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Supported projects

Donations made to the Alumni Annual Fund support projects led by students and helping students. Donations of any amount directly impact the quality of the Exeter experience for our students, and the money is available across University departments, Sport, the Students’ Guild and Students' Union, and for all campuses. These donations are especially beneficial for students’ clubs and societies as well as study groups and student-led campaigns and projects. Read on to find out more about some of the diverse projects and initiatives that can go ahead because of regular donations from alumni and supporters.

Alumni Annual Fund, Summary 2019-20

Currently more than 100 projects are being supported by generous donations made by Exeter graduates and supporters to the Alumni Annual Fund. All these projects improve the university experience for students and the majority of projects are led and organised by students themselves – improving living and studying at Exeter for current and future generations. Many of these also enhance university links with local communities in Devon and Cornwall.

In the 2019-20 academic year, colleges and departments awarded £49,700.86 in Alumni Annual Fund grants to 78 different projects.

See below to find out more about some of the diverse and exciting initiatives that are supported by donations from our alumni and supporters.

The Good Lad Initiative

The Good Lad Initiative promotes positive masculinity to young men. Their workshops focus on a range of important topics such as sexual harassment and equal gender relationships, mental health, peer pressure & bystander intervention.

Cycling Participation Booster

This involved the purchase of a small fleet of bikes to be used by Cycling Club members. Cycling is an expensive sport and the provision of club road bikes boosts inclusivity amongst the membership. By offering more bikes, the Club also hoped to boost female participation and promote a healthy and active lifestyle, as well as improving student mental health through exercise and exploring the Devon countryside..

Trampolining Mat Replacements

A grant allowed the Trampolining Club to replace three crash mats and several roll out mats, to enable their members to practice and attempt new skills in a safe manner.

University Triathlon/Swimming Funds

Funding to allow the Triathlon and Swimming clubs to train at the Olympic sized pool in Mount Kelly, and to improve the starting blocks at the St Luke’s swimming pool.

New Tables for the Table Tennis Club

The funding was used to buy three new tables; one for St Luke's and two for Streatham, to increase participation in Table Tennis. 

Female Inclusivity for Clay Pigeon Shooting

A grant to fund the purchase of a new lightweight, short barrelled gun to benefit the growing female membership of the Clay Pigeon Shooting team, who came second in the BUCS Clay Pigeon Competition in December 2019.

New Fireflies for Sailing Club

A grant from the Alumni Annual Fund, alongside income raised from crowdfunding, boat sales and AU investment, allowed the Sailing Club to replace six of their oldest boats with new Fireflies.

New Rifle for Rifle Club

Funding to replace an ageing smallbore rife for the Rifle Club.

South-West Surf Varsity 2020

The Alumni Annual Fund supported the first ever South-West Surf Varsity between Exeter, Plymouth and Falmouth universities, held in Newquay in March 2020.

Committee Training

Specific training workshops for the committees of sports teams, to help improve the smooth running of teams and personal development. 

Applied Project Competition

A chance for students to develop their employability skills by working in teams to solve real-life problems set by local businesses.

Boob Ball

An inclusive and fun volleyball tournament open to all, to fundraise for breast cancer awareness. The Alumni Annual Fund grant sponsored the hall hire, so that all money raised could go to this great cause.

The Witness Politics Journal

Publishing costs for The Witness, a politics journal edited and written wholly by students.

Competition Preparation Sessions for the Powerlifting Society

Funding for a fully qualified coach to get powerlifting beginners confident and ready to compete safely and at the best of their ability, as well as competition standard equipment.

YMCA Shoebox Event

A grant for wrapping materials and handmade cards for the ‘wrapping event’, where students decorated and personalised ‘shoeboxes’ of locally sourced Christmas gifts for homeless people in Exeter. 

Women in Media Panel

Travel costs for Monicha Tully, editor of Arcadia magazine, to come to Exeter and speak to female students who aspire to a career in the media, giving handy advice to break into the field.

Plastic Bank

A project by student enterprise society Enactus to build a ‘plastic bank’ in Ghana. This will exchange currency for plastic, thereby encouraging recycling and sustainability as well as supporting an otherwise deprived community.

Theatre with Teeth workshops

A series of professionally led theatre workshops for both students and also members of the local community.

National Women’s Health Conference

Funding for the National Women’s Health Conference which is organised and hosted by students from Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society. Speakers of national standing lecture and deliver workshops, to educate Exeter students on women’s health and improve their career prospects in this area.

Exeter Concert Band Tour

Funding to subsidise the cost of travel to Rotterdam, making the tour more inclusive for students who would otherwise struggle to afford this opportunity. The tour has now been postponed until Easter 2021.

Training Equipment for the First Aid Society

Funding to purchase defibrillators, oxygen and etonox cylinders for the First Aid Society to train with. These students provide free first aid at events across the south-west, including Exeter Chiefs rugby matches.

Theatre at Exeter M&D Room Equipment

Funding to purchase technical equipment for the M&D theatre room, which is available for use by all students.

Peninsula Medical School Debate

A collegiate debate in medical ethics between students of Exeter and Plymouth medical schools, with a keynote speaker and Q&A session.

Contemporary Choir in the Community

An outreach collaboration between Contemporary Choir, disadvantaged Exeter primary schools and Age UK and local care homes, with singing practise and coaching and a concert.


Another international development project from Enactus – this time, helping women in Kenya and Zanzibar produce and sell biochar, improving both gender equality and sustainability for the communities involved.


Each year, the University community holds one of the biggest Diwali events in Exeter. Everyone is welcome from the university and the city, with the aim being to both celebrate the festival and also to educate the attendees about South Asian culture and the Hindu religion in a fun way for all the family. 

Judo Coaching Qualification

Part funding for two members of the Judo club to qualify as coach – not only for their own personal development, but so they can teach other members of the club. 

Positive Wellbeing Support Group

Weekly student-led peer support group and safe space for students with low mood, led by trained facilitators.

Society Training Programme Resources

Clearer and more accessible training for society committee members, including 'how-to' videos and interactive resources. Not only will this allow the societies to run at maximum efficiency and provide more opportunities for their members, it will also act as personal development for the committee members themselves.

Wild Film Fest 2020

Wild Film Fest has been running for the last 5 years and celebrates student wildlife photography and film. The event showcases student talent and is open to students all across the country Funding was used to cover venue, printing and promotion costs as well as expenses for experts who gave lectures and delivered workshops on wildlife conservation.

The Beach Clean Project

Funding for new, extendable litter picking equipment. This society collaborates on Cornish beach cleans with local organisations as well as educating the student and town population on marine pollution.

ACS Bkchat

A regular debate event to advance social discourse on campus. 

Ghanaian Book Connection

A student led initiative to create connections between UK and Ghanaian schools through the recycling and re-purposing of unused textbooks. Funding was needed for DBS checks so that students could work with local school pupils in Cornwall on this project.

Camborne School of Mines Mens Hockey Equipment

Funding will be used to purchase necessary equipment such as face masks, keeper helmets, hockey balls, cones, bibs, water bottles and kit bags for training and matches.

EcoSoc Bird Ringing Equipment

Funding for equipment to run ringing demonstrations, which not only provide critical data for the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), but also allows networking, insight into job areas that require ringing licenses, and valuable experience with the animals essential for anyone interested in pursuing a career involving birds.

Sarah Houten GeogSoc Lecture

Speaker expenses for Sarah Houten, a well-known adventurer who recently circumnavigated the northern hemisphere by bike and rowing boat, battling with adverse conditions and mental health along the way.

Volleyball Womens Team Development

Funding to purchase new team tops that will be in the blue and gold colours and the new SU Volleyball logo, in line with the rest of the teams at our campus, to be used by current and future teams.

Radio Falmouth

Funding to purchase two computers to continue to record the campus radio station

Creation of a University BAME Students Journal

The aim of the project is to establish a new journal to give a voice to BAME students across the University. The journal will have a BAME student editorial board, and invite a range of contributions including written and visual, to give space to the experience and thoughts of BAME students. This project will sit alongside an Education Incubator Project run by Professor Jerri Daboo on 'Deolonising the Curriculum, Diversifying the University'.

Exclamat!on Annual Conference

Exclamat!on: An Interdisciplinary Journal, is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal for postgraduate research and taught English Literature students across the UK. Funding for a one-day conference in Exeter for students to present their research, gain feedback, network and hone their presentation skills.

Society for Medieval Archaelogy Annual Student Colloquium

The event provided students and early career researchers in archaeology  with an important opportunity to share and discuss their research in a friendly and supportive environment, welcoming papers which span the medieval period, covering all geographic areas, and with interdisciplinary approaches.

Humanities for All

Humanities For All seeks to engage students from groups including, but not limited to, the following: disabled students, mature students, BAME students, students from low participation neighborhoods, first generation students, returners to learning, students who have come to us via ACCESS courses / foundation routes, LGBTQ students, students who live at home, etc. It runs networking and employability events, provides a framework for students to devise and produce events such as  networking, visiting speakers, symposia, careers advice, peer mentoring etc. 

International Students Theatre Festival

An event to showcase the creative work of international students, with workshops and demonstrations across the city centre to include the local community as well as fellow students.

HEYTA Exeter 2020

In order to expand academic discussion and cooperation in the student community, the China-UK Higher Education Young Talent Alliance (HEYTA) was launched in 2018 to encourage student communication and collaboration. HEYTA is operated by a committee of students from universities affiliated with the China-UK Association. Funding was for a conference in Exeter, which has now been postponed until 2021.

Cymbeline in the Anthropocene

Funding was intended for a group of drama students to perform at this event in Wales. However, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, this event was transformed into a series of online workshops which produced a virtual ‘zine’ of student work inspired by current issues such as the pandemic, climate change and Black Lives Matter, all within the framework of Shakespeare’s lesser known play Cymbeline. The group hope to showcase their work in Wales next year.

Mapping the Portuguese Community in East London

This pilot project will be the first stage of a mapping exercise of the Lusophone community in Newham. It will involve final-year students in the Portuguese programme at Exeter who will be trained to conduct semi-structured, face-to-face interviews in Portuguese to members of the community. The main output will be a public digital resource created by the students and an edition of a special Lusophone section in a Language Exepress issue (an online magazine created by the Foreign Languages Centre and Modern Languages and Cultures department for all students). The funding will cover travel expenses, time dedicated to data collection, transcription and translation of a selection of the data and work on building the digital resource.

Tragicomedy Podcast

Our main objective is to request funding for a tragicomedy radio drama podcast for its first season and to empower students to gain the tools to create their own podcasts and work in a professional theatre environment. The funds were used for production costs and to hire a radio drama advisor to run a day-long workshop.

US Presidential Election Events 2020

The project consists of four lectures plus a roundtable designed to capitalise on student interest in the U.S. Presidential Election that will take place on 3 November 2020. The funding will cover expenses for the expert speakers who will attend the event.

Exetera Magazine Print Issues

Publishing costs for the Exetera magazine, which is edited by students and features contributions in a variety of genres from students across the University. This year’s theme was ‘Plastic’.

Widening Participation Placement Assistance

Living expenses for law students from disadvantaged backgrounds to undertake internships in a London legal firm.

Canadian Alumni Coming Back

This award will be used to pay for a Canadian law alumnus to return to Exeter to give talks to students about their own experiences and to lead a short series of competitions and other events focused on employability and job opportunities in Canada.

OutLaw Festival

An event for Law students on the Penryn campus, ran by the Flamank Law Society.

Exeter Medics Netball Club

Funding for equipment and competition costs for the Exeter Medics Netball Club.

South-West Orthopaedic Conference

A conference involving expert speakers and practical workshops, to increase the skill set and employability of medical students who wish to specialise in orthopaedic care.

South-West Plastic Surgery Conference

A conference to bring insight into the plastic surgery sector to Exeter medical students.

Truro MedSoc

Sports equipment for the Truro MedSoc, which will help to improve links between students from Exeter and Truro and the Cornish community.

Kernow Conservation

A student-led initiative which works in partnership with other conservation organisations, local Cornish businesses and landowners and the University of Exeter. They aim to create and promote learning by providing hands-on experience for students who will be able to practice and gain new skills in wildlife conservation. Funding was for the necessary tools and equipment for ecological and environmental surveying, practical habitat management and research/project activities. 

‘Life after your PhD’ Seminar Series

A speaker series to showcase the variety of career paths in life and environmental sciences which are open to PhD students after they graduate.

Project Management Training for Wildlife Conservation Students

Research has shown that one of the most sought-after skills for a career in conservation is project management. This well-established training workshop provides attendees with a thorough understanding of project management through a series of participatory group exercises, handing students the knowledge of project management theory along with the practical tools to apply the approach in the future.

Women in Conservation

An event to empower women in conservation with a selection of revolutionary female leaders from across the conservation sector who will deliver a short presentation on their career journey and the challenges they have faced, followed by a Q&A and networking. Funding for promotion and speaker expenses.

X-Racing Formula Student

Run in the UK by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, Formula Student is Europe's most established educational motorsport competition. Involving more than 400 universities and competing in more than 10 countries around the world, the competition gives students the opportunity to apply skills gained during their degree in a competitive environment. It provides valuable experience of working in a team of contemporaries to undertake both the engineering and business elements of this major engineering design and manufacturing project. Formula Student is highly regarded by industrial recruiters and attracts sponsorship from many prominent companies. The Exeter team needs funding for equipment and competition costs.

Pint of Science 2020

An outreach event held by Exeter scientists in the local community, to entertain and educate the interested public in innovative science.

Digital Upskilling Project

The digital upskilling project is a series of informative lectures and workshops, run by students (paid) as a method of teaching students from all disciplines, important skills such as Python programming, data analysis, and digital design.

The Undergraduate Science Journal

The Undergraduate Science Journal aims to give students the chance at having some of their work published for the first time whilst at university, with the added benefit of peer review from postgraduate students in the same field. Funding was needed for publishing costs.

Exeter University Anglican Chapels

Funding towards new banners and noticeboards for the Mary Harris Memorial Chapel. The Chapel is a quiet space on campus, open to students and staff of all faiths and none, as well as visitors and the local community. However, many students/staff do not know where the Chapel is, or are unaware that it is open to them. Freshening up the exterior of the Chapel would send a message to the whole University community that this building is a warm and welcoming space which is open to them for quiet contemplation.

Global Opportunities Sustainability Project

Study and work abroad placements provide students with enriching and invaluable personal and academic development opportunities. However, with climate emergencies being declared and an increased awareness of sustainable behaviours it's important that we provide students with viable means to offset their carbon footprint. Funding was awarded to provide resources and information sessions to support students in developing sustainable behaviours and guide them in being proactive in carbon offsetting.

The Playful Academic

This project wishes to establish the ‘Playful University Games Library’ foster an academic culture that supports joyous, authentic transition to the co-creation of knowledge and skills, while counteracting a number of barriers to creativity and wellbeing. This will be done through the purchase of games rooted in educational pedagogy.