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Cornwall Bird Conference

Legion Dance's Winter Showcase

South West Universities’ Concert Band Festival (SWUCBF)

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 2022-23

So far in the 2022-23 academic year, we've awarded £79,439.21 in Alumni Annual Fund grants to 54 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 project was to produce a large-scale concert performance of Hayden’s major work, ‘The Creation’ for choir and orchestra. This involved hiring a hall, liaising with amateur and professional performers, hiring scores, creating publicity, offering hospitality etc. The event was a great success in terms of musical achievement and audience enjoyment. It showcased the musical abilities of the University of Exeter students, who performed alongside alumni of the University, University staff and members of the local community.

Students said: “It was a really great experience, and so nice to see the broader Exeter community there and feel connected to a wider range of people outside of the university bubble.’’

The project organisers held a day-long conference with nine speakers talking about a range of topics, with breaks allowing for socialising and visiting the five stalls that were set up as well as drinks, snacks and lunch provided.

Event feedback: “Congratulations on an excellent conference yesterday. I was really enthused by the quality of the talks, the excellent venue and especially number of young people in attendance. Back on the 70s and 80s when I lived up country the UEA was the youth hub of the birding scene. What’s happening at Penryn surpasses that and should be a model for other universities. The lunch was amazing, and your efficient organisation made for an exceptional day.”

From October to February, EUBLS planned and choreographed routines for ‘Exeter Does Strictly’. As part of this EUBLS’ aimed to promote Ballroom and Latin dancing within the University and in the wider community through encouraging participation in a sport not often considered by many. In this project they collaborated with other societies and hosted performances in front of a wide range of audiences, encouraging inclusivity and integration whilst raising £500 to go to the FareShare charity.

Feedback from the organisers: "The Alumni Annual Fund positively impacted 'Exeter does Strictly' by helping us to budget effectively and maximise both our giving to our members and charity. The fund primarily helped us to cover the cost of the hire of the Great Hall, this in turn allowed us to keep our prices low to encourage as many as people as possible to attend our event. Exeter does Strictly allow us to subside the expensive trip to our national championship in Blackpool which allows as many of our members to complete as possible and means that cost does not have to be a barrier to competing. We also raised £500 for charity, our chosen charity this year being Fareshare, they told us that this would allow them to provide enough food for 2,000 meals and would make a massive difference during the current cost of living situation. Therefore the fund has enhanced student experience of our members by removing cost as a barrier to performing and competing, allowing around 500 people to attend our event at a low cost and allowed us to maximise the amount we could donate to charity allowing us to help the wider community."

Student feedback: “It was an amazing experience and I plan to take up Ballroom and Latin dancing when I come back from my placement year. I can’t wait!”

The Dance and Tap Societies from Falmouth and Exeter Universities attended the ‘Go Hard or Go Home’ Universities in Nottingham on the 12 March 2023. The Tap Society placed 1st in the Tap Intermediate Category and the Dance Society placed 4th in the Lyrical Open Category. The event was thoroughly enjoyed by those who participated and provided the opportunity for individuals to compete in their first competition and represent their university on a national stage. Through attending the competition together, the Dance and Tap Societies strengthened connections between the two societies and allowed for the formation of new friendships

The project team entered two teams to play in a netball tournament with seven other local youth netball teams on Saturday 6 February 2023 at Penryn Sports Hall. This tournament was a wonderful way to interact with other students our age who are based at Penryn Campus and across Cornwall. It has allowed the teams to make connections for future friendly netball matches. The tournament included a bake sale which was collecting money for ‘Breast Cancer Research.’ 25 members of the society participated in this tournament, and a few students who are not in the society came along to the event to support. The two teams entered reached the final, so it was medics versus medics!

The South-West Acute Care Conference (SWACC): Acute Care Under Pressure is an educational conference mostly targeted for undergraduate students. It is a collaboration between student-led Acute Care societies from the universities of Plymouth, Exeter, Bristol, and Southampton. The aim isto educate and increase medical student awareness of Emergency Medicine, Critical Care, Prehospital Medicine and Anaesthetics in an engaging and interactive manner. Over two days, professionals from different specialities working in vastly different conditions shared their experiences and knowledge via talks and workshops. They also hosted a poster presentation competition amongst students who submitted their abstracts.

Organiser feedback: "The Alumni Fund was invaluable to the 2023 South West Acute Care Conference (SWACC). It opened so many doors and gave us the ability to provide the most for our delegates and speakers. The universities of Bristol, Plymouth and Southampton got the opportunity to see how much Exeter has to offer as a community and how much our university facilitates our successes. Everyone involved with SWACC 2023 is very grateful for the Alumni Fund, thank you."

Feedback from students: "It was an incredible opportunity to explore the fields of Emergency medicine and hear from experts while I'm still in medical school and considering this area as my future career path. Not only did it solidify my interest in the field but also enhanced my CV and provided resources to continue my learning!"

The South West Universities’ Concert Band Festival (SWUCBF) is a music competition, hosted this year at Cardiff, in which concert bands from across the region performed at a semi-professional standard in front of a panel of judges. It was a fantastic day of friendly competition which the members thoroughly enjoyed and learnt a lot from.

Organiser feedback: "The South West Universities Concert Band Festival would not have been possible without the help of the Alumni Annual Fund. With current increases in the cost of living, transport costs have also risen dramatically. This means it was an interesting challenge to find an affordable way of getting the band all their instruments to Cardiff for the festival. The Annual Fund solved this! It helped us to pay for coach travel and meant no band member was excluded, especially for financial reasons. We are immensely grateful for your support."

Feedback from students: "SWUCBF was a fantastic opportunity to play music in a competitive environment with other musicians. It was a really fantastic day, especially with the arts having faced such cuts in recent years. It was great to see a thriving music scene and was a really valuable and fun day."

In term 2 of 2022-23, the project team piloted an Undergraduate Writing Centre for students based in English and Creative Writing (including Liberal Arts). (Initially, the UGWC was open only to English majors in Liberal Arts, but it was opened up to the whole cohort later in the process). In January 2023, they recruited and trained five “peer writing advisors” to staff the centre. It launched in February 2023. Based in Queen’s 301, it ran for eight weeks. The Undergraduate Writing Centre proved to be particularly beneficial for those students who were:

  • finding it difficult to adjust to the standard of writing expected from them at University level. (The lion’s share of the students who came were first year students)
  • feeling they could benefit from a fresh perspective on the way they approach their essays and coursework
  • aiming to improve their style of writing to help them to showcase their subject knowledge to the best advantage -seeking advice on how to structure a convincing argument, develop their academic voice and make the most of their abilities.

Organiser feedback: “The support of the Annual Fund was invaluable to the success of the Undergraduate Writing Centre Pilot. It enabled us to recruit and train five undergraduate students to provide peer writing support for their fellow students. Not only did it have a positive impact on the students who attended the Writing Centre (“reassuring,” “informative,” “helpful” and “constructive” were the most common words in their feedback); it also fostered crucial employability skills in the peer advisors themselves."

Student feedback: ‘’Communication between advisors and staff was continuous and comfortable. The range of hours offered, on multiple days of the week, allowed flexibility for both advisors and students. The training was indispensable, as was the ELE site with its list of handouts.”

This project consisted of a performance in December, presenting the dancer's talents to students, friends and families. The performance consisted of various styles and was in collaboration with Break Society. The annual fund allowed Legion Dance Society to spread positivity and provide members with a stress relieving performance and a platform to demonstrate their creativity.

This project hosted by Women and Law’s for International Women’s Day was a networking and panel event. It included speakers from different backgrounds and career pathways, who travelled to Exeter to speak to their member base about their careers and the journey they have taken to get to where they are now. The funding from the Annual Fund has been used to cover the travel and accommodation costs of the professional female speakers. As a society concerned with the empowerment of women in the legal field, they felt it particularly important to mark International Women’s Day with an impactful event. Thus, they invited five recent Exeter graduates, working in the legal industry to speak to students about their experiences as women in the profession. This was followed by a networking session where attendees chatted informally to the speakers and gained candid insights into entering the legal profession as a woman.

Feedback from students: ‘Really enjoyed spending the evening back at Exeter with the Women in Law Society for their International Women’s Day event. It was great to be on the panel with other Exeter grads who have taken a variety of legal career routes in both regional and city firms, across family law, criminal and corporate law. We spoke about diversity in the legal profession and the initiatives at our firms - including the Legal Women’s Network at Macfarlanes. It was such an empowering event and hopefully inspired a number of students into the legal sector.’