Socially distance & freshers week in University

Sarah Marsh - September 29, 2020

Students, Sambuca, and social distancing. Can it be done?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past six months, you’ll know a certain virus has turned our lives upside down. At the time of writing, gatherings have been limited to a maximum of six people to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. We ask all our students at any student accommodation to social distance & on campus in University!

Meeting new friends, making connections, and generally having a good time is a large part of being a student. So it’s understandable you’re concerned whether social distancing measures will put a dampener on your freshers week. After all, you’re only a student once.

To help put your concerns to bed, we’re here to show you that a socially-distanced freshers week can be just as fun (if not more) as any other year.

Embrace the new normal

Over the past few months, we’ve heard a lot about this so-called new “normal”. And more often than not, the new normal is anything but. Normally, freshers week consists of jam-packed nightclubs and halls fit to burst with mingling new students. It’s safe to say, those kinds of social settings will be off the (disinfected) table this year.

But that doesn’t mean your freshers week will be confined to your room. On the contrary, universities across the country have prepared new ideas to get students involved with ice-breaking activities. According to Prospects, there are lots of in-person and COVID-secure events you could expect during freshers week. While it depends on which university/ student accommodation you’re attending. Ideas could include open-air cinema nights, outdoor food festivals, and night markets.

For example, a spokesperson for Newcastle University confirmed that freshers activities will range from:

  • city tours,
  • taster sessions for clubs and societies,
  • a brands and business fair,
  • street food,
  • comedy and music nights,
  • cookery demonstrations and more.

Sounds pretty fun to us! So if you’re staying in Burgess House, you should definitely check this out!

On top of that, there will also be a much bigger focus on online events and streaming than ever before. With virtual events taking off this year, universities are pulling out all the stops to create fun ideas for freshers week! Such as virtual escape rooms to enjoy with your new friends.

Other virtual events could include:

  • Quiz nights
  • Yoga classes
  • Film watching parties
  • DJ sets
  • Bingo nights

It’s all about accepting the new normal and embracing the positive side of things. For example, freshers week has become renowned for being too focused on drinking culture; a socially-distanced freshers week might be a positive turning point for students looking to explore student life without a sore head the next day.

Turn it into a game

If there’s anything freshers love, it’s a game. With the virus here to stay for the foreseeable, it’s likely students will encourage social distancing in a fun fashion.

Since distancing measures came into effect, we’ve seen large comedy hats and inflatable costumes designed to keep other people at bay. Combine a student’s love for fancy dress with COVID-19, and we can only guess what this year might bring!

Whether you’re enjoying an outdoor cinema event or dancing in a make-shift “nightclub”, you can be sure of one thing: your freshers week will be totally memorable and unique. So while you might not experience a typical freshers week, you’ll play your part in a time of great innovation and change.

All’s not lost

Don’t forget, many typical social activities are still safe to go ahead without any major changes. And since workplaces and educational environments aren’t subject to distancing rules, your lectures and seminars will still go ahead at university as normal as long as you follow the government guidelines. The majority of universities in the UK have opted for a ‘blended learning’ strategy, meaning that some lectures will take place online.

Pub quizzes

Bars and pubs are still open, however, a 10 pm curfew is currently being enforced by the government to combat the spread of COVID-19. Providing that you follow the government guidelines, going to the pub can continue to be a cornerstone of student life. Student pub quizzes are a perfect way to get to know the students living in your building during freshers week. And you’ll have had plenty of Zoom quizzes to give you a head start!