Outgoing JCR president reflects on a challenging tenure during Covid-19 pandemic
JCR president Will Dobbs takes time out during a hectic term in the marquee in front quad
The first UK lockdown led to many of us spending a lot of time, perhaps too much time, on Zoom. Be it for meetings with College staff, JCR hustings, or College socials, Will Dobbs’ role as JCR President during Trinity Term centred around his online presence. ‘It was really nice to see everyone again after such a long period of separation’, Will notes, commenting on his return to Exeter for Michaelmas Term. Although Covid-19 restrictions led to aspects of College life remaining online, Will worked hard alongside College staff during the summer to ensure that students would be able to spend time in Exeter in a safe and enjoyable way.
Will highlights Exeter’s ‘very constructive’ approach to making College life pleasant, noting that the marquee that he is sitting in as we talk is a tribute to the efforts that have been made. The large marquee in front quad has been a crucial space this term: it has provided extra space for dining, study, and socialising. Restrictions allowing, we hope to use the marquee to host socially distant bingo, painting and live music nights.
Another product of the efforts that Will made alongside College staff was the Freshers’ Formal. Normally, Freshers eat a delicious dinner in Hall, together with their academic tutors, during Freshers’ Week. Allowing the event to go ahead this year meant holding several dinners with smaller, socially-distanced groups, over the course of a week, a time-consuming organisational challenge. The formal dinners were a huge success, and the Freshers were thankful that the event was able to go ahead.
‘There’s no sugar-coating that this has been a difficult term’, Will says. ‘When I applied to do this job a year ago, the world was really quite different’. Life this term, and Will’s experience as JCR President, have led to new challenges, but the effort that Exeter has put in to provide students with the best possible experience is a tribute to the positive atmosphere and good will of the College.
Will has ended his tenure as JCR President, having managed brilliantly during these strange times. Ella Stadler, previously JCR Secretary, has been elected as President. ‘I’m sure she’ll be absolutely fantastic’, Will says.