Exeter’s 93% Club
President Ani Martirossian and Treasurer Luca Boyd of The 93% Club Exeter explain the mandate of the national network and give an idea of what Exeter students can expect.
The 93% Club was originally founded in 2016 at The University of Bristol by Sophie Pender. As the name suggests, in the UK, 93 per cent of students are state educated. Despite representing just seven per cent of the population, privately educated students account for 74 per cent of judges, 61 per cent of Fellows of the Royal College of Physicians, and over 50 per cent of Cabinet members. As such, The 93% Club aims to represent the 93 per cent of the population who are state educated but face substantial inequality when it comes to obtaining opportunities at university and in employment. The club aims to equip students with the necessary skills to compete in the job market, through hosting workshops, seminars and social events geared towards inclusion and upskilling. Five years since coming into fruition, the club has gained charitable status, as well as expanding to over 35 universities across the UK, making it the UK’s first and largest network of state educated students.
Since June 2020, over 30 universities have founded a 93% Club. Exeter was the 10th university to join, in July 2020. There is an increasingly large issue surrounding the proportionally low intake of students from state schools to the top universities of the country, with Exeter being amongst the lowest. While in the UK, 93 per cent of students are state-educated, state school leavers only make up around 67 per cent of Exeter’s student body. Given the underrepresentation of state-educated students at Exeter, The 93% Club is not only necessary, but has also been welcomed by the student body.
But what does this all mean and what are we doing about it?
We have three main projects that we have been working on all year and are really excited about: hosting regular careers events with expert panellists, creating a resource pack as a crash-course guide to university, and working with the university directly to tackle the situation here in Exeter.
We’ve hosted a range of interesting panel events focused on providing advice on different industries and sectors where we invite experts in those careers to come along and discuss their experiences. So far, we have held events in politics, sustainability, journalism, and law and nationally, there have been even more events run, all of which are accessible to students across the country. These events are a great way to get a flavour of an industry and how to get into it.
Our resource pack is split into three different sections: Academics, Health and Wellbeing, and Life-Hacks. When you arrive at university, you are fully thrust into a new world of independence which can be very challenging to adapt to, for any number of reasons. We’re hoping to provide honest, practical advice on a huge range of issues such as negotiating freshers’ week, tips on budgeting, and signposting opportunities that exist within the university that aren’t always obviously visible.
Our work with the university so far has been really encouraging and being able to work with Professor Lee Elliot Major, the UK’s first professor in social mobility, has allowed us to create some tangible and genuinely meaningful progress. We are also working with senior figures in the university administration to start an open dialogue about social mobility. This is particularly needed at Exeter, which consistently ranks as one of the least diverse universities in England in all categories, not just social mobility. A lot is still to be done, but it is a really positive start for only our first year of functioning.
Looking forward to next year, we believe The 93% Club can really start to make some strides towards creating positive change here in Exeter. As we transition out of the pandemic, we have a chance to shift from an entirely online society to an in-person one which will let us create an inclusive, welcoming community within the university. This is when The 93% Club can make a real difference. As important as all of our employment events and work with the university are, this society is ultimately about the people in it, and we’re all really looking forward to three-dimensionalising this society and this community.
Our AGM is coming up soon and if you’d be interested in getting involved, keep an eye out on our social media platforms for more details!