Graduate Common Room 2012
It is known that there were 7 students when St Antony’s opened its doors in 1950. From that day on St Antony’s attracted brilliant students from all over the world. As C.S. Nicholls (2000) has pointed out in her History of St Antony’s College Oxford, 1950-2000:
For many students the college was a fascinating mixture of cosmopolitanism and 1950s Britishness. British students, in particular, were struck by the number of foreigners, especially Frenchmen. In 1953 seven students were French and seven British; together they comprised half the college’s resident student body. Of the others three each came from Belgium, Israel, Germany and the United States; while Canada, Czechoslovakia, Iraq, Italy and South Africa were all represented by one student [220-1].
Nowadays, this is even more true since St. Antony’s College is the most cosmopolitan of the seven graduate colleges of the University of Oxford! And, from the creation of a common room in 1964 to today, successive GCR committees have always shown the same motivation to represent as good as possible the diversity and the multiculturalism of their members through a series of ideas and initiatives, and a number of traditions and events, which have transformed not only the GCR but the entire College.
For your information, a complete GCR history written by Alejandro Quiroz, GCR President 2003, is available here (.pdf).
Please find here the GCR Constitution (.pdf).
GCR Minutes and Reports
Yearly Financial Reports
President’s Report 2010
I’m sure all GCR Presidents undoubtedly write something similar at the end of the year, but 2010 in St Antony’s was both busy and successful. And perhaps because of its business, we sometimes forget to write things down, losing them in the fading memories after we have all graduated and left Oxford. This brief account is meant to acknowledge the work and involvement of St Antony’s dynamic student body and record our many collective achievements over one year.
Firstly, on the academic front. Our VP Academic Teodora Dimitrova has been active in two main areas of student anxiety: exam preparation and career prospects. Two exam preparations sessions were held in Trinity Term by preparation experts and both were very well attended. Assisted by the fabulous Jane Chanaa (star Career Adviser and also one of our alumni), Teodora has done a lot to improve the relationship between St Antony’s and the Careers Service. She deftly led the newly inaugurated Career Ambassadors team, which is part of a new program run by the Oxford Careers Service. The committee, comprised of Alexander Bristow, Jessie Hronesova and Tania Saeed, worked with Teodora to publicize career events around College and on our website, as well as assist in preparations for the Career Path Conference.
Career Path, held in May 22, attracted around 80 attendees from both St Antony’s and other Colleges. As President, I assembled a team of core volunteers, including Teodora, the Career Ambassadors, Sonia Andolz, Hannah Phillip, Danilo Limoeiro, Jaemin Shim, Andreas Knab, Joan Timoneda, and Martin Deleixhe, who were indispensible to the Conference’s success. Held in three main parts, the Conference featured Governing Body Fellows (Warden Margaret MacMillan, Avi Shlaim, Diego Sanchez-Ancochea, and surprise guest Paul Kennedy), St Antony’s Alumni (Jane Chanaa, Nigel Gould-Davies, Joanna Gorska and Christopher Abel) and current students (Sonia Andolz, Christopher Kutarna, Cathy Baldwin and Justin Zorn). The beautiful, sunny day ended with informal networking in the Buttery over glasses of wine and juice.
Moving onto welfare, 2010 was certainly one of the most active in recent GCR history! VP Welfare Marina Klavina set herself the goal of making welfare more visible and accessible to all students at St Antony’s. In a lovely gesture on Valentine’s Day, she pidged all students a Welfare Card, complete with Oxford’s emergency numbers, welfare addresses and a delicious treat. She also took all efforts to repair the long-broken condom machine in order to secure a safe provision of contraception, and this machine is now functioning adequately. At the beginning of each term, the Welfare Team put on a Welfare Tea & Cake event in the Café, where students could mingle, relax and meet their student representatives and advocates. Most importantly, Marina organised Peer Support Training, led by Oxford’s Counselling service, for six students, who are now qualified to provide help to all students at St Antony’s, both old and new. 2011 President Gergely Lodinsky participated in this program, and will thus bring a crucial welfare aspect to his new role.
The very active Men’s Officer, Danilo Limoeiro, organized two exciting and original events so far this year. The first was a talk on the history of chivalry, followed by a sophisticated whiskey tasting in Hilary Term. The second featured a presentation on mediation complete with a practice session, followed by a talk on drinking habits in Japan and South Korea and a saké tasting in Trinity Term. Both events were run with the help of St Antony’s volunteers, who certainly succeeded in both entertaining and informing our guests. Moreover, efforts were made to ensure that these wouldn’t be male-exclusive events: ladies were encouraged to attend—indeed they almost outnumbered the men! The aim of each event was to create a positive men’s network at St Antony’s, through which Danilo sought to spread and discuss positive values, such as chivalry, relaxation techniques and healthy drinking habits.
As our energetic Women’s Officer, Hannah Phillip organized a screening and discussion of the film “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” by Pedro Almodovar to promote dialogue between men and women in College. Along with Adrian Rogstad, our dynamic Social Action Coordinator, Hannah also organized an “Amnestea” on International Women’s Day, encouraging students to send letters to individual women in countries at risk. Hannah, Adrian and Stephanie Silverman also organized a film screening and fundraiser of “We Are Together” to raise money for the Agape Orphanage in South Africa, to great reception and success. Adrian succeeded in finally implementing a test Charity Levy, following the lead of previous Social Action Coordinator Remzi Cej. A total of £80 was raised in the first round, adding to various other donations totaling £300 to be built on and distributed in the upcoming terms. Also on the social action front, Lisa Pascoe led the initiative to start a charity collection at the end of Trinity to capitalize on the vast amounts of belongings that students leave behind as they leave College. With the help of Adrian, Hannah and Ben Eacott, at least four boxes of food, 20-25 bin bags of clothes and other goods such as books were delivered to Asylum Welcome in Cowley, Red Cross, Oxfam and Mind charity shops. As a whole, the Welfare Team has succeeded in adding a distinct flavour of collective action to the College, for which they are to be thanked.
The social scene of 2010 was no less exciting. This year’s GCR Social Team, led by VP Social Events Vidhya Ramalingan and supported by Linda Van der Horst, Mari van Epp and Keya Madhvani, later joined by Emily Bates and Pablo Sanz-Pena, worked tirelessly to maintain a vibrant college social life through a wide range of events and exchanges. In addition to well-attended bops each term, the team liaised with Oxford’s international societies to host events with themes spanning the globe (including Turkish, Brazilian, Balkan, Lebanese, American, and African nights). Some of the events held this year raised money for earthquake relief in both Haiti and Chile. We also showcased the amazing musical talents of St. Antony’s students with several incredibly successful Open Mic Nights, where students joined together or performed solo playing guitar, piano, ukulele, violin, drums, or using their own voices. In addition, we helped to host St. Antony’s Poker League Grand Final in the Late Bar, where seven finalists vied to be St. Antony’s poker champion. Finally, we ended the year with an amazing live performance in the Late Bar by St. Antony’s very own band, where students danced away their exam stress to the sound of their fellow Antonians’ music. The Social Team has succeeded in maintaining St Antony’s hard-earned reputation for being Oxford’s most social, welcoming and diverse College and their diligent efforts should not be underestimated.
In Hilary Term, Social Secretary for Dinners Vedica Kant organised two formal dinners at St. Antony’s, both of which were completely booked. Both dinners were special affairs not just in terms of food, courtesy our new chef, but for the post dinner entertainment. For the first dinner Vedica organised a Motown night with themed hits being played throughout the evening, and for the second, dinner was followed by entertainment from the twenty piece Magdalen Swing Band. One exchange dinner was organised with St. Hilda’s. During Trinity, given students’ busy schedule, only one formal dinner was held. However, given that it was the sole dinner in the term it was a large affair with ninety attendees. During the term, three extremely successful exchange dinners were organised with Green Templeton, St. John’s and Jesus, each of which were completely sold out and greatly enjoyed by those who attended. Dinners were back in full force in Michaelmas of 2010, where two more in-house dinners were fully booked. Entertainment after the second was the Pakistan Flood Auction, organised by Tania Saeed, raised over £1,000 for the victims of that tragedy.
The largest social event of the year was our annual Summer Ball, given the theme of ‘Paradise Lost’ and held on 29 May. Guests enjoyed a convivial evening that was thematically tailored to the clashing worlds of Heaven and Hell popularized in John Milton’s epic poem for which the ball was named. After a champagne reception and formal dinner, both of which were complemented by live musical entertainment, guests were treated to a devilish salsa dance in the depths of Hell (Late Bar). Following the salsa, guests ascended the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ for a classical waltz through the clouds (Dining Hall). After the waltz, St. Antony’s own live band, led by lead vocalist Elena Schak and supported by Peter Cole, Justin Hempson-Jones, Joan Timoneda, Francisco Vera, Tom Brothwell, Salvatore Morelli, and Patricia Espinoza, took over Heaven as DJ Gary Slater provided some hellish tunes below. One of the UK’s hottest new bands, The Cheek, headlined the event and dazzled the crowd with their newly released single “Just One Night.” The evening was enhanced by a special cocktail bar provided by Brown’s Restaurant, a late night snack provided by the Big Bang, beer provided by SAB Miller, ice cream provided by G&D’s, fudge provided by the Fudge Kitchen, and poultry provided by Alden’s of Oxford. Special thanks go to the entire Ball Committee for their tireless work: Rucker Culpepper, Sabrina Brandt, Davis Tarwater, Toni Mladenova, Florian Bersier, Sarah Ball, Kevin Jones, Peter Cole, and Ashley Hill.
The GCR Environmental Officer, Christopher Wratil, has been extremely proactive in the field of energy usage in the college. Together with the Domestic Bursar, he initiated a dialogue about how to save energy in college accommodation and administration buildings. The administration agreed to install time thermostats for the central heating system in all houses of the accommodation, and this task shall be carried out during the summer. Due to Chris’s unfailing energy and argumentative skills, the GCR also passed a motion to run bops with re-usable plastic cups instead of non-reusable ones.
Sonia Andolz, the dedicated Keeper of the Attic, has truly transformed the once-cluttered and dusty space where Antonians store their belongings during our many term breaks. With the help of several other College volunteers, Sonia has spent hours cleaning the Attic in order to make space for new students’ bags and boxes, as well as organizing a very successful Attic sale and donating the remaining items to local charities, including Oxfam. All who have seen Sonia in action cannot help but be impressed by her can-do spirit, positive attitude and organizational prowess.
One of the biggest changes made by this year’s GCR has been the reinvention of our webpage, thanks to gifted Webmaster Florian Bersier. By adding new, interactive features, Florian has made our webpage a go-to site for St Antony’s students, whether incoming or current. He has also used his expertise to assist other GCR members with publicizing and organizing events, notably the Summer Ball and the Career Path Conference. His impressive work can be viewed here: http://www.stantonys.info/gcr/
Both the Bar, ably captained by Milos Damnjanovic and the Café, seamlessly run by Saagarika Dadu, have proven to be recession-proof, with sales remaining high and customers plentiful. Linnea Sundberg took over from Saagarika in Michaelmas term, and has managed to sustain Café revenues and create a welcoming atmosphere in our beloved Buttery. Thanks to all three of them, as well as all the employees of both the Buttery and its alter ego the Late Bar, for dedicating hours of precious study time to maintaining these services throughout the year. A heartfelt thanks is expressed by all members of the College.
Although parts of the College gym have been broken since the beginning of last term, Sports Officers Sean O’Leary, Peter Cole and most recently Max Stanford have made several efforts to replace old equipment. In particular, we have purchased a new exercise bike designed to cater for people with injuries, and will replace the broken treadmill with a state-of-the-art machine by Michelmas term. By the end of 2010, the gym was seen sporting a brand new treadmill, which is already in high-use by College members.
As for our teams themselves, St Antony’s has seen some encouraging results in rowing, football and ice hockey this year.
The Boat Club will look back on the year 2009-10 as the first chapter in a new volume of its history. The men’s squad enters the year 2010-11 with 15 returning rowers, whereas this year we had 3. We will be strengthened by £2,000 from BCG, whereas this year we had no such sponsorship. This year we organized more outings, convened more coached sessions, and entered more boats in regattas than any time in recent memory. Studded with extraordinarily talented rowers, supported by a dedicated committee, and with the unflinching support of the GCR in their backs, the St. Antony’s Boat Club is surely going to make its presence felt on the Isis in 2010-11.
Several successes and individuals deserve to be circled out. President Saagarika Dadu and Capitanos Peiro Tortola and Katarina Uhl performed a miraculous feat in organizing many successful initiation events, which inspired many allegiances to the Boat Club. Many returning members and old rowers contributed no less energetically, and they continue to be the Club’s most valuable asset. Their hard labour paid off soon, as both the Men’s and Women’s crews booked victories at Christ Church Regatta in Michaelmas. In Hilary, talk of blades was in the air, as M1 bumped time after time in Torpids—only to be denied their deserved trophies by a klaxon on the final day. The other crews battled no less valiantly. And finally, in Trinity, SABC entered an unprecedented third men’s crew in Summer Eights, further evidencing the tremendous enthusiasm for rowing at our College. W1 showed incredible grit, not allowing mishaps early in the tournament to prevent them from rowing the full length of the river on the final day. M2 experienced the full range of bumps-race emotions, trouncing Keble and Teddy Hall on Days 1 and 2, but finding an intractable opponent in teletubby-clad St. John’s, and ultimately conceding a bump to Balliol. But it was M1 who fought the toughest fight. On four successive days, they sparred with Wadham the entire length of the river, coming ever so close to delivering on the Club’s motto: ‘mors a tergo’ – death from behind!
St. Antony’s Boat Club was more than a formidable opponent on the river this year. On behalf of new President Andreas Knab, I want to thank everyone who participated in this community and in the sport of rowing this year, especially our captains Erin Kelly, Henrik Jonstromer, Katharina Uhl, Linda Van Horst, Piero Tortola, and Rolf Fredheim. Together we created something that we can be proud of, and in the process we enriched not only the Boat Club, but also our College and, perhaps not least, each other.
St. Antony’s Football Club, led by Captains Erlend Grøner Krogsta and Mat Savelli, approached a season clouded in uncertainty as only 3-4 players were left from the previous year. Thanks to an aggressive recruitment campaign we were able to secure enough players to continue having two teams. Following last year’s strong second place in the first division, the first team struggled to gel the potentially lethal mix of American marines, Catalonian separatists, British experience and Russian intelligence to win games. After several narrow defeats and draws that should have been wins, we eventually had to accept a bitter relegation. On the bright side, the second team offered stellar performances all year through, and ended up winning the third division in the face of stiff competition. As soon as the season was over, the team relocated to Essaouira, Morocco to play and eat grilled sardines. Based in a stunning villa in the middle of town, we played football on the beach every day, teaching technically gifted Moroccans a thing or two about the merits of organization. The fruits of the trip were reaped when we proceeded to win the Mansfield Road 6-a-side tournament in a very impressive fashion. The season was crowned with what must be a club record: an 8-0 victory over Nuffield in the annual unfriendly.
It has been another hugely successful season for the Oxford Ice Hockey Club, in which St Antony’s is well represented with three players. Chana Hoffmitz this year not only captained the women’s Ice Hockey Club to Varsity glory, but scored a crucial goal in what proved to be a closely fought 5-4 victory over the hated tabs. Playing to a raucous capacity crowd of over 900 at the Oxford Ice Rink, the 90th Men’s Blues VM was an intense affair, with the lead changing hands five times. Not shy of drama, Oxford tied the game at 6-6 with thirty seconds remaining, before winning it in sudden-death overtime. Antonian Calum Nicholson was named Oxford Man of the Match, turning aside 31 shots as team goaltender. Following the VM, the men’s team entered the playoffs as the second seed in the league, and went on to win all three playoff rounds against Cambridge, London and then Newcastle in the final, thereby successfully defending their National Championship title from 2009. Antonian Johannes Sjostrand, the heart of the team’s defence corps, played a crucial role in limiting opponents’ chances for a clear shot on goal throughout the playoffs, and was named man of the match in the final at the Sheffield Arena for his outstanding work.
On the academic side, the St Antony’s International Review (STAIR), Oxford’s only peer-reviewed academic journal of international affairs, had a landmark year. Celebrating its fifth anniversary, STAIR launched two major initiatives aimed at expanding the journal’s scope and impact: issues are now available online through IngentaConnect (www.ingentaconnect.com/content/stair/stair), and beginning next year, the journal will have a new format, containing both a themed section and a general section of articles on various international affairs subjects. In addition to introducing these significant changes, STAIR published two issues this year as usual. The first issue—STAIR’s tenth issue overall—was edited by Diarmuid Torney and Annika Greup and focuses on the theme “New Directions in Climate Change Politics,” while the second issue, edited by Grace Bolton and Sarah Steele, addresses “Secession, Sovereignty, and the Quest for Legitimacy.” Reaffirming STAIR’s founding principles, both issues include contributions by leading academics as well as emerging scholars. To mark the publication of each issue, STAIR hosted themed panels, featuring both academics and policymakers, at Blackwell’s Bookshop in Oxford. STAIR, though led by Managing Directors Henning Tamm (2009-10) and Nicole De Silva (2010-11), continued to be a group effort, with David Blagden, Martin Deleixhe, Evert Faber van der Meulen, Adam Freeman, Nina Hall, Justin Hempson-Jones, Ryan Lang, Sophia Mann, Laurence McGivern, Jane Park, Andrea Rüdiger, Katri Saarenheimo, Nora Stappert, Sitara Thobani, and Linda van der Horst standing out as major contributors.
Finally, it falls to me to thank our beloved College Administration on behalf of many appreciative students at St Antony’s. As usual, the support from College staff at all levels has been indispensible to the work of our students. We are appreciative, as always, of our Warden’s willingness to get involved in student initiatives, as well as her unfailing enthusiasm and support for our projects. I also thank Penny Cooke for her dedication and availability to students. The Bursar Allan Taylor and Domestic Bursar Peter Robinson must be thanked for their responsiveness to student concerns throughout the entire year and for working with the GCR on a new and very satisfactory financial agreement. College Registrar Margaret Couling must also be thanked for her dedication to maintaining a welcoming environment in College, and in particular for taking the lead on offering Peer Support Training for our students. Karin Leighton has been busy as usual accommodating all of our housing needs and must be commended on her energy in doing so. Likewise, Rachael Connelly and Gillian Crook have been busy since before the beginning of term responding to students’ needs and concerns, dealing with anything from academic to social issues year round, always with a smile. The Development Office, in particular Emma Tracy and Ranj Majumdar, has been truly fantastic this year in both facilitating and funding student’s events and I hope this newly-invigorated relationship will last in the years to come. IT Manager Christopher Hoskin and Librarian Rosamund Campbell must also be commended for their hard work in ensuring that our students have access to all the academic resources they will need during their time at St Antony’s. Thanks must also go to the Steward and the entire Dining Hall staff for their tasty food and perennially cheerful dispositions, as well as to the cleaning staff for maintaining our accommodation and buildings spotless. Last but not least, I would like to thank each and every Porter for their helpfulness and enthusiasm towards students, whether at six in the morning or eleven at night. These words are surely not enough to express our gratitude to all of the above, but may they be recorded nonetheless. Here’s to an equally successful and plentiful upcoming year!
GCR President 2011