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By Simon Thompson
 
     

Let’s face it: freshers’ is probably the moment you look forward to the

most when it comes to starting university. After all the chore of packing

your life away into boxes and swotting for exams, meeting new people and

letting loose in pub crawls or club nights is a good way to start anew, and

celebrate too.

It’s clear with recent events that freshers’ isn’t going to be the same

this year, if ever again, but that doesn’t mean the good times have to

stop. Universities are ever adapting and with it brings a new and improved

freshers, tailored to bringing the good experiences in safer and more novel

ways. Here are the 20 best examples from around the UK, and I’ve even

ranked them for you:

20th-Virtual Games night

Nottingham Trent makes the 20th entry on this list, having announced a

virtual games night amongst other ranked activities to keep freshers’

entertaining without drawing a crowd. Kings College London have also

announced virtual games night as part of their line up, but it was quirky

takes on your traditional online games that pushes other events further up

the rankings for the rest of the list…

19th-Afternoon Tea

Virtual Afternoon tea is another digital event designed to get the best of

a cafe crawl or a brunch meeting without braving the crowds of a real life

cafe crawl. Nottingham Trent makes the ranking once again with this digital

tea.

18th-Socially distanced Revs night

Cardiff takes 18th place with the steadfast plan to continue with

traditional freshers’ events but in a limited capacity. This is a planned

socially distanced night at Revs in a bid to keep ‘The number one student

night’ in Cardiff up and running.

17th-Virtual Golf

Bath university’s video game society scored 17th with the idea to

host…virtual golf! The idea is brilliant in terms of allowing many people

to play at once without close contact and make friendships through teams,

but how exactly you play golf virtually…I am intrigued to work out myself

and so Bath scores 17 for this wonderfully unique idea.

16th-DISNEY QUIZ TIME!

Glasgow university takes 16th place with the Digital Society’s massive

Disney Quiz being hosted online for all of freshers’. No matter what movies

you’re into, you can’t escape knowing at least one Disney hit song, so this

safe event ranks 16th!

15th-Grouped Club nights

Manchester university has revisited the traditional club night by allowing

students to create social bubbles of four to six in order to safely enjoy

the usual freshers' events’ in person without being unsafe. As a non

digital freshers’ events, there are obviously limitations (the number of

people for example) but this is a good way to ensure the sought after

experiences still happen.

14th-Crafternoon

Nottingham Trent’s freshers’ line up strikes again for another ranked

event, this one named ‘Crafternoon’ with the idea to- you guessed it- spend

time getting to know your fellow freshers’ through the medium of art. If

you’re not one for a pub crawl or you’re looking for a nice virtual event

that is safe to do within the current health standards, then a Crafternoon

session is the way to go.

13th-Virtual Running

Kings College London has come up with a rather ingenious way to keep

freshers’ not only running, but literally running. Signing up to

the virtual run for freshers brings you a digital warm up (optional) and

the opportunity to plan and run your own 5km or 10km route at any time

throughout the day. Keeping you healthy and safe at the same time, whilst

also a good way to make friends!

12th-Speed Mating

Glasgow university has come up with a unique take on Speed Dating online

with a freshers wide zoom call called speed mating. Hosted via zoom, the

idea of the event is to put freshers together in a speed dating fashion

with the idea that you make friends. There are even prizes for freshers who

end up exchanging contact details by the end!

11th-Treasure hunts

Plymouth University has come up with a safe way to introduce freshers not

only to each other but to the city. This is being done through a virtual

‘Welcome to the City’ treasure hunt! This being a fun way to make friends,

find your way around, and stay safe ranks 11th, bringing us now into the

top 10 adapted freshers’ events taking place this year!

10th- Jackbox Games

Bath University strikes again for 10th place by hosting a large Jackbox

games online night. Jackbox is an online gaming platform where players can

join the main game from their own phones to submit answers and vote for the

winners. There are a lot of fun games on Jackbox and you can play it from

anywhere, not even the same side of the country, so it’s a good way for all freshers to meet up, not just those on campus.

9th-Escape Room

Kings College London has had the brilliant idea to set up a virtual escape

room. New students will be grouped together in a zoom call and then

‘trapped’ in a virtual escape room which they have to work out the puzzles

for digitally! Again, this allows for not only on campus freshers’ to meet

and greet, and is also a great way to get to know other people and make

friends.

8th-Freshers’ goes virtual

Freshers’ Goes Virtual is an online platform that new university students

can sign up to. It is not university specific, so means that students from

across the country and outside of the UK can become members and take part

in the myriad of virtual events that are being hosted in order to meet

people at their university and also neighbouring universities.

This sticks as close to ‘traditional’ freshers fair as you could get, with

vouchers, freebies and job opportunities thrown at you from the safety of

your own phone!

7th-The Kent Olympics

However it’s Kent University that does one better not only keeping

Freshers’ Fair alive but the sports society too. The idea is to host a safe

socially distanced Olympics, replacing close contact sports with safer ones

like archery! Great way to meet new friends and polish up on your skills!

*6th-Stitch and Btch**

Leeds university just misses out on the top five with their Stitch and

B*tch session, a virtual knitting workshop combined with a nice chat!

Learning how to do something new as well as making new friends but also

this one is not limited to those who can come on campus or those who are

not shielding.

Which brings us to the top 5!

5th- One Minute Movies

Again a Leeds university freshers’ event, one minute movies challenges you

to recreate a movie scene yourself in just one minute and submit

it for judging. This sounds hilarious and entertaining, and the best bit is

they’re offering prizes for the best videos! Who wouldn’t want to recreate

that famous Star Wars scene or dress up as Gandalf when there’s a prize

involved?

4th- The Mask-a-Rave Ball

Royal Holloway’s freshers’ line up is inventive and also all unique,

allowing it to take three of the top five spots here.

The activity that ranked fourth was the brilliantly named ‘Mask-A-Rave

Ball’ which is a sit down dinner service in social bubbles followed by a

ball where the theme is…masks! This is a fun take on a dress up ball and

also turns face masks into a main feature, so bust out your sewing skills

and get dressed up!

3rd-Cocktails in a Box

Royal Holloway gets another creative entry by replacing the crowded bar

night with Cocktails in a box. For £30, you and your flat mates can be sent

a party box complete with all the things required to make three Mango and

Passionfruit cocktails so you can recreate a bar night from the safety of

your own kitchen!

2nd-Wine Down time

Edinburgh university strikes second here, with the brilliant idea of

virtual ‘Wine Down’ time. This is a combination of… wine drinking and yoga!

Done from the safety of your own room, the idea is to unwind and drink wine

whilst getting to know other freshers’! As inventive as this is, it wasn’t

quite enough to take top spot though.

As we reach the end of this top 20 list, Royal Holloway returns with a

massively awesome freshers’ plan.

1st-Festival in a Box

Royal Holloway’s best freshers’ idea yet (at least according to me) has to

be the Festival in a box. Recognising the fact club nights aren’t the same

anymore, the university has got around that by instead bringing the club

night to you.

For £30 you will be sent a box complete with bunting, flower crown

headbands, glow necklaces, body glitter in two colours, festival lanyards

and even the cups to drink from! Not only that, but to complete your club

experience from the safety of your accommodation bubble, they will even

send a DJ to some of your halls so you get the full experience!

So that concludes the top 20 freshers’ events happening this year, and it

turns out that freshers 2020/2021 have a lot to look forward to! There are

plenty of other awesome events happening, others not mentioned include

virtual origami (Leeds university), bingo and laser tag (Manchester) and

several movie nights from various universities.

Turns out there really has been a fresh take on freshers after all, and

it’s created some wonderfully different events this year.

 
 
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