Hi there, welcome to Dundee!
I’m going into my third freshers week, and you will probably be able to find me somewhere at the freshers fair. You only have one freshers, but freshers week is still a great time for the students who’ve been here a little longer too.
To end the week is the single busiest university event: The Freshers Fair.
Every uni has one, it’s where people set up stalls and hand out free stuff. And for many people, that’s all they recognise the Freshers Fair as. In my first year, my flatmates and I ran around trying to grab as much free food as we could, and we weren’t the only ones. Free donuts, unlimited Dominos, someone handing out cans of coke. You can really make a day of it. But the point of Freshers Fair is often overwhelmed by the free food.
Here are five tips to make the most of the Freshers Fair!
Grab as much free food as you can
Obviously. You’re a student now, paying for your education. The Gods at Dominos recognise this, and for my last two freshers fairs, have handed out free pizza slices. But they aren’t the only ones. Amazon Prime were handing out Krispy Kreme to people who signed up for Student Prime [which has been a lifesaver, especially with the Amazon Lockers on campus]. Before there was a Krispy Kreme cabinet in the Prem, this was the most popular part of the Freshers tent, with queues out the door. The stalls will also often have sweets to entice you over, but please…
Actually speak to people on the stalls
Running around grabbing free stuff isn’t the point of the Freshers Fair. It’s to introduce new students to the university community, the main bulk of this being the vast array of DUSA Societies. Members of the societies, usually the committee, will have given up their time to work the freshers fair, and sometimes they can just be watching as you run around, grabbing free condoms just because they’re free. Societies are a major part of social life on campus and it’s highly likely you’ll find some that fit for you, with nearly 200 DUSA affiliated societies. Meeting some of the committee at the Fair gives you an idea if you’ll get on well with the people involved in that society. At the same time, they’re students giving up their time to promote something they are really proud of, and it’s kind of sad seeing some of the stalls that don’t give out free stuff being ignored. I can almost guarantee they’ll be friendly too.
Sign up for opportunities, not only societies
It’s not just societies who have stalls at the Freshers Fair. You’ll find people from local businesses and charitable causes too. Last year, a charity was recruiting staff to approach people on the street. A job that doesn’t immediately appeal to many, but it was paid well above minimum wage, unlike some of the jobs available to students in Dundee. It’s worth considering these sorts of opportunities especially because first year is when you have your most free time, and life gets expensive. DUSA and University opportunities will also present themselves, such as the Student Ambassadors recruiting new students to promote the university at events, or DUSA Jobs. Societies that require volunteers, such as Nightline, will also have a presence at the Fair. Nightline is such a vital resource for mental health at the university, and is a really rewarding experience if you’re able to give up your time.
Sign up for all the societies that interest you
Remember to take some cash with you! Some societies require you to pay a membership fee, such as the Dundee Law Society which cost me a one-off fee of £35 [ouch]. Others are completely free, or charge a minimum matriculation fee of a couple of pounds. If the society isn’t charging too large a fee, it’s easy enough to sign up on the spot. This used to be by writing the emails on sheets of paper but with GDPR changes, we’re moving to an online forum. All you’ll have to do is put your university email into a box on a screen, and that’s you kept up to date with what the society is up to. In my experience there isn’t a huge influx of emails: many societies will send a newsletter monthly, but there’s no spam. It’s an easy way to see what events are happening that might interest you personally. Signing up while you’re at the Fair means you don’t have to faff about looking for a Facebook page, but you can join a society at any point throughout the year.
Be open minded, and enjoy!
With over 195 societies affiliated with DUSA, there’s bound to be something at the freshers fair that fits your niche. But, there’s also probably something that doesn’t fit your niche. The best example of this is the politics stalls. Yes, we have a Conservative society, we have a Labour society, and they might be sitting in close proximity. While some debate is acceptable and understandable, the Freshers Fair isn’t really the place for in-depth political arguments and it would be really embarrassing to watch someone try to start one. Try to remember that the people on those stalls are students too and don’t want to get into a scuffle about their views.
I couldn’t end this point without mentioning the Kink Society. These guys will have a stall at the freshers fair, and they might have sex toys on the table. You will probably see people making jokes about it on ‘Dunfess’ afterwards. This obviously isn’t to everyone’s taste, but remember that you’re at university now, exploring new things, and if you are wanting to explore kink, the Kink Society know how to educate you safely and without stigma. Please don’t shame people for their societies.
I hope you enjoy your Freshers Fair and that you get lots of goodies out of it. One final thing to remember would be a water bottle- the Fair can get quite cramped and hot, and while there might be people giving out free drinks, it’s always safer to remember your own one.