The SJCR

The SJCR stands for the St John’s Common Room, a charitable organisation separate from the college itself, set up for the Students of St John’s College, which includes: Undergraduates, Postgraduates and Mature Students (in the MCR) and Cranmer Hall students (in the CCR). It exists to support and champion YOU!

The following can be found online to help you navigate and understand the ins and outs of the SJCR.

  • Documents – these include Accounts, the Constitutions of all the Common Rooms, SJCR and Committee Meeting Minutes, Forms, and copies of ‘This Week’. If you have any queries, please get in touch with the Communications Officer at johns.comms@durham.ac.uk.
  • Guides and Handbooks – these give you a quick run through what we do, how it works and why. We’ve included some tips on living in college, as well as advice and walk-throughs on how you can make change, and shape the future of our college for students. This simple explanation and break down of the SJCR may be a good place to go first!
  • Common Room Directory – meet the SJCR Exec (Governing Body) and learn what each is responsible for doing, plus an up-to-date list of Non-Executive Officers, along with their job descriptions and how they can be contacted. This is your place to go to find contact details if you have any questions, or want to get involved with a sport, society, or with the SJCR.

What are the benefits of the SJCR?

Effectively a mini students’ union, exclusively for members of St John’s College, the SJCR is run by the students for the students. It is your chance to get involved and direct the student body! You can be as involved as you’d like to be – there is certainly something for you within the SJCR. And if there isn’t quite yet, you have the power to create new societies and policies, and shape the future of the SJCR.

Almost all students join the SJCR due to the huge number of opportunities on offer! It costs £135 for 3-year membership, and £180 if you’re taking a four year course. If you are a member of the MCR or CCR, you pay their respective membership, and then automatically become a member of the SJCR without paying separate membership.


Sports and Societies
With membership to the SJCR, you’ll have full access to all our clubs and societies without paying supplementary fees (excluding the Boat Club which is separate to the SJCR). We welcome novices and experts alike and encourage everyone to get involved.

Our huge number of sports and societies; from CheeseSoc (free cheese!) to Cheerleading means there will likely be something you’ll love, if not, we also offer the opportunity (and funding!) to create new clubs. A full list of what we have on offer is available on the St. John’s College website.

With SJCR membership, you are also insured – so if you sprain your ankle playing football we’ve got you covered!


Welfare
Within the SJCR we take student welfare seriously. Our SJCR Welfare Team provides a free confidential listening service every evening during term time, mental health awareness campaigns and multiple events to help you ‘Stressless’ during exams.

The Welfare Team also includes LGBTQ+, Disability, Livers Out and Year Abroad Reps (amongst others) who can help with any issues you may have at any stage of your time in John’s.


Events
For a small Common Room, the SJCR hosts a wide range of events Starting with a 10-day Induction Week with entertainment and activities every evening. Our main events of the year include Bailey Ball, John’s Day and a ‘mega- formal’ at least once every term! This past year we’ve also run smaller events including an evening celebrating Chinese New Year and film nights – both including food and drink provided by the SJCR.


Representation
The SJCR is run by students for students. The best way to get involved is by coming to our regular SJCR meetings or contacting a member of the exec.

If you have any great ideas (or are unhappy with the way things are being run) then you can question the student officers, run for a position yourself or propose a new idea in the form of a motion.

Meetings are informal and being involved in the SJCR is a great space to get involved with student politics, helping you to develop excellent leadership, communication and teamwork skills.

If you want to plan the next big social event or represent your peers to the wider University then this is the place for you!


Membership of the SJCR enables you to get involved in many sports and societies – you can try sports which you’ve never considered before and join societies no matter what level of experience you’re at. The SJCR is not only a way to see what college has to offer, but a great way to meet people in other years and parts of college.

James Mailey, graduated 2019.

This is just a small selection of what’s available within the SJCR – the benefits and opportunities are huge. Our goal is to support all students in whatever they do during their time at John’s; whether this be within a sport or society, organising volunteering opportunities, facilitating career contacts or even providing financial support if necessary.

If you want any more information in the meantime please don’t hesitate to contact johns.president@durham.ac.uk!

The Structure of the SJCR

The SJCR is an overarching group for all students. We also have two subsidiary Common Rooms, the Middle Common Room (MCR), for Postgraduates and Mature Students (those who begin an Undergraduate degree at aged 21 or above) and the Cranmer Common Room (CCR), for Cranmer Hall students. You can only be a member of one subsidiary common room , and upon joining a subsidary common room you are automatically made a member of the SJCR. The subsidiary common rooms each have their own Constitutional Documents but these largely mirror the SJCR’s. Please note that the CCR is currently in the process of creating an updated Constitution.

There are a number of elected positions, which can be either open to any member of the SJCR, or only to a single subsidiary common room. Each subsidiary common room holds annual elections for a president and executive committee. The SJCR executive committee is split into two tiers: Tier 1 executive which deals with overall SJCR issues and are also automatically Trustees of the SJCR. Tier 2 executive is made up of executive members who deal primarily with their own assigned area. All other non-executive positions are elected in ordinary general meetings and help with the day-to-day running of the SJCR.

Why should I care about the SJCR?

You ask a valid question. Well, basically, the SJCR is you. But on a slightly bigger scale. John’s Common Room is a charity and a democracy, and you can be as involved as you like. It exists to function as a whole and to work collectively for certain aims. Together we vote on certain policies, elect people to positions and represent our views back to college.

This is mostly achieved through SJCR meetings, which are usually held three times a term. These meetings can be attended by everyone and are usually held in Leech Hall. There is usually free pizza and wine. They can be exciting, inspiring, controversial and often downright hilarious (especially the fancy-dress ones). They tend to be quite casual – although you should take your gown if you want to speak, you could be wearing your PJs under it, or sitting at the back eating sweets, and no-one will care. If you’re at the meeting, then you can give your opinion and make sure that things are going as you would like them. They’re a bit like school assemblies (only more fun), in that they’re one of the only times when the whole college is together. We make important decisions, from whether or not to start a new society, to rules about snogging and petting in the college bar…

SJCR meetings are your main chance to have your say in the running of the SJCR. They exist to hold SJCR officers (both exec and non-exec) to account, to debate and make decisions regarding the SJCR’s policies and money, and to elect people to positions in the SJCR. In short, they are the democratic decision making body of the SJCR. Any SJCR member is entitled to attend, speak, and vote at any SJCR meeting, and at any meeting of their subsidiary common room. More about meetings is found here. There will usually be a mock SJCR meeting just after Freshers’ week to introduce you to how it all works! Remember that there will be free pizza!! 🍕

SJCR members also all have the right to propose motions and stand for election to any SJCR position, as well as positions in their own subsidiary common room. Guides for writing motions and manifestos are available here.

The minutes of all meetings are made available on this website, in the Documents folder. Please contact johns.comms@durham.ac.uk if you have any queries.

There are lots of other rules and regulations for different types of meetings – for more details, take a look at the Constitution.

This information can feel like a lot to take on, and may be slightly overwhelming. Don’t worry about trying to get your head round all of it (most of us still are!) and don’t hesitate to get in touch with an Executive Member of the SJCR if you have a question or want help. We want you to feel involved, supported, inspired and happy and that’s our priority! We’ll help you deal with the nitty gritty 🙂