The packed week of events started on Saturday 15 September, with eager Freshers moving into their new homes and embarking on the beginning of the life-changing adventure that is university life.
Throughout the week, new students attended a variety of events organised by the Students’ Union, aimed to facilitate student interaction and help newcomers explore Brighton and the campus.
The week began with socials in Falmer and East Slope Bars, and the Welcome Sunday Party, which showcased acts such as Huw Stephens and Jakwob, and our very own student radio station, URF.
Throughout the week, Freshers had the opportunity to relax at events such as Laid Back and Latte and explore the variety of sports clubs and socieities on offer at the University of Sussex at the Freshers’ Fair.
They also got the chance to attend club nights and the Brightonian Night’s pub crawl.
Finally, a night of Hollywood glamour brought the week to a close, with the Freshers’ Ball at the Brighton Dome.
A few University of Sussex students wanted to share their Freshers Week experiences.
The University of Sussex Freshers’ Week 2012 kicked off with the Sunday Welcome Party, held in a huge marquee behind Falmer Bar, and it was definitely the perfect way to start off what we were assured was going to be the best week of our lives. The music was loud, the students that swarmed from all corners of campus to join the mayhem were louder, and the drinks were very definitely flowing.
Inside the gloom of the tent, which was lit only by lasers, and by the hundreds of glowing wristbands that seemed to materialise out of nowhere, thousands of freshers crowded towards the stage, many wearing the colours of their residences.
The music itself clearly didn’t disappoint, with a huge mix that ranged from the most popular tunes right now to the absolute classics, and with such a varied playlist there was no way that anybody could complain that they had nothing good to dance to.
The night was rowdy, boozy, dirty and probably exactly what every first year needed to kick-start their university experience.
Standing, dressed to the nines, in a long queue at 6.15, clutching a jam jar of rum was the beginning of Brightonian Nights. And it was this queuing that became a recurring theme throughout. The aim was to get a taste of Brighton’s diverse nightlife, but ended up as us being herded from small pubs to empty clubs, cajoled into shuffling along by our guides, Will & Grace, and their whistles. The whole night was reminiscent of school discos: the two by two processions and barren dance floors – this time fuelled by alcohol rather than cherry aid.
Once we’d completed our tick list of pubs (Western Front, Earth & Stars, and Riki Tik with its swinging chairs) we ended up triumphantly at the promenade of seafront clubs by 10.30 sharp. A fellow reveler was also skeptical about the night, saying: “it was a good concept, but poorly executed”.
I have to admit, after attempting to get my money’s worth, I gave up and fled to The Green Door Store with its offerings of Curtis Mayfield and J Dilla, personally infinitely preferable to Pitbull and Chris Brown. Many people however did describe the night as “completely and utterly hilarious, a brilliant way to meet people”.
Being a postgraduate, I had pointedly made the decision to avoid as many of the Freshers’ Week events as I could. The idea of being swamped by people who, after three years previously at a University in the far-North, seem to be fresh-faced children seemed to be more tiring than it really should.
However, despite this ‘prejudice’, I still managed to allow myself to be persuaded to go along to the Pier Party on the Thursday night.
Having lived in the Brighton area for the majority of my life, I had never really seen the pier as a venue for any kind of event or party, only as a local tourist spot.
I was therefore surprised at how much fun I had. The sideshows and wandering entertainers that were on offer on the pier that night lent the whole place a very surreal edge. Talking to a man juggling neon multi-coloured clubs whilst we were sat eating waffles was bizarre in itself. The fact that the rides, which I have in the past attempted to avoid as overpriced and really rather tacky, were a good way of giving this particular event a unique feel which I haven’t experienced at any previous freshers’ event.
There were a few however, who said that more free rides would have been a good idea.
With the end of Freshers’ Week 2012 came the arrival of Hollywood. The Brighton Dome was transformed into a red carpeted, paparazzi swarmed Tinseltown hub of immaculately dressed guys and dolls sipping champagne and swaying to Sinatra. The new batch of fresh-faced undergraduates circulated around the main area of the ball, holding awkward conversations about halls and courses and home towns.
Pippa Groom, a 19 year old Biomedical Science student from Norwich informed us that while she had forked out for tickets for every event, she thought it was too expensive. The access all events Golden Ticket had sold out quickly which meant spending a lot more; the Ball itself was £36. Pippa told us that the prices had been too off-putting for the rest of her flatmates, who decided to keep it cheap and buy their doubles in East Slope bar – where they certainly are not £6.
Money was on the minds of many guests. Two Law and International Relations students from Sweden, Sarah and Venla, were questioning what their £36 had been spent on. They found the food on offer wasn’t all that nice, while the single glass of free Prosecco didn’t take the sting out of the Brighton Dome’s high prices.