Strikes, lockdowns, a literal bomb going off…it goes without saying that this has been a challenging year and a pretty strange one to be VP Activities! However, not ones to be put off by a challenge, we tried to make the best of a bad situation and took it as an opportunity to explore different ways of delivering activity. When we were hit with the first lockdown back in March 2020 we set up a ‘Get Connected’ campaign to support students likely feeling very lonely and isolated. From a pen pal scheme to weekly virtual events, we got incredible engagement and loved connecting with students. We also learnt so much about how virtual activity broke down a lot of barriers for students and allowed those who wouldn’t normally be able to come on to campus due to caring responsibilities, disabilities etc. were able to engage in our activity.
As restrictions lifted we worked with the University on the ‘Festival of Discovery’ and launched a pilot of our ‘Give it a Go’ initiative where we put on various events including crazy golf, a comedy night, giant chess and more! We’ve successfully secured £50,000 of funding from the University to continue this scheme next year which is incredibly exciting. A lot of work will need to be done next year to rebuild lost communities and I think the ‘Give it a Go’ scheme will go a long way in helping us achieve this.
At the age of 23 I never thought I would be given the opportunity to lead a charity whilst also representing over 25,000 students; a daunting prospect but one I have thoroughly enjoyed. I've learnt more than I thought possible and feel honoured to have played a part in improving the student experience for our students at the University of Exeter. This year has thrown a lot at us and I’m so proud of the team around me for their unwavering resilience, determination and creativity. I have so much confidence in the incoming team and have no doubt they will make some incredible change this coming year, exciting times ahead!