Besides sitting in meetings for most of my working days, as President Exeter, I do believe I have achieved a lot this year. As complex as some these meetings have been, it is in these spaces where my presence has influenced some of the greatest changes that I am most proud to have seen.
When campaigning to be President Exeter, my most passionate manifesto priority that resonated best with the students who elected me was to tackle the second-class narrative commonly associated with the Cornwall campuses. My dedication for achieving this goal never diminished, and I hope that by raising the profile of Cornwall and challenging the internal structures that contribute to this narrative, a progressive transition for equality across all four campuses will continue beyond my term in office. Exeter’s admission process was the most destructive system that fed into the second-class narrative, whereby students who failed to meet the entry requirements for a course taught at the Streatham campus would be offered Penryn as an alternative through clearing. By improving our recognition and fairly marketing the Penryn Campus, I am pleased to see more students are actively choosing Cornwall as their first choice to study at. Continuing to promote the Penryn Campus will result in fewer students being impacted by this admission process that has been so detrimental to our reputation in Cornwall.
The widespread significance of the second-class narrative has been reflected not only in the mindset of staff and students, but also in the opportunities available to students. Compared with the Devon campuses, it is clear there is a disparity of sporting facilities in Cornwall. This contributor of the second-class narrative is one which I have challenged assertively at senior level, and with support from across the board, my proposals are being strongly considered. It is hoped that as part of Cornwall’s Sport’s Strategy, we will secure ownership of a sport’s pitch for our societies to appreciate, and further develop recreational areas to create new social spaces for students to connect.
As some of you may recall, in November 2021 I attended COP26 in Glasgow alongside the President of the Guild, Lily Margaroli. This was definitely one of my greatest highlights as President Exeter and is an experience I will treasure for the rest of my career. Learning more about the criticality to act now for climate justice, triggered me to lobby the University of Exeter into revising their climate goals, and set a sector-leading example of ambitiously striving to achieve net-zero by 2030. As an Environmental Science graduate, this decision to protect our planet has assured me of Exeter’s determination to create a more sustainable future as part of their 2030 strategy.
There have been so many other memorable moments that I find myself reflecting on as I creep closer to the end of my time as President Exeter of the Students’ Union. From hosting the SU and Teaching Awards, to zooming down the slip’n’slide and organising events for sustainability week, black history month, LGBTQ+ history month, and mental health awareness week. No two days have ever been the same in this role and it’s fair to say we’ve faced some challenging hurdles along the way too, with global politics, spiking incidents, accommodation issues and potential strikes. It’s difficult to list everything I’ve been a part of this year, but please know how grateful I am to have been elected as your President. I am so proud of the students I have represented, and I know my successor, Georgi will continue to work hard to make the changes you want to see.