The aim of Exeter Connect is to create greater campus connectivity between Exeter and Cornwall campuses, enhance the Cornwall identity, provide high-quality opportunities and connections, and offer better access to facilities.
The University of Exeter is renowned for its academic excellence, diverse student population, and stunning campuses in Devon and Cornwall. However, despite being part of the same institution, students studying in Cornwall often feel disconnected from their counterparts in Exeter. This is where Exeter Connect, a concept that became my manifesto priority, comes in. The aim of Exeter Connect is to create greater campus connectivity between Exeter and Cornwall campuses, enhance the Cornwall identity, provide high-quality opportunities and connections, and offer better access to facilities.
In the first term's big rep meeting, student representatives from across the cohorts discussed a range of topics, including Exeter Connect. The meeting focused on the question of whether students' university experience could benefit from greater campus connectivity. The feedback highlighted four key themes that Exeter Connect needs to address.
The first theme highlighted the need to tackle the parity issues across the campuses, in particular the "Satellite Campus narrative" that is felt by students on Penryn Campus. Students commented on the need for the university to provide better quality opportunities for students studying in Cornwall. They also highlighted the need to revise communications from the university, as these often highlighted opportunities available to Streatham students and did not make it clear whether Penryn students were welcome or would have the same opportunity in Cornwall. Students felt that the university was 'forgetting about Penryn campus'. It was clear from this point onward that whatever we did with this project it must celebrate the authenticity of the unique Cornwall experience.
In second term, this was picked up by the University as a Student as Change Agent project (SACA) and the opportunity was given to students once again to be involved. This is when I met Maya who has been helping as a change agent to shape this idea into what it is now. We got together to brainstorm some ideas which is where Exeter Connect Experience Days were born. You can find out more about the Experience Days here.
In conclusion, Exeter Connect is vital in addressing the disconnect between the Cornwall and Exeter campuses. By taking on board the feedback from students, we can create a more inclusive, equitable, and connected experience for all Exeter students, regardless of where they study. Exeter Connect is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the unique Cornwall experience while enhancing the student experience by providing more high-quality opportunities, connections, and access to facilities.