Sports and Societies
Sport in Exeter is geared to all levels of ability. Many Exonians compete at the highest level for the College or the University. But in most sports there are opportunities for both men and women at various levels of ability, including that of complete beginners. As a result, many who disdained sport at school find themselves participating enthusiastically at College.
The College has excellent sporting facilities, including a high-quality sports ground with football, rugby, hockey and cricket pitches; grass tennis courts; a squash court; and a well-equipped weights room in College. On the river, we have our own boathouse, stocked with the quality and quantity of equipment found in most college boathouses: eights, fours, sculls and ergometers.
Of all the sports available at Exeter, rowing is one of the most popular. It's new to most Freshers, and a very different kind of sport from those they have known before - many find it rewarding and fun. The College Boat Club is the oldest University boat club in the world, and (like other sports clubs) a hub of social activity as well as sporting life. A particular high point are the annual inter-collegiate competitions known as 'Torpids' and 'Eights', which take the peculiar and thrilling form of 'bumps-racing': the crews are lined up along the river and attempt literally to bump the boats in front. At summer Eights, the riverbank is packed with spectators drinking pimms or beer, music blaring from boathouses, and supporters running along the banks screaming for their crew.
The College has lots of societies for particular passions. The John Ford Society exists to fund dramatic ventures; the Fortescue Society to talk about the law; the PPE Society to bring in speakers on politics, philosophy and economics. The College puts something back into the local community through its own Vacation project titled EXVAC, a student-run scheme that raises funds through sponsorship and takes children from disadvantaged backgrounds on holiday during the Easter vacation.
In recent years much work has also gone into the annual College Ball, the cheapest (and, we think, most enjoyable!) black tie event of its kind in Oxford. Beyond the College, the University offers facilities for an enormous range of interests at all levels of ability: however unusual your pet hobby-horse, you are almost certain to find someone else who shares your enthusiasm.
The College has its own seminar programme, held weekly in the Rector's Lodgings. These give students a chance to listen to an important public figure and to ask questions in relatively small groups.