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Wellbeing Boxes for Truro Medical Students

Powerlifting Competition Standard Equipment

New fencing equipment

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.

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. 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 2020-21

In the 2020-21 academic year, colleges and departments awarded £90,760.20 in Alumni Annual Fund grants to 56 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.

New large carbon fiber polo boats have been ordered, built, and collected. These have been used to enable people who previously would not have been able to get involved in the game and represent the University no matter their size. This is important for not just the wellbeing of the students involved in the sport but also for the performance of the team. Canoe Polo organisers can now select teams purely on ability not on who will fit in the boats, therefore the team will be much more competitive in competitions including BUCS.

"Having new boats to train in has been an absolute game changer. It means we can replicate game conditions playing full 5v5 matches. This has led to all teams winning games and leaving our opponents shocked at how much better we are. Furthermore, it’s great to see results on the score sheet but even better to have a greater take up among all people no matter their height."

The CGES Take-Away Night was a project that brought together, congratulated, and rewarded students across Geography and Environmental Science after what has been an incredibly challenging year. With many student societies and sports’ groups unable to go ahead with their usual events, students did not have many positive events to look forward to. This event provided a chance for students across all four-year groups to take an evening off to enjoy a take-away, and chat to their course mates. The project team ran four individual events, one for each year group, within which every student was offered the opportunity to select their take-away of choice from a range of options in both Falmouth and Penryn. For many third-year students, this evening came just hours after their final dissertation submission, allowing them to completely kick-back and relax.

"Thank you guys so much for organising this, we haven’t had much of an opportunity to get to know people, so it makes a big difference."

The Choral Society completed two virtual concerts involving the online practices required beforehand with their musical director, the recording and submission of video and audio by members and the compilation and editing of said material by two editors (an alumnus and student) whose fees were mostly covered by the grant. The end result was then uploaded to their social media and shared by members. The experience benefited the members through giving them a common goal to come together on and helping strengthen the community, as well as being of benefit with regards to their musical knowledge and being a generally uplifting and enjoyable experience in a time when such things were all the more valuable.

"As a student member of the society I have really enjoyed having these virtual recordings to work towards, I feel that it has made the experience of online rehearsals as close to what we experienced in person as they could possibly be. I also feel that doing these virtual recordings has really helped to improve my singing and understanding of music."

The project team established the University of Exeter’s first roundnet club thanks to funding from the Alumni Annual Fund. They run training sessions at least once a week and have plans to extend this offering as the weather improves. They have also run trips to the beach, as roundnet is well suited to sand, and organised joint excursions with other societies (both Guild and AU) such as Exeter Open Water Swimming Society, Ultimate Frisbee, and Exeter Rounders Society. They also hosted Round 2 of the Regional Tournament (West Division) organised by GB Roundnet.

"EURS has provided a great and inclusive environment for meeting people."

The equipment purchased using the grant saw widespread use with beginners and experienced fencers alike using it regularly. Especially the new women’s fit jackets which provide a distinct improvement over their pervious equipment. 

Funding from the Alumni Annual fund has enabled the creation of a daylong event ‘A BIG day out’ on the topic of Compassion and Education, which included contributions from 22 world leading keynote speakers. In addition, the Alumni Annual Fund enabled the project team to employ and stage a creative practitioner to create ‘The Poetry of Compassion’ on the topic of Art of Compassion. Through online and in-person workshops attendees created a series of poems which were displayed during the festival at the daily Compassionate Cafés.

"The BIG day out was really inspiring and so thought-provoking. I was completely in awe of the speakers and what they stand for. I felt completely privileged to be at the event and to attend the workshops. Thank you."

The money provided by the Alumni Annual Fund has been used to pay five folk music artists - Mera Royle, Ali Levack, Katherine Priddy, Jackie Oates, and Josie Duncan to give live music performances online, followed by Q&A sessions. This has showcased the University’s support of folk musicians and the ways in which the alumni fund promotes the arts, even in lockdown. It has also allowed society members, alumni, and the public to ask professional musicians questions, about performance, songwriting, and playing. This has not only helped students to explore the potential of a career in folk music but has made up for the cancellation of live music events in 2020 due to the coronavirus.

"Benefits have been being able to produce events at a time when live music has been affected heavily by covid, which is so good for the musicians and the fans. The fact we can interview and have artists play who inspire us is another bonus and bringing folk fans together.”

Formula Student is a highly regarded student project within engineering, automotive and motorsport industries, with many employers expecting this experience or equivalent in their graduate role applicants. XRacing provides a fantastic and unrivalled opportunity for student members to enhance their employability within these industries and beyond; providing comprehensive and diverse experiences for students to use as examples for hard and soft-skill competencies in job interviews and assessments. The Formula Student project allows students to gain ‘hands-on’ and real-life project experience in engineering, business planning and project management.

"Formula Student has been my single most formative experience of university. In the over three years I have been in the team, XRacing has allowed me to apply what I have learned from my degree to a real-life engineering challenge while also developing project management and team management skills. As a result, I'm confident I'll leave university with a far greater belief in my capabilities as an engineer than I would have enjoyed without it."

From 1 - 5 of February, Nightline hosted the Mental Health Ally week - a week of talks, discussions, and panels from worldwide experts in mental health in an aim to equip participants with the right knowledge and tools to become better mental health allies to both themselves and those around them. They used funding from the Alumni Annual Fund to put together a selection of expert speakers in resilience, perfectionism, misunderstood mental health conditions, racism, and mental health, and many more.

"I [now] feel much better educated on mental health issues, as well as ways of guiding other people to additional help/ support should they need it. A really insightful and thought-provoking week which has taught me so much!"

Our Alumni Annual Fund project consisted of acquiring new competition standard powerlifting equipment for our society. This allowed our members to better prepare for competitions, as well as giving the Society the opportunity to help more with local and regional level competitions. Although elite level lifters benefit the most from competition IPF approved equipment, all members benefit from it significantly by being more prepared for competitions and being inspired by their peers, thus making faster progress.

“Using the competition equipment allowed me to better prepare for competition, reduce the stress the day of that comes from using unknown equipment and allowed me to better perform."

This grant was used in its entirety to purchase an advanced CPR manikin. Until now, we had CPR manikins that were the standard head and chest without any legs or arms. These were sufficient for practicing CPR and had some limited airway functionality. This new piece of equipment has many more features that enable more detailed scenarios and provide for more realistic teaching. 

“We were fortunate enough to be able to use the QCPR doll in our Festival of Discovery training sessions this year. It provided society members an amazing opportunity to practice the first aid skills that they had been learning all throughout the year in a closer to life scenario than we've been able to provide before due to the doll!”

The aim of this project was to host two annual Sport and Health Sciences (SHS) conferences aimed at undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) students, in 2021 and 2022. Due to current COVID restrictions, the conference in 2021 was held online on 7 May 2021. The online format included a day of oral presentations, with two virtual poster sessions, and a closing address from Professor Alan Barker. Presentations and posters were marked with feedback provided by academics in the department, and prizes were awarded for the highest scoring presentations.

"A massive well done​ on the whole conference today! As an undergrad coming along and hoping to gain some insights and a chance to connect - smashed it! I joined about half 10 and thought I'd stop by for a bit, check out the posters and maybe a presentation or two - I’ve stayed all day - a compliment to you all because you've put on an event that has kept me engaged all day!​"

The project was to involve as many women, and girls in a weekend of training and confidence boosting. The group went to women and waves, based on Fistral beach in Newquay and stayed two nights with 2x2.5ish hour in the water sessions with the surf school. The instructors were great – really detailed oriented and catered for all abilities on the trip.

"At Exeter University Surf Club we were so excited to organise our 2 day trip with Women and Waves last week. As EUSC Women's Competition and Coaching Sec, my focus this year has been on driving greater inclusivity and building confidence in the club. W&W helped so much with this last week. At EUSC our already talented female surfers' progress was aided significantly by the exceptional video analysis, indispensible advice by the coaches and by the trip running so smoothly thanks to Rachel and Monica. Girls (and a few guys!) broke the barrier of getting out back, practiced nailing pop ups on unbroken green waves, worked on bottom turns and even some longboard cross stepping. So, thank you so much! We will be back again next year for more lessons and would love you to come and support us at BUCs/Varsity."

"Our project has been designed with the aim of providing our swimmers more opportunities to improve their endurance and technique. Given our limited training facilities, we have looked for different ways to enhance our training sessions. Therefore, we spent our annual fund money on resistance equipment."

Funding was used for a weeklong festival at Maketank in Exeter City Centre. Performing with EUTCO’s Fringe show ‘Amber Trap’ we performed both ‘Amber Trap’ and ‘Me, Myself, Myself, Myself, Myself’ for the Maketank Mini Fest. The awarded funding permitted the students of our productions to mitigate financial difficulties and allowed them to attend the event.

"The subsidy granted to us from the University meant that I could afford to go to the minifest this summer."

The Exefactor was a Talent Show competition involving the students and societies at the University dedicated to connecting our community in Exeter together after a tough time of isolation, while raising funds and awareness in aid of Meningitis Research Foundation (registered charity no. 1091105).

"The Exefactor was an extremely enjoyable and well organised project. It served as a platform for University of Exeter students to showcase their talent, all whilst raising money for an amazing charity. The range of talents on display broadcasted the variety of accomplished students that study at the University. Entering myself into the audition process pushed me out of my comfort zone but in doing so certainly increased my self-confidence."

This project sent out 25 care packages to students who sign up for WiMSoc membership (free thanks to the Annual Fund!) to boost student morale during these difficult times and raise awareness of the free membership.

"I was super grateful to receive a wellbeing box! It was beautifully packaged, and it was very reassuring to know that they were all packed wearing PPE. I loved having the choice of what we had in the boxes as it made sure it'd be really applicable to my self-care routine, and it was just a lovely personal touch. Best of all, it was free! I really appreciate the Exeter Annual Fund and Truro WiMSoc for making it happen, would be lovely if this continued for years to come!"

The Women in Conservation Conference involves gathering female speakers from across the conservation field, who provide a discussion of their work as well as how they have overcome the societal obstacles they have faced and provide tips and guidance for future conservationists. It is open to both students and alumni of the university and those outside the University. This year’s event had over 350 attendees from across the world and a large proportion of the 350 participants were University of Exeter students. The committee had never met in person, yet were able to create an incredible event, with a diverse audience of all genders and ages attending. The speakers were incredible, and the project organisers hoped the event helped inspire the conservationists of the future, both in Exeter students and beyond. The grant was instrumental in enabling the committee to put on the conference, helping them to advertise and reach a huge audience and garner enthusiasm for the event.

"Congratulations to organizers and participants, this was great! Amazing work! It's been a great evening listening to everyone's talks and very inspirational. Even more incredible that you organised it all virtually without meeting! You should all be proud of yourselves; it makes me miss being at Exeter with all the incredible people coming through their degrees into conservation! Thank you!"