, I’m a third year here at Mary’s studying Politics and IR and I would love to be your next JCR President. When I arrived here at St Mary’s two and a half years ago I simply had no idea that this place would become so special to me. I can proudly call this wonderful college the most welcoming and friendly community in Durham and I feel so lucky to be able to call Mary’s my home. I’m running for this position because I want to be able to give back to the college that has given me so much and try and spread the fantastic values that underpin this community to as many people as possible.


I feel that I would be good for the role of JCR President because I have experience in many aspects of college life. I have worked as part of the College Exec for two years, organising events such as Induction Week, and College Festival of Sport with the aim of showcasing Mary’s in all its glory and making sure that students here have the best time possible. I’m also an organised person who loves nothing better than a good old list and a plan. Organisation is a crucial part of the job as one needs to represent the college at a university level, organise all the events, clubs and societies we have here at Mary’s and make sure that students have all they need to enjoy and develop themselves. I feel that approachability is also essential and I promise to be around for people if they need any help with anything. I’m ready to make time for whatever you need and my door will always be open for anyone that is dealing with an issue. Lastly, I simply love this place. Ultimately, I wouldn’t be running for this position if I wasn’t a little bit crazy about Mary’s. I want to give back to this college and I promise to do all in my power to make sure that Mary’s still remains the best community in Durham.


Through my college involvement, I have developed a good sense of what students here are looking for in a JCR President. As your Head Frep, I was responsible for coordinating a team of 30 fantastic Freps and Exec members as we put on a week with more activities and events than any previous Mary’s Induction Week. This enabled me to develop a good working relationship with the brilliant staff here at Mary’s and although Induction Week was certainly tough at points, it was undoubtedly the most rewarding experience of my life. It gave me a great insight in to how to manage a team in the best possible way, something that I would transfer into my work with the College Exec next year. As your Sports Officer here at college in 2016/2017, I introduced the idea of the weekly Team Mary’s roundup, expanded the number of teams taking part in College Sport and managed the interests of the hundreds of student athletes that we have here at Mary’s.


Currently, I’m the Club Captain of the Basketball team as well as the Mixed Lacrosse team captain and had the utter privilege to captain the magnificence that is Mary’s C Team Football last year, helping me develop leadership and communication skills. I have played for the Rounders, Tennis and Volleyball teams and even reached the dizzy heights of the Darts C-team back in 2015 although my playing days were cut short because my patented technique of under-arm throwing was deemed too dangerous. As well as my involvement in the sporting side of college I have been in 3 pantos, 1 musical, compered the Fashion Show last year, been a Post Offer Visit Day Rep twice and frepped back in 2016. I also sit on the WAM Committee this year which has given me a fantastic insight into the extraordinarily important role that welfare plays here at St Mary’s. And last year I felt extremely honoured to be awarded Full College Colours last year for this work.


As well as being involved in the college side of life here in Durham, I take part in a number of university societies giving me an insight in how to effectively work with the Students Union. I have shows on Purple Radio, I’m one of the university’s sports commentators and write for the Palatinate as well being an England Rugby Referee for the North-East. Lastly, as the University Charity Strictly Come Dancing Champion in 2016 I promise to whip out my highly questionable dance moves at any formal or ball where strange salsa-style dancing is required.


So, what would I bring to the role? Well firstly I think it is crucial to carry on the fantastic work that Luke has done this year. Refurbishments are already underway and will be completed soon on the Williamson JCR, and in the future the gym and tennis court will be redeveloped too so I would look to represent your wishes and needs when it comes to these matters and develop these spaces in the ways you want. I would place an anonymous suggestion box on the JCR office door allowing people to ask questions and I would keep up the fantastic idea of having scheduled drop-in sessions where people can come and find me if they have any issues or simply want a chat – I promise a ravishing selection of biscuits for you all. I would try and diversify the college’s social media presence onto our Instagram and Snapchat platforms, and introduce new Player-layer college stash, the designs of which are pure fire by the way. I would make sure to represent your needs and wishes in the face of all the new building work that is taking place across the city and I will work with all of the Exec so that they have what they need to do their job as well as possible. I would also work closely with the treasurer so that we can spend college funds on the things that matter to you such as lowering the cost of formals and events and getting better quality equipment for sports teams and arts societies too.


My main idea for next year though would be the introduction of a new JCR Scholarship. This is a scheme that would allow students from underprivileged backgrounds to afford a place at Mary’s courtesy of the JCR. I think you will agree that we are all in an incredibly fortunate position sitting here and with one small donation over the course of the year by Mary’s students, we could collectively cover the living costs of some prospective students and bring them to this wonderful college, somewhere they may never thought possible to attend because of financial issues. It’s a small thing but it is a way that we could all give back and change lives in an immeasurable way.


So, to conclude, I would be honoured if you voted for me to be your next JCR President. I would represent your voice, make sure that you have all the tools to enjoy your time in Durham and carry on making sure that Mary’s remains the unique, supportive and all-round amazing place that it is. Thank you for listening and have a great evening!



Ellie Ng

Proposed by: Fran Walker

Seconded by: Euan Walker


Every September, for the past three years, I’ve sort of acknowledged a series of facts about myself that have led me to standing in front of you today running for JCR President.


September of First Year: 6000 miles far from home, 17 years old, wetting myself

September of Second Year: Moved out of college, International Rep for Mary’s, this time I’m in the purple T-Shirt getting myself and a family lost in Fergusson on move-in day

September of Third Year: More familiar with the layout of Fergusson, there again in Freshers Week in another purple T-Shirt, knowing that I want an extra year of being in this college


At this point in time, I feel like I’ve come 6000 miles from what I wanted in Fresher’s Week of first year. Back then, the goal was to make friends and lead the wild, special, unforgettable Uni experience that everyone talks about with limited responsibility and a whole lot of fun. But this college changed my plans. I still think I’ve had the wild, special, unforgettable Uni experience, but it was through having responsibility in this college, through becoming a strong part of life here, and ultimately through me wanting this position now; JCR President is like the golden snitch of having a role in life at Mary’s and I’d be honoured to achieve it.


There are so many different aspects to the role but broadly, I think I can narrow it down to three.


The first is the proper job stuff: public speaking, coordinating with different groups of people, organising large-scale events, to name a few. I’ve stood up in this dining hall and addressed a crowd a fair number of times now, and I’m comfortable doing so. I’ve held a range of positions in college—International Rep, SocComm Secretary, Hockey Social and Old Boys Sec, Co-Head of Food and Drink for Winter Ball last year etc—all have prepared me well for liaising between groups of people to sort things out and get things done. Through these positions I have gathered strong experience in organising large-scale events, and a range of them at that: we’re talking organising formals and balls, socials, our college wide Sports weekend, International Food Fair 2017, and the JCR President’s first large-scale event, Fresher’s Week (after three years of being a part of it, once as a Fresher, once as Head International Frep, and once as an International Frep) I have extensive knowledge of how it’s organised and how it’s run.



The second aspect to Pres is the leadership side. I was International Rep for Mary’s last year, that meant I was Head International Frep, that I ran International Induction Week and co-ran Fresher’s Week. For the rest of the year, the job required constant awareness of the welfare and experience of International Students in St. Mary’s and involved becoming a bridge between that student voice and staff ears to improve what needed to be improved and address what needed to be addressed. JCR President is fundamentally about your wants and needs and I know I can be the person who listens, conveys, and achieves them.


A third aspect to Pres is about being someone next year’s freshers can meet and our current students can know and think yeah this is someone I know I can go to if I ever need anything. I’m friendly, interested, completely un-intimidating (I’m a noob) and I can be that person people go to.


A quick word about my plans.


I know there are already plans to refurbish the JCR, if that continues into next year I would be so on board to improve the building’s social space.


Storage space. When thinking about storing things like musical instruments, I think we could replace half of that block of small lockers in the basement with a block of larger ones. This combats the issue of us not having a lot of physical inside space by replacing something that is already there with a more useful build.


Staying with these lockers, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone use them. How many times have livers out come to a formal or a ball and had to stash their stuff in the JCR? There’s so much available in Mary’s that we don’t know about. I want to make better use of our Publicity Officer, create a list of these kinds of available resources, and tell people about them.


The social side…I’d like to introduce an ‘International Formal’ to our social calendar; a formal open to everyone with a theme that changes each year celebrating a different culture and/or place so that International students don’t have to turn to Uni-wide societies to find reminders of home. I’d also like to introduce a Mary’s Got Talent, featuring whatever people can do sing, dance, body contortion, slam poetry, lip sync, keepie uppies etc, with a judging panel and prize.


Ultimately, as I’ve said before, this job is about you. I therefore want to create an anonymous online feedback form, available throughout the year, so that I can respond directly to what you want.


I know I’m lucky in feeling the way I do about life at college, that I am this keen Mary’s bean and that that’s not how everyone feels. But I would love the chance to try and make everyone’s experience here just as wonderful as it has been for me. If my luck persists and I do get this position it will be something I fought for and because I will have worked hard to get it I will work my hardest to fulfil it.


  • Head Female WAM Officer


Fran Walker

Proposed by: Sam Martin

Seconded by: Amber Ainsley


Head Female Welfare Officer

Hi everyone for those of you that don’t know me, I’m Fran. I’m a second year studying law and I would love to be your next Head Female welfare officer.


I’m going to try to make this different to my hust for assistant female welfare officer however primarily the reason for wanting the role is the same. Having been involved with college welfare from pretty much the second week of being at Durham I understand the importance and the impact that student-led welfare can have. The welfare officers and particularly the drop-ins provide an avenue for anybody in college to speak to somebody who actually wants to help if they are struggling or just want a chat and the campaigns that the committee organise raise awareness about genuine problems. Over the past year I have seen student-led welfare grow with the committee more than doubling in size and the reach of the campaigns being even wider than last year and I would love to continue to be a part of this and see where we can take it.


I think I would be good for the role for a few reasons, in particular I have been the Assistant Female Welfare Officer in College this year. In doing this, I have learned a lot about WAM from a leadership perspective and how to organise the committee in a way that everyone engages and gets involved. Also, I was on duty all of fresher’s week as an officer and so understand how to ensure that the presence of welfare is prominent during perhaps the most important period in order to make incoming students feel safe and comfortable. Although I can’t necessarily make a great joke as everybody saw on the first day I am able to deal with the time pressures that the role will entail in intense periods such as fresher’s. I have also worked so closely with Ruth this year who has and is amazing and because of that ive learned a lot about the differences between assistant and head so wont be going into it blind to the increase in responsibility in terms of liaising with other college welfare officers and university-wide welfare in general. Having worked closely with Charlie all year as well, I would be able to share the role with the Head Male Welfare Officer and work in a way that suits us both and the committee.

Aside from being assistant, I have had involvement with other avenues of university welfare as well as being a undergraduate mentor for a social mobility summer school and was also a post offer visit day rep. all of these experiences have made me a more contietious, non-judgemental person and I have seen the impact that structures such as college welfare can have on real people as opposed to just facts and figures and because of this I appreciate it even more. I also am involved in a lot of extra curricular things and so am very good at organising my time and WAM would be at the top of this.


Through being so involved with welfare I have seen what works really well and where we could improve. Firstly I would like to implement additional drop-ins outside of college in neutral spaces such as coffee shops. This will make them more accessible for second and third years and also, although marys is amazing the move to university can be hard and speaking about it while in the very place can be even harder. Having somewhere to talk which is away from anything university related could really help. I would also like to increase a ‘never eat alone’ policy for the first 3 weeks of term where there is an officer present at lunch and dinner (or dinner and tea). I remember meal times being one of my main worry starting at marys worrying id be sat on my own. I know for some people that is how they like it and that is great but having somewhere there means you are guaranteed to never be eating alone. By that point we would have a committee together and they would continue to help keep this in place so if somebody is eating alone perhaps ask if you can eat with them to make what should be a nice place to socialise not turn into a major worry for some people. I want to produce an online form available to everyone to fil out and provide feedback on campaigns drop-ins and general comments about welfare to ensure it doesn’t become stagnant and is constantly improving. Lastly, more committee improvement than general welfare but I would like to introduce campaigns managers for each campaign who are members of the committee to give even more control to you guys.


I hope this have given you some insight into what I would hope to do in the role and I hope you vote for me!


  1. Senior Tech Officer


Ben Archer

Proposed by: Joe Witt

Seconded by: Hugh Thomas


  • Loved Mary’s and want to give back in a way that I’m good and would enjoy
  • Work with the current Senior Tech Officer
  • Has experience from working with the current STO and being a tech officer for live lounges
  • Confident with handling tech and teaching people how to use them
  • Has good leadership skills
  • Get feedback from people



  1. Midsummer Ball Chair


Lara Brown

Proposed by: Chloe Blakesley

Seconded by: Martha Rowe


  • 3rd year, Arch and Anth student
  • Gone for role:
    • Love creative projects
    • Have had lots of ideas in the past I want to incorporate
  • Why me?
    • Know how to organise from behind scenes after working in hospitality industry for 4 years
    • Know plenty of previous ball chairs, can get lots of advice
    • No exams!! Plenty of time for ball prep
    • Good at organising and leading
      • Identify strengths and weaknesses of others well
    • Ideas for this year:
      • Feedback from everyone but maintain air of mystery around event
      • Reveal menu before tickets go on sale
      • More themed areas around college
        • Theme more engaging
        • Better photo ops
      • Comfier chill out zone for 3am slump
    • Final thoughts:
      • Lots of ideas
      • Lots of time
      • Dedicated to making it awesome



Jack Parker

Proposed by: Maddie Kavanagh

Seconded by: Nuriya Shoro




Hello! My name’s Jack, I’m a second-year studying French and Spanish and I would love to be your Midsummer Ball Chair. I’m the Publicity Officer for the Social Committee, so I’m the one who keeps pestering you to pay for formals and things with those gifs. I’ve been a highly dedicated member of several Ball committees, including last year’s Midsummer, and have had in-depth conversations with past exec members, so I know what has gone well and what needs to be improved both in the balls themselves and in the behind-the-scenes processes. This is experience that I am more than ready to apply to the role of Midsummer Ball Chair. It’s the dream role for me, so it would be a genuine honour to be your Midsummer Ball Chair, and I promise to give it everything I’ve got.

So, that’s enough about me – now, more about what I will do for you as Midsummer Ball Chair. Firstly, one of my absolute top priorities will be giving you better value for money. Ball tickets are ridiculously expensive, so I think you’re going to spend all that money, you should get as much for your money as possible. It’s just a question of using our budget as resourcefully and effectively as possible, and making sure none of it goes to waste.

Secondly, I also think you know better than anybody what you enjoy, so instead of as in past balls, where the committee makes decisions and you’re expected to enjoy it, why not actually ask your opinion, and let you tell us what ents and food vans you want, and we’ll take that on board. This process will give us a new, fresh, and exciting ball, and achieving that will be another of my priorities! This will be my sixth ball at Mary’s, so I’ve started to notice that if something goes down well, it’s recycled and used again and again and again. While that’s great, I want something different, because if you’ve never seen it before it’s more exciting and enjoyable, and that’s the type of ball I’m after.

Thirdly, often people don’t realise how much effort volunteers put into prepping the ball. While they do get perks for it, I want to improve these perks and make the whole process a bit more fun! Things like getting the tunes going, having socials and better snacks are just a few ideas, but either way being on the committee needs to be a fun experience.

We also need to make sure the decs are as good as usual. I want to shake it up a little bit and see types of decs that we’ve never seen before, so I’d look into hiring some form of screen to make this room a livelier hotspot when the ents elsewhere start winding down at 1 or 2.

In terms of my theme ideas, I haven’t settled one in particular. I thought maybe A Midsummer Night’s Dream/Shakespeare and the Great Gatsby, a 1920s America and Jazz Age sort of thing. However, I’m probably more inclined to the cultural ideas like Greece and Latin America, purely because unlike some past themes, with cultural themes you can really feel the theme throughout the night, since every aspect of the ball can be truly inspired by that culture. If we can’t on one culture alone, why not amalgamate a few and do Around the World in 80 Days, where there would perhaps be a different culture in every area of college so you feel like you’re travelling the world on the night?

Finally, when it comes to casting your vote, if you want a Ball Chair who has experience, who is organised, who knows their stuff, who wants to do the best they can for you and who will be so dedicated to the role because they genuinely want to do it, then please vote Jack!


  1. Publicity and Communications Officer


Alex Leggatt

Proposed by: Fran Walker

Seconded by: Camille Levron

Hi, I’m Alex Leggatt, and I’m studying English Literature and I would love to be your Publicity and Communications officer!


Why would I suit this role?

  • I was part of the Winter Ball Executive committee, as deputy head of publicity, where I helped to create the Snapchat filter and wristband designs.
  • At sixth form I was the head of the Festival charity committee twice, directing and editing the teachers music video, and I also produced the year 13 leavers video.
    • While I was the head of these committees, I learnt how to lead a team by listening to all of the group’s ideas, while also staying true to my own artistic concepts and direction.
  • I am a creative person! I took Art and English at A-Level, and while I’m not reading for my degree I am creating both digital and physical artwork, including paintings, origami and graphic design.
  • I am keenly aware of what is required to promote a social media account and website, having created my own Instagram account to promote my artwork where I take advantage of layout designs and colour when scrolling down the feed, and creating blogs to publish my essays and fiction online.
  • While at Durham, I have become involved in creative extra-curricular activities such as writing for the Palatinate, and attending Durham Student Film and Durham PhotoSoc.
  • I love Mary’s college and its welcoming nature, and I feel that its social media presence (which is most people’s first impression of the college) should convey this atmosphere the college embodies. I feel that I would be the right person to create this aesthetic across various social media platforms.


What are my ideas for the role?

  • I want to create a fresh and engaging Social Media presence that is instantly recognisable as Mary’s content. This could be achieved through using Mary’s logo as a watermark on all photos and videos produced by the college.
    • I also want to promote various aspects of college life more visibly both on the Website, and also physically around college, promoting Sport, Culture and being at Mary’s
  • I want to continue to develop the online community of Maryians by engaging through Instagram pages through posting high-quality images of college life, taking advantage of spreading images across multiple posts to establish a creative and eye-catching feed, as well as posting announcements and memes on Twitter and Snapchat.
  • As part of this role, I want to establish a photography and filming crew who will work alongside myself to photograph/film the biggest Mary’s events such as Floodlit Cup matches and then post these events online, as well as giving attention to some events that do not get as much attention as they deserve.
    • I will also make sure that the fresher’s t-shirts are eye-catching and reflect the colours and themes associated with the college.
  • I want to create a fresh, dynamic new look for the website which is more visually engaging, with a focus on visual stimuli such as photography and videos, while still providing essential information about the college.
  • As part of the Website revamp, I would create a floor plan/layout of the college, including the most important rooms in college (specifically the bar!), to give prospective students a real feel for the wealth of facilities Mary’s has to offer.


Thank you for listening. Please vote for me to be your new Publicity and Communications officer if you would like St Mary’s college to make a fun and engaging impact with its online presence, and for the college to interact fluidly with both people in Mary’s and the wider university community!

  • Head Teikyo Representative


Fergus MacLeod

Proposed by: Francesca Pye

Seconded by: Yee Lam



  • Decided to apply after doing Teikyo Language Partner scheme.


  • Speak roughly conversational Japanese.


  • Organised small scale outings for Teikyo students as language partner.


  • Want to arrange social events twice a term or so for all language partners and Teikyo equivalents.


  1. AOB

Name for the raffle:

Anya Soni

Julia Dowden

Polly Mills

(email Luke to let him know which formal you would like for free)