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Presidential performance: handing over to a new JP president

The end of Michaelmas term sees Junior Parlour (JP) President Cloran Ryan hand over to Oliver Hulme

Clo-and-OllieCongratulations on your election Oli, and Clo on a successful year as JP President.  Do you want to start with what it’s been like to be JP President?

Clo: It’s been a lot of hard work. Being Junior Parlour (JP) President is a big commitment. Although it’s time consuming it’s also really rewarding. It’s so satisfying when you have an idea in your head of an issue you want to tackle and you can see it through, get to the end result and have a sense of satisfaction that you’ve achieved that.  It’s also interesting to see how college works at a higher level.  Most people don’t have that much interaction with college staff, but going to college meetings, meeting the Senior Tutor, Bursar, people like that, has provided me with insight into how the institution works, which was a huge learning curve.  I’ve also got a lot of skills out of it in terms of leadership, time management, helping the committee work together effectively; all massively important skills that will help me in future.

I’m a bit sad to be going but I also have my third year exams to do! It’s been really good, I’ve really enjoyed it, but I need to let it go.

So Oli, what are you looking forward to?

Well I’ve already served as the food and bar officer for half a year, and from that I enjoyed people bringing me problems, and then working to solve them as quickly as possible.  My degree is mostly about problem-solving but you don’t get the same satisfaction as when you can see the change, and hear people say back to you that it’s had an impact, even if it’s something small like not wanting coriander on their sausages.

I’ve heard that’s been a big thing

It’s a split issue!

Already I’m on good terms with a lot of the catering department.  It’s definitely been satisfying getting to know them.  It’s made me feel a lot more part of the college; it’s not just students that you feel comfortable with but the staff as well.

Clo: Being President really makes you appreciate how much they do, when you see how much hard work goes into everything, even things that you take for granted like brunch or how the tutorial system works.  When you see how much work goes into it, the organisation of it and how everything fits together I think you really learn to appreciate the work that staff in college do.

Oli: Also, they work so hard, but they’re still responsive to us.

Clo: They don’t really have to be, but they do listen to us which is great. The way the system works with the JPC, and having meetings with the bursar and senior tutor, is a really good system. The college makes an effort to listen to what you have to say, which I think is very important and I’m definitely grateful for it.

What would you say has been your favourite moment?

Clo: I don’t think there’s necessarily any event I could pinpoint. It’s like Ollie said, the satisfaction of seeing something through.  For example, I’ve done a fair amount of work talking to students who’ve intermitted for health reasons, learning about their experiences and what they feel could be improved. I’m compiling all that information and I’m going to give it to the senior tutor in the hopes of influencing tutor training. It’s things like that where it will have a real impact on people’s lives. It may not be that many, but it’s great when people want to listen to you and talk to you, and then you’re able to do something useful off the back of that.

When we’ve had to run bops and there’s been last minute chaos, it’s extremely satisfying when it all comes together and everyone’s singing Angels at midnight! Last night was my first bop not as President, and it was the same for our communications officer. We were on the DJ podium watching people hugging and singing together. It’s a reminder that we have a lovely college community, and everyone loves Pembroke and enjoys participating in college life.

Sounds like a positive thing to be going into

Oli: I’m excited to get more involved and hoping to make more changes.

What’s your focus?

Oli: At the moment the issue of the people participating in the JP, using it as a social area, is a continuing problem.  We’ve had positive conversations with the bursar regards making a plan and hearing the voices of all students.  People aren’t using it; usage has declined by almost 50%.  Hopefully we’re looking at introducing a bar helper scheme so students are more involved, changing the furniture, creating an area to work…that kind of thing.

So do you have any crucial advice to pass on

Clo: Use the committee! There are 21 of us, it’s a lot of people/. I made a crucial mistake at times taking too much on because I wanted something done a certain way so wouldn’t let other committee members do it.  Really use the committee because people are there because they want to be, and they’re interested in what they’re representing. Just because you’re the President doesn’t mean you have to do everything! The whole committee supports each other and it’s important to delegate and make use of that.

Oli: When I was food and bar I got on with my job and didn’t discuss it with the whole committee.  So everyone brings what they’re doing to meetings and offers support to each other.

Clo: Lots of officers will do their own thing and not tell you, so it might look like they’re not doing anything from the outside but they are! So get people to tell you what they’re doing.

Oli: We are a team after all

Clo: And a big one!

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