St John's College Alumni eNewsletter - January 2024

College and Alumni News for January 2024

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! I am delighted to be writing to you from Hong Kong. I have been in Asia attending the Global Young Scientists Summit. It has given me a wonderful opportunity to meet with alumni in Singapore, Malaysia and now Hong Kong. As we start a new year, it is often valuable to reflect back on everything that we achieved in the past year. 

St John's was very busy and productive throughout 2023. The College has been working hard to improve its sustainability, and you can read more about this below. It has been a delight to welcome so many people to the College, through events such as Oxford Open Doors and the Pollution Pods installation. Our students have been working as hard as ever, and you can also read a little about our new Head of Student Wellbeing below. 

When I return to Oxford, Hilary term will be under way and students will be preparing for a demanding term. I wish you all the best for a wonderful 2024, and hope to see many of you throughout the year.

All best wishes


Professor Dame Sue Black, Baroness Black of Strome

Snapshot of College Life 2023

Marking St Brice's Day

In 2008 a mass burial site of at least 35 men and boys was discovered underneath St John's during preparations for building Kendrew Quad. Archaeologists suggested that the men had been killed during the St Brice's Day massacre on the 13 November 1002, when King Aethelred II ordered the execution of all Danes living in England after hearing of a Danish assassination plot against him.

Last year, the College marked St Brice's Day with an interdisciplinary programme of talks and events, investigating what the archaeological and forensic evidence can tell us about life in eleventh-century Oxford, including the science of forensic facial reconstruction! We were joined on this journey by a mix of students, academics and members of the local community. It was very moving when we unveiled the head of one of the Vikings (it was from the skeleton that had been the subject of the first of my Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in 2022) – we’re calling him Johannes – to accept him into the College’s art collection. He’s currently sitting in the President’s Office, looking out over Front Quad but will find a permanent home and be on display soon.

You can read more about our St Brice's Day celebrations here

Green Impact Award

Green Impact is a national scheme providing simple and effective ways for staff and students to improve sustainability in universities. This year, the College joined the University of Oxford’s Green Impact programme, alongside 39 other teams consisting of various other colleges, departments, and faculties.

St John’s has been working hard to improve sustainability through a number of initiatives. This includes the establishment of a Sustainability Working Group in 2022 that includes representatives from across the College community. Each individual department within the College is also actively pursuing ways to move forward with sustainability in mind, and this is reflected in our Green Impact Award.

Further details on the College’s sustainability activities can be found on our website. Many congratulations to the team championing all our efforts in this important area! 

Pollution Pods

Last term we were delighted to host an innovative installation by artist Michael Pinsky in Front Quad, in collaboration with the University's new Oxford Cultural Programme and the Environmental Sustainability Team. The Pods raised awareness about air pollution and its impact on human health. The enclosed structures simulated various polluted environments, allowing attendees to experience the air quality of different cities around the world.

Over 4,000 people experienced the Pods and it was an excellent way both to showcase our work on sustainability and to encourage first-time visitors into St John's.

Student Wellbeing

Last term we were also pleased to welcome Hanne Clark as the Head of Student Wellbeing for the College. Hanne's role is to support students through all aspects of their college and university life and to help create an environment where everyone can thrive.

Student wellbeing continues to be of great importance to the College and we are delighted that Hanne and her team are able to support our students throughout their studies. We look forward to sharing more about her work with you all. 

St John's College Boat Club Dinner

St John’s College Boat Club are delighted to announce an alumni reunion event for people that previously rowed, at any level, with us.

On Saturday 16th March 2024 (Hilary Week 9), you’re invited to join them from noon at the boat house, where they’ll have rowing outings for alumni all afternoon, and the chance to meet old friends.

Find our more and register to attend

Alumni Events

Gaudy 1981-1982

Friday 15 March 2024

Gaudy 1994-1995

Friday 22 March 2024

Professor Carolyne Larrington's Retirement Dinner

Friday 5 April 2024

Gaudy 2010-2011

Friday 21 June 2024

Gaudy 2014-2015

Friday 28 June 2024

President's Lunch - CHANGE OF DATE

Wednesday 9 July 2024 

Alumni Guest Room Bookings

Alumni can check availability, book and pay for rooms within Alumni House online. The booking system can be found on the Alumni Benefits page of our website.

To make a booking, you will need to enter a promotional code to identify yourself as an alumnus/a and this can be found in the monthly e-newsletter.

Please click here to find answers to frequently asked questions, along with further details about the Alumni Guest Rooms.

Alumni Common Room - Opening Times

Just a reminder that the opening times for the Alumni Common Room are:

Monday to Friday: 9.30am-12.30pm and 1.30-5pm 

To gain entry please ring the bell for the office.

Please note that the Alumni Common Room is closed at weekends, on Bank Holidays and between Christmas and New Year.

Personal Information Form

In the New Year we will be sending a Personal Information Form (PIF) to most of the College alumni to ensure the details we hold on you are up to date. Do keep and eye out for this, and let us know if you have any questions.