Introducing Exeter President Candidates: Shannon Burden

Name and Course: Shannon Louise Burden, English Literature


What are the main features of your manifesto?

The main features of my manifesto focus on sustainability on campus and the student voice. As someone who has had issues surrounding mental health, I believe that the most vulnerable students are not being helped. I believe we need to help aid students during their time at university and develop ‘stress workshops’ which would aim to help students get the help they need. Stress is a big problem for students and it can seriously impact one’s mental health and an individual’s life detrimentally.

This idea of an ‘open door’ policy for students would also allow for conversations regarding how the student experience can improve and can ultimately improve mental health, student life and grades.

Furthermore, on the topic of an ‘open door’ policy, I will hold drop in sessions weekly that will be used for people to come in and speak to me. This will allow for a somewhat informal and discreet conversation which I hope will prove useful for students to get help.

Moreover, representing students is an important aspect of my manifesto, I believe that the Cornwall campus is neglected by Streatham and Devon based campuses; thus, I shall aim to get the significant heads of the University, particularly the Dean, to Penryn with the hope that this will improve communication and will have a long-standing benefit for students whom are otherwise neglected.

Recognising and rewarding students is key for the improving the campus community.


Why do you think that you are well suited to the role?

I believe I am well suited to this role as I am the somewhat ‘under-dog’ of campus. I am involved in many sports and societies such as FXU Ladies Football and thus, I have taken an active role in my three years at University.

I am active on campus as a political campaigner and my views are embedded in getting students better opportunities and equality on campus. I have shown to be resilient against injustice and I have attempted to improve the community within campus. My views are firmly on representing the student voice free from prejudice and bias. Free from generalisation. Free from representing a specific group of students. I believe I can benefit all students this way.


How do you think you will handle liaising with Falmouth uni to get the best for both universities?

We should not be looking at Falmouth and Exeter as oppositional Universities, rather universities that co-exist alongside and that compliment each other. We should be seeing both Universities as equal bodies with students that achieve outstanding grades and contribute to society brilliantly.

I believe liaising with the Falmouth President will be an interesting experience as both Presidents ultimately desire students to flourish at university while enjoying the experience. Both presidents want the best for their respective students and Callie and I both have a similar stance on how to make student life fulfilling. Therefore, communicating and creating a harmonious relationship with the Falmouth President will hopefully prove simple due to this notion.


What do you think could be improved upon/what would you do to improve with the leadership of FXU?

The problem with leadership currently is the communication between students (importantly their concerns) and the University. The students here do not get the same opportunities as those in Devon and the important figure heads do not visit the campus, therefore students feel isolated from the University.

After the strike action this year, a lot of students have spoken to me regarding how they feel unheard and silenced by FXU. They believe by not supporting the strike action, their voice is silenced. This creates a problem; how can the leadership represent students if they neglect some?

I believe the leadership should be free from politics and bias and thus, we should strive for a leadership that aims to listen to all problems (whether they agree on them or not) and relay these problems to the higher authority.

The problem with the leadership in 2017/18 was the fact the FXU and some students were oppositional; as a result, I aim (if elected) to built a firmer foundation between students and FXU, in the hope that students can trust that they are being heard, being represented fairly and finally, the leadership is there to improve campus for all.