The abbreviation ‘JCR’ is short for Junior Common Room, which has three meanings. Firstly, it is the room in Tommy White, which serves as a social space for you to hang out and relax in. Secondly, it refers to the undergraduate body at St John’s: every student who is studying for an undergraduate degree. Finally, it’s the Committee elected by the JCR members which puts on a variety of events throughout the year, and realises the policies set forth by the JCR’s fortnightly meetings.
The JCR’s activities are overseen by a committee of officers, headed by the JCR President. Each officer has a major area of responsibility, representing students to the College and the wider University. Officers’ terms run for one calendar year, with elections held at the end of Michaelmas term. Of the current committee, which you can look over on the committee page of the main JCR website, many were first years when elected, so make sure to go to the first meeting at the end of freshers’ week to get involved.
There are also two dozen smaller ‘rep’ roles which range from supporting international students to looking after the JCR Art or DVD collections, or being the always-on-call Bike Rep. There are other opportunities to get involved, for example by becoming a Peer Supporter (trained students you can talk to about any issues you might be having) or Student Ambassador (take part in vital access and outreach work, e.g. working at interviews and open days, or talking to visiting school groups).
The best way to participate is to come to JCR meetings, four times per term, as these give you an opportunity to raise and engage in issues that matter to you, whether that be hiring a bouncy castle as a revision antidote or debating the JCR’s response to government decisions on higher education funding! They also allocate JCR funds to benefit JCR members and make termly donations to charities. There is a well-endowed budget, so if you have an idea, please bring it forward! You can see examples of previous motions in the minutes of previous meetings here on the JCR website.
The second JCR Meeting of each term (usually Sunday of 3rd week) is the Charities Meeting where you can bring a motion which gives up to £300 from our Charities Budget to a charity of your choice. The Financial Motion budget is £5,000 allocated for JCR members to request towards non-charitable causes they believe deserve financial support. If you have such a cause, get in touch with either the Treasurer or Secretary, to help you draft a Financial Motion to be discussed at a JCR Meeting. All contact details can be found in the useful contacts section of the site.