Exeter, Devon UK • Jul 13, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Students' Guild Elections Meet the 2023 Guild President candidates

Meet the 2023 Guild President candidates

Meet the candidates running for Guild President.
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Meet the 2023 Guild President candidates

Image: Exeter Students’ Guild

Jack Liversedge

Course: LLB Law and LLM Law

Hobbies: Rowing and Tennis

Interests: Football and Gaming

Jack was unable to participate in an in-person interview with Exeposé and answered his questions over email.

What made you want to be Guild President?

Being fortunate to observe the work of the current Guild President and a desire to carry on this good work, with the objective of improving the student experience for all students.

What is the number one thing you would like to do if elected?

Overhaul of the assessment process at University, by giving students the choice of what assessment empowers them to fulfil their promise.

What is the biggest challenge you will face in the role?

Ensuring that the voice of all students is heard.

What is your biggest weakness?

Organisation and finding it hard to say no.

How will you make sure that you represent all students’ views?

Work closely with the Guild’s insight team to develop new innovative ways to gathering data.

What is your memorable night out in Exeter?

TP Wednesday (every week)


Tejas Nagpal

I am doing a Masters here in MSC Finance and marketing, and before this, I was working as a student counsellor, where I used to counsel other international students, so 50+ students going to the University of Exeter from India, Pakistan, Nigeria, etc. So I used to counsel those students about universities and which university is right for them. Before this, I also graduated in Business administration.

What made you want to be Guild President?

I want to engage with student ideas. I am very good with networking so I want to be a part of the Guild so I can go and meet students and do something different in the University, and stand out from the audience. So I want to be a part of this.

What is the number one thing you would like to do if elected?

I will be getting in touch with the students, every student, and I will ask what change they want. And when I get suggestions I’ll review and go do what it is they want.

What is the biggest challenge you will face in the role?

I’m new here, I came to Exeter five to six months ago, so I’m trying to get to know what different types of students from different parts of the world want. Because this is something new to me, but I’m trying to get involved, and I know a lot more and I’m growing — I’m growing day by day and learning day by day. So definitely by one or two months after this, I’ll be able to face this challenge even better.

What is your biggest weakness?

I don’t think I really have a weakness to be honest.

How will you make sure that you represent all students’ views?

Definitely I’ll try to express every student view and cater to every student view. First I’ll take the views and then I’ll go to the higher authority and tell them about this and try and demand they take these actions.

What is your memorable night out in Exeter?

It’s the Dandiya night at the University, the time before Diwali. So we all gathered and do all the cultural traditions, and then we hung out and also had a party. So yeah that was definitely my most memorable night!


Mathias La Pira

My name is Mathias La Pira. I am a third year studying international relations. I love countries and the world in general. That’s why I am President of the French society and Publicity Officer of the Italian society. I also love sports like football and tennis as well as singing. Generally, helping people is one of my main goals in life.

What made you want to be Guild President?

Relating to my experience in societies and being on committees, I love organising things for people and helping people. I want to be part of a team that goes forward to help students to have a better life and experience at university.

What is the number one thing you would like to do if elected?

Cost-of-living. Really trying to push the University to reduce prices as much as possible. The £2 meal is really, really important but I also want to expand it to other places on campus on both Streatham and St Luke’s campuses. I would also want to try other projects like £1 coffee to help students spend as less possible.

What is the biggest challenge you will face in the role?

I think my biggest challenge will be pressuring the University to ensure that the Guild gets all the help it can from the University.

What is your biggest weakness?

I would say probably talking. Not talking in front of people but knowing exactly what I’m saying. I think it’s really important to know exactly what you’re speaking about when you talk.

How will you make sure that you represent all students’ views?

This will also be one of my big challenges. One of my main aims will be to make sure that the international students feel as represented as the home students.

What is your memorable night out in Exeter?

I would say when I won a VIP booth at Unit 1. I got it for free so it was a really nice night with my friends.


Emma de Saram

I’m Emma and I’m a history graduate. I’m the current VP for Liberation and Equality and I came into the role and the student activist team as a climate justice activist — that’s my background! My hobbies? I’m a runner, and I just love nature.

What made you want to be Guild President?

The student activist movement has so much to give in terms of making society and the world a better place. And I’ve had a year to help some students so I’ve realised the power that they have through various campaigns and on a daily basis, making changes to their lives. I campaign for sustainability all the time, and I think it’s important that there is sustainability throughout the Guild and throughout the Sabbatical officer team. I really want to make some sustainable changes at the University: the £2 campaign was just a very decent example of how much of an influence a decent officer and leader can have when they work with students.

What is the number one thing you would like to do if elected?

I’d completely change how the Guild works internally. I think the main source of a lot of problems that societies and students have comes from the failure of the Guild to be student-led. The successful campaigns that I’ve launched this year have been about cutting through the red tape at both the Guild and the University level, and I think to have a successful campaign it needs to be completely empowered by the Students’ Guild rather than the Students’ Guild putting obstacles in the way. But apart from that, it’s well-being: I think the Wellbeing Services at the University are shocking and as President, that would be my next big campaign focus.

What is the biggest challenge you will face in the role?

To be brutally honest, it’s going to be balancing my role as an activist and what I believe in versus having to fulfil other compulsory duties like keeping the University running. I think this is both a challenge and an opportunity because I very much see that the social climate and economic crises that we are in require fundamental shifts in business as usual and this trickles down to university level. So, I think as President I’m just going to have to be consistently challenging the status quo in the way in which the University runs, which is a broad reflection on currently how society runs. We do need people speaking up and saying business as usual doesn’t work.

What is your biggest weakness?

It’s probably learning to say no as I take on and care about everything because I want to help everyone in so many ways. Sometimes, this is a failure because obviously, you spread yourself so thin. It’s being able to direct people and know that you can’t solve everyone’s problems. Not to get too deep into it, but I think it’s about unlearning a lot of things as well. You can’t always help with everything and even thinking you can is like a supremacy mindset that you need to get over. Learning to care about certain things and learning to be able to say no is a balance I want to have.

How will you make sure that you represent all students’ views?

Being with students and talking to them, getting out of the echo chamber, which I think I’ve been able to do this year. This has been really important for me as an activist as well as a human being. If I wasn’t doing this, I would have gone into climate campaigning and been a bit more secluded from the broad spectrum of lovely politics that are out there. And I think it’s about learning how to stick to your principles, but also knowing that not everyone is going to care about the climate and all that jazz. Again, like the £2 meal campaign, that was a way for me to demonstrate that I’m not just interested in changing what I personally care about. I actually just want to do things that help everyone.

What is your memorable night out in Exeter?

I would say it was the Lemmy in Freshers’ Week because I met and had a good chat with Rat Boy. He had rugby punch bags and he gave me one which was quite memorable. But then second to that would be camping in Dartmoor because that was great and who knows, when I leave, that might not be legal anymore because of the new laws!


Manan Shah

My name is Manan and I’m a final-year law student. I’m a mature student and an international student. I’m from Canada, Toronto, I came here in 2020 right in the midst of COVID. I’ve loved my time here in Exeter and I’m hoping to stay here as long as I can. I’m a big fan of just regular very cliché activities like mini golf and bowling and I like photography on the side. Just whether it’s people or our nature events.

What made you want to be Guild President?

Something that I’ve always been very interested in is EDI (Equality Diversity and Inclusion) work. It’s something that remains a passion of mine and I want to be Guild president so I can make more meaningful change at the University which is something that I’ve always thought is possible. I think having the voice of someone that is so passionate about certain topics can make actual change and it can make a better university experience for students. I know I have a little bit of a special experience having two different university experiences one in Canada and one here and I know the pros and cons of both and I think I can bring a unique experience to the role and hopefully make it better and make the university experience better for years to come.

What is the number one thing you would like to do if elected?

I’d like to focus on the cost-of-living crisis. I want to offer more support to international students. Like myself, international students here don’t get any type of funding from the UK Government — we don’t qualify for things like student loans or bursaries. I feel like more can be done, not just for international students specifically, but for all students because this cost-of-living crisis has been painful. I know that it’s difficult doing a degree and working at the same time, but a lot of us don’t have that choice. I would like to carry on the work in my first year I got involved with through the education incubator here at Exeter. It’s a great way for students to get involved and get some funding for their activism projects, whether it’s active anti-racism, or guided work to create safer spaces for LGBTQ+ which are all great causes that we should put more money towards.

What is the biggest challenge you will face in the role?

I think the biggest challenge would be trying to figure out a way to get around pushback. As Guild President, one of the bigger things that I need to be aware of is that not everyone is going to be sharing the same vision that I have. I can have as many ideas as I want, but it’s not necessarily always going to be as feasible as I think it will be. So, trying to work with the University, understand how the logistics work and try to get as many of my goals accomplished as possible. While also taking into account what other students want, because what students want this year may change next year.

What is your biggest weakness?

I think one of my bigger ones is trying to accomplish too many things at once while not putting enough focus on bigger tasks. I know from past experiences because I have such a passion for wanting to get things done, I’m going to try to get as many things done as possible and it some- times makes it more difficult to get them accomplished because I’m not putting my full thought and effort into one at a time.

How will you make sure that you represent all students’ views?

I think by uplifting voices. I cannot speak for every minority group because I don’t belong to every minority group, whereas although I’m a student of colour, I can only represent my own experiences. As my experience will be different from a student of color who’s female or nonbinary. All of that would be different, the same way how I can’t speak for disabled students, for example, because I don’t have a disability. But in that case, rather than me trying to speak for them, it would be better to uplift their voices and hear directly from them what they want from the Guild.

What is your memorable night out in Exeter?

The first time I went to Cheesies? I love a good night at Cheesies as well as attending the Law ball last year. I was a member of the Law Society Committee last year and the law ball is always a great time — I enjoy dressing up and suiting up.


Captain ‘Trey’ Hook Tallon

My name be Captain Hook Tallon. For many years I sailed the South Devon Seas, plundering and searching for treasure and booty across the land. Yet just three months ago my ship got marooned on the sands of Exmouth. Now I find myself trapped here in Exeter, searching for a new crew to lead to adventures beyond.

What made you want to be Guild President?

I seek to recruit beyond the stereotypical pirate crew you see. The pirates that I sail with are predominantly too old, too unable to do the agile work needed to work on a ship, and so I seek new blood to aid my journeys, travels and booty hunting.

What is the number one thing you would like to do if elected?

See my ship, The Red Jenny, was wrecked upon the shores of Exmouth as I already said. And so, using the money and resources of the Guild, I would build myself a new ship: The Trey O’war. I would coat it in the finest gold leaf, arm it with the most powerful cannons available to man and go plundering across all of the South Coast.

What is the biggest challenge you will face in the role?

Students across this university are facing a cost-of-living crisis. And obviously as a pirate captain I care for all those under my command. This is the biggest issue in me opinion and so along with supporting initiatives like the £2.00 meal deal, I would also provide limes for all to combat scurvy. Because scurvy as you know, is a scourge to all pirates and in such a time of economic crisis, if me crew ain’t eating healthily, then scurvy could easily creep up and plague my men, women and non-binary fellows.

What is your biggest weakness?

For many years in my dreams, I see a demon, a goat coated in white fur. It’s sent shivers to me core. And finally I found it: The vote goat. My terror of it is all consuming. And I fear that if I ran into it, I would be paralysed and so to conquer my fear I will challenge the vote goat to a duel to the death so that we may end its tyranny across our campus.

How will you make sure that you represent all students’ views?

As pirates, we operate the most open-door policy we can on the ship and that is something that I would ensure to bring on to the Students’ Guild. Through a mixture of drop-in sessions where all pirates can enter my cabin, sorry, all crew members or students as you might call them, can enter my cabin or office as you might say, surveys and continuing the coffee mornings. Ensuring that students have the maximum opportunity to engage with their Pirate King at all opportunities.

What is your memorable night out in Exeter?

One night me and my crew had just hauled in the greatest beastie of all time. We were hunting a giant narwhal bigger than this whole building. One night when we were off guard, it swallowed us whole. And so, after preparing ourselves by consuming plenty of rum, we hooked and caught the narwhal from the inside and towed it back to shore, still inside the belly of the beast. The subsequent celebrations will stay in my heart to the day I am put to rest at sea. For I drank so much rum, that everything else in my body evacuated itself.

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