Cardiff University has been working hard over the summer to prepare a safe and secure campus to welcome back students and staff. But for this year’s new student intake, their first few weeks will be an altogether different experience from their predecessors.
The ongoing pandemic has thrown up numerous challenges, but Cardiff University Students’ Union has been busy making plans to ensure new students don’t miss out on those formative first few weeks.
Luke Evans Vice President of Societies and Volunteering told us: “This year, like any other, we wanted to make sure that every student has the opportunity to engage with our wide range of activities. Whether this is making friends through societies or getting involved with our volunteering groups and other services, the student experience, along with keeping everyone safe is at the heart of everything we do at the Students’ Union. COVID-19 may be changing how we operate, but I’m incredibly proud of everyone’s commitment and dedication to making this year just as special.”
New students will be pleased to hear that Freshers’ will be extended this year. This gives everyone the opportunity to get involved but keeps the number of people on site at a safe level.
One of the biggest challenges facing Freshers is getting to know one another whilst sticking to social distancing and socialising guidelines. To tackle this, the Students’ Union team have planned a variety of virtual events so students can enjoy Freshers’ from the comfort of their own homes (loungewear optional) as well as working with in-house venues to re-open safely. Students popping for a pint at The Taf pub will need to book a table for seated-only sessions, and order using their app. Y Plas nightclub has a schedule of socially distanced seated events, including a UV party and Oktoberfest, and although students won’t be able to dance until the early hours, the music, banter and drinks will still be flowing.
A key part of any Freshers’ is signing up for clubs and societies, and although you may think it’s impossible to try virtual ice-skating, that hasn’t stopped the Give it a Go team from putting together an incredible range of drop-in online events. From cricket to Bollywood dancing, sailing to medieval re-enactment, students will have the chance to find out more and chat to different clubs and societies, as well as joining in with quizzes, design challenges, and singalong sessions. There’s also the opportunity to join some amazing Cardiff Volunteering projects for virtual and socially distanced events.
Although this year’s Freshers’ will look very different to the experience we all fondly remember, this virtual and socially distanced approach will help keep students, staff and the wider community safe, while helping new students feel at home, have fun and make lifelong friends.