JCR Executive Committee

Introduction from your JCR President, Ellie Ng

Hi everyone, I’m Ellie and I’m your JCR President for 2018/19. I’m sure congratulations are being handed to you ceaselessly by every other person you meet, but indulge me; congratulations on getting into Durham and, with even more enthusiasm, a huge welcome to St Mary’s College!

It is honestly a pleasure and a privilege to be able to welcome you into our community here at St Mary’s. Whoever you are reading this, I am sure that you will find and love your place here within our college and Durham University as a whole.

Mary’s is known across Durham University as the friendliest college and this will make itself clear from the moment you arrive, as our Freshers’ Reps bound towards you in enthusiastic welcome before moving all your things (no matter how many things) into your room. From then on, whether it continues to be the Freshers’ Reps or it is our Welfare Team, Student Support Staff, or fellow Mary’s students in general, there will always be people to help you settle in and kickstart what I am sure will be a brilliant university experience.

This is not to guarantee that it will be smooth sailing from the moment you step on Mary’s ground; even within the blur of excitement in starting university, it is completely natural to feel nervous or find certain parts of it daunting. The start can be overwhelming and everyone struggles at points, but this is only proof that you are not alone! Whether you find the first week a blast or not, everything goes uphill in the time to come.

Now, a bit about me. I graduated from Durham this summer with an English Lit degree and a jam-packed three years’ worth of involvement in and memories made at Mary’s. Over my time, I’ve been involved in a number of clubs and societies. I’ve engaged with drama­-most recently having starred as Lumière in our Christmas Panto, Beauty and the Beast; sports-having been a loyal member of Mary’s Hockey for all three years, even managing to hold a couple of exec roles over my time in the club, and a newbie for Mary’s Netball this year; in-college events-as Social Committee Secretary this year and many a sub-par Winter Ball snowflake on my conscience. Beyond clubs and societies I have sung at a few Mary’s events-One Day More during a Karaoke session in the bar was probably a personal highlight (and a public travesty), have been a Frep, Open Day Rep, and was International Students’ Rep in my second year. I’m hoping that this list makes it apparent just how much there is on offer here at Mary’s and that whatever you are good at, or like, or are fancifully interested in, there is something for you to get involved with, to excel at, or simply to try.

The JCR is a term that will be used a lot throughout your time at Mary’s. It stands for Junior Common Room and is used primarily to refer to the student body. We also, a little confusingly, have two JCRs which are physical rooms, but throughout this handbook the JCR means the student body. The JCR is run for students by students, and there are a huge variety of roles to get involved in. Every bit of engagement that I have listed above is within the JCR. There is an Executive Committee (‘Exec’) and Ex-Officio Committee (‘Ex-officio’) – you will meet all of the people elected in those positions for this coming year later in the handbook and the process of JCR elections will be explained in greater detail when you arrive!

Now that you’re over halfway down my letter I feel I should let you know what exactly ‘JCR President’ means. Essentially, I loved my time at Mary’s so much, and was so sad at the thought of it ending, that I secured another year here as JCR President. My job is to oversee the student body in college, including events, sports teams, societies, and more – if it’s a part of the JCR, I’ll be there. The primary function of the role is to act as the student representative on a staff level; I am elected to represent you, so your input is invaluable. I have this job for one year and I live and work in college so you’ll be seeing a lot of me!

The advice I would have given my Fresher self if I could would be to remember that your university experience does not begin and end with Freshers Week. People take to it in different ways; you might come out of it believing your second Monday here has just locked away the best days of your life and you might not. What I can tell you now is that time goes on. The people on your corridor that you haven’t spoken to yet? You will, and you will probably become really good friends. That evening event you decided not to go to because you were tired? You have so much time to be with people and have fun, take this night to go to bed early if you want to. That academic advisor meeting you didn’t see the email about? They will send you another email and it will have zero effect on your degree. Time goes on; you will adjust to how it all works here, you will do so much, and you will find friends you love. Be yourself, try not to stress, and everything will fall into place.

When you are here, please feel free to come and see me either in the JCR Office or in my flat–both of which are located on first floor West Wing of Fergusson building, directly above the dining hall–or chat to me wherever you find me if you have any questions, problems, or fancy saying hello! If you have questions now, before you arrive in Durham, I am only an email (st-marys.jcr@durham.ac.uk) or phone call (01913345933) away. Every question is valid and I’m happy to answer any, be they small or significant. When you do arrive you’ll have an extra group of people here–your Freshers’ Reps (Freps)–who will be able to answer questions and just chat generally with you about life at Mary’s and in Durham. One thing you will never lack here is support so if you ever need anything just let us know.

I cannot overstate how much of a home I have found here. I am genuinely excited (and genuinely jealous) of the stage you are all at and the (at least) three future years you will have here to enjoy one of the newest and most exciting times of your life. Whatever you like, whatever you are good at, you will find something, most probably many things, to become involved in and love about college life.

Congratulations again on your amazing results, enjoy the rest of your summer (you deserve it!), and I cannot wait to welcome you to Mary’s come September.



Ellie Ng 

JCR President 2018/19 

Arts President: Nuriya Shoro, Chinese Studies, 4th Year 

欢迎大家! I’m Nuriya and I’m a finalist doing Chinese Studies. As you’ve probably heard a gazillion times – congrats on getting into the best college in Durham! Mary’s has provided me with so many incredible opportunities, and I can honestly say that this college has become a second home to me.

My role as Arts President within college is to oversee the arts societies at Mary’s, which mainly consists of drama, dance, fine arts and music groups. Societies run at Mary’s are usually more relaxed than university wide societies and require minimal/no experience in most cases, which is perfect if you’ve always wanted to try something new – whether you’ve been a superstar performer since you were little, or you’ve always wanted to explore your creative side in a relaxed environment, there are opportunities for everyone. If you’d like to find out more about arts within Mary’s, please don’t hesitate to drop me an email (see below), or you can find me at the Mary’s Freshers Fair. We’ll also be hosting a range of arts activities during Freshers Week, so please come along!

I’ve had so many memories at Mary’s, but one of my favourites has to be Midsummer Ball during my first year. I was part of the publicity team for the event and I loved every second of it. My role on the team was not only the first time I’d gotten involved with anything at Mary’s, it was also my first stepping-stone towards becoming Arts President. I remember the whole committee working insanely hard to make sure everything went smoothly and when we finally let our hair down at the ball, we had the best time!

I’ve also just finished a year abroad in China, so if you have any queries about going on a year abroad, particularly to South-East Asia (I did way too much travelling, so can provide many a travel recommendation), please feel free to contact me anytime at nuriya.shoro@durham.ac.uk!

Bar Steward: Matthew Rossetter, Physics, 3rd Year

Hey everyone, I’m Matthew, a third year studying Physics. This year I’m your bar steward so I’m in charge of running the college bar and listening to what you guys want in there. During the year we will be running a variety of quizzes and showing a variety of matches in the bar so I hope to see you there!

My favourite part of college life is definitely how easy it is to hang out with friends and have fun, sitting down at meals together is a really great way to catch up with friends and get to know new people. I’ve had some great times with college friends, from just chatting over tea and cake to full on snowball fights in the winter.

My advice to freshers would be to come down to Mary’s bar! There’s always a friendly face behind the bar willing to have a chat about anything from rugby to advice about modules. But also I’d say just take a chance and get involved with new stuff, uni is a great place to try something you’ve never done before so just throw yourself in!

If you’ve got any questions, feel free to drop me a message on Facebook or email me at matthew.rossetter@durham.ac.uk.

Head Female WAM Officer: Fran Walker, Law, 3rd Year

You’ll meet me in the Welfare section of the website!

Head Male WAM Officer: Charlie Gerlack, Geography, 3rd Year

You’ll meet me in the Welfare section of the website!

JCR Chair: Sam Williams, Economics, 3rd Year

Hello everyone! I am Sam. I am a third year studying Economics and I will also be your JCR Chair this year. I am also part of your Frep team and have played football for college and rowed for the University. First off, congratulations on getting into Mary’s and may I say you have made a great choice of college. Whether you chose Mary’s because it’s the best looking college, because of its sport or simply because you’re lazy and wanted to be opposite your lecture hall, you will not regret your decision.

As I said, I will be chairing the JCR this year. As such, you will be seeing me every other Sunday evening for our JCR Meetings. These are (hopefully) short get togethers which provide an opportunity for you to hold the student leadership in college (the Exec) to account and influence the direction the JCR takes. Furthermore, you’ll have the ability to stand for election to a vast array of different JCR positions throughout the year. Roles range from becoming the Sport’s Officer, in charge of all sport in college, to joining the leadership of Welfare at Mary’s, running campaigns to improve mental health and general wellbeing around college.

The collegiate system at Durham is one of the many things that sets us apart from most universities. St Mary’s JCR is entirely student-led and encompasses the majority of what you would imagine college life to include: sports teams, societies, in-college events, and more so whether you run for a position on it or not, the JCR is vital to your university experience. From deciding how much money your sports club or society gets to organising and running our termly balls, the people you vote for and the motions you pass will have a direct influence on your life here and so these meetings and elections are not just a formality (although you do have to wear a gown…). 

At the end of Induction Week you will hear more from me about how these meetings and elections work and we will go through a mock election. My role is to make participating and interacting with the JCR as easy as possible and so if you have any questions now or during Induction week do not hesitate to get in contact.

I look forward to seeing you all in October and would love to see some of you running for roles over the next two terms!

Email: samuel.t.williams@durham.ac.uk

Social Chairs: Camille Levron, Classics, 3rd Year & Charlotte Delaforce, English Lit, 3rd Year

Hello everyone we are Cam and Char your co-Social Chairs for 2018/19. First of all, a massive congrats on getting into Durham and more specifically Mary’s! We hope you love it as much as we have.

Our job is to organise all the social events in college throughout the year. This will include formal dinners, themed informals, bops and termly balls. We are super excited for you to discover the social side of college life and we will try our best to make as amazing as it can be. From 3 course gowned dinners to 12 hour balls with live bands, inflatables, fairground rides and much much more, there is loads to look forward to this year. We will be needing lots of help to organise all these events so if you are interested in getting involved we would love to have you on our Social Committee!

On top of all of this, we are both involved in various parts of college. We worked closely together on the Masquerade Ball ‘18, Camille as Ball Chair and Charlotte as Head of Decorations. Charlotte will be a Frep this coming freshers week, is a member of Mary’s Netball C Team, and was the Project leader for the Thurston project last year and will be again this coming year (if you are interested in getting involved with volunteering please contact her). Camille has tried pretty much every college sport (and failed – no shame), been a part of the WAM committee for the past two years, and the Arts Committee as Events Manager.

Our favourite memory in college so far has been sneaking up to take a nap towards the end of Masquerade ball because we were so tired before we had to start clearing up. We’ll try our best to stay awake at future balls but can’t promise anything!!

If you have any questions feel free to email us at st-marys.social@durham.ac.uk

Sports Officer: Anna Hunt, Biological Sciences, 2nd Year

Hi everyone, I’m Anna, and I’m a second year studying Biological Sciences. I am your Sports Officer for the year and I am looking forward to helping you either continue your sporting passions or taking up completely new sports, whilst at the same time bagging lots of points for St Mary’s on the College Sports leaderboards!

Sports clubs are such a good way of getting involved in the college ethos, meeting new people and most importantly, having fun! All sports societies are part of the JCR and are student-led, meaning they also offer leadership opportunities for students. The fixtures are mainly played at weekends and the occasional evening and are a great chance to get competitive with other colleges. There are socials which are very varied, from bar crawls to cheese nights. There is also the College Festival of Sport and Trevs Varsity to get involved with later on in the year.

I am extremely enthusiastic about sport, playing for the University’s 1st VII netball team and being a member of Mary’s mixed lacrosse team! I really enjoyed my first year and would encourage you all to get as involved as possible in as much as you can, first year will fly by more quickly than you can imagine!

I would love for all of you to have a go and compete in as many sports as possible, and I am looking forward to seeing all of our new Mary’s sports talent in October!

In the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email at anna.c.hunt@durham.ac.uk.

Senior Students’ Union Rep: Dom Wood, Geography, 2nd Year

Hey hey! I’m Dom, a second year Geographer and I’m your Students’ Union Representative for St Mary’s College. The SU Rep is the guy who gets your voice heard at the student body that helps run the university (The student Assembly). We help organise campaigns and shape Durham policy that directly affects university life. So if there’s something you want to change about the university, the SU is a great platform and I’d love to help!

My best memory at college so far was the amazing welcome to Durham on the first day – everyone was incredibly friendly and coming to Mary’s felt so right. (The following 12 months of sport, academic rigour and bar crawls have emphatically confirmed that sentiment)

If you have any questions, queries or concerns, come say hi or email me at dominic.w.wood@durham.ac.uk.

Treasurer: Oliver Prove, Physics, 2nd Year

Hi everyone, and welcome to St Mary’s! I’m Oliver, a second year physics student from Switzerland and your JCR treasurer for this year. As Treasurer, I’m responsible for managing JCR finances, which involves keeping track of the income and expenditure of all college events, societies and sports clubs. This includes balls and formals, which are personally some of my favourite memories from first year. Part of my job is to help decide how to allocate JCR funds, and I sit in on various different college committees to do this. I also work alongside an Assistant Treasurer to oversee the accounts of the JCR shop and toastie bar. If you feel like getting involved in the treasury, running for this position is a great way to see what it’s like!

St Mary’s really is an amazing place. On top of its friendly and tight knit college atmosphere, it offers a wide range of activities and societies from ultimate frisbee to the bee keeping society, and I strongly encourage you to try as many new things as possible. I personally gave frisbee a try, as well as tennis, table tennis and DU canoeing. Regardless of what you choose to do, I’m sure you’re going to have an amazing first year here! If you have any questions about JCR finances, moving here from a different country or anything at all really, please feel free to drop me an email at oliver.m.prove@durham.ac.uk.

Vice President: Jonathan Wong, Physics, 3rd Year

Hi everyone! On behalf of all of us at St. Mary’s, incredible congratulations on your results that have brought you here, and the warmest of welcomes to our lovely college and the beautiful city of Durham! My name is Jonathan, I’m a third year physics student from Central London and I’ll be your JCR Vice President for the year.

St. Mary’s has a truly unique charm, charisma, and friendliness throughout its student body, and during my time here I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved in nearly every aspect on offer – including Frepping, Theatre Tech and Captaining the Ultimate Frisbee Team with College, Ballroom Dancing with the University, and even playing on the same stage as Alexandra Burke!

There are so many unforgettable moments, but the highlight of every year is the sunrise gathering on observatory hill at the end of Midsummer Ball. The feeling of happiness, pride and raw emotion watching the sunrise over the city, surrounded by your friends is simply incomparable.

On top of being on hand with activities and helping you settle in during Induction Week, I am involved in assisting the JCR President (the wonderful Ellie Ng), and acting as a pastoral support figure, particularly for freshers. My role ranges from sitting as a student representative on Food and House, Health and Safety, and Environmental Committees, to facilitating operations and helping organise College events – such as the Michaelmas Dinner and our annual summer lawn celebration, Mary’s Day!

I’ll be living in College this year next to Ellie’s flat, so will be contactable in person (and via Facebook or email at jonathan.h.wong@durham.ac.uk). If there is ever anything big or small you encounter that I can be of help to – questions on JCR matters, homesickness and general university life, or even if you’d just like to chat about Astrophysics and Science in society, the vintage Taylor Swift era, or sing Broadway songs from Hairspray – please do not hesitate to find me!

I am incredibly proud to be able to represent and share Mary’s, my second home, with you and I’m touched to be a part of your Induction week and what will undoubtedly be the most exciting period of your life so far. If there’s one thing I love more than this college, it’s the people who make it – here’s to a fantastic year!