The University of Sussex’ shiny new Freshers had little to worry about last week as the USSU laid out an incredible and varied amount of activities and events to ease everyone in.
On Saturday night Freshers were introduced to the University’s very own nightclub, The Cube, which filled with eclectic music and a raucous crowd.
The much-anticipated Welcome Sunday Festival lived up to everyone’s expectations and proved to be a great introduction not only to merry new friends and classmates, but also to some of what Brighton’s nightlife has to offer. Six of Brighton’s premier nightclubs lent themselves to the festival including the Arc and Ocean Rooms. With a host of festival stalls and the extremely busy Jagermeister tent, the Welcome Sunday Festival proved to be a great welcome indeed.
Being Freshers’ Week, the fun continued past the weekend, starting with the Comedy and Hypnotist Night on Monday. Featured on the line-up were the comedienne Katy Schutte and hypnotist Alan Bates, who has guest starred on Graham Norton’s show. For those who were expecting wild and wonderful hypnotism, they certainly got it; one audience member was made to believe he developed eyes on the end of his fingers, and another celebrated ‘winning’ a million pounds on the Lottery by exclaiming, “I’m not giving any of this to you Mum!”
From funny things to free things, Tuesday was a chance for every poor student to stock up on food giveaways and discount vouchers. As well as the mandatory Pot Noodles and condoms, just about every nightclub or event in Brighton was on hand to offer discounts and make sure that you’ll never be bored during the term ahead.
After dark came the extremely popular Brightonian Nights Pub Crawl, in aid of USSU, featuring enough drinking, dancing and music to suit everyone. The USSU Welcome Team ferried Freshers around to pubs such as the Mash Tun, Water Margin and Fish Bowl, before leading the way to a choice of four nightclubs located on the ridiculously windy seafront. Freshers took their pick between good-time cheesy nineties hits in the Funky Buddha Lounge and popular indie tunes in the Arc.
And in case coming to university makes you yearn for the comfort of school, the sports and societies gave Freshers an opportunity to relive the good old days at the ‘School Disco.’ On Wednesday night Campus felt quite surreal, filled with girls with drawn-on freckles and boys in shirts and ties who spent the night dancing to the best of S Club 7 and Steps. One reveller even described it as “quite like a wedding,” and the overall mood was that of a good time, albeit a little bit cheesy.
Dressing up ridiculously was a theme that continued into Thursday night, when USSU hosted their Barn Dance in Mandela Hall. Free locally produced cider was given to the first 100 farmers through the door and with the backdrop of a giant jail, farmers were taught line dancing and listened to a real life banjo-strumming céilidh band, Moves Afoot. The Cube provided Freshers with a drum & bass night featuring the world famous Grooverider, for an evening completely opposed to the Barn Dance.
On Friday night the University of Sussex and Brighton University joined forces for the first time to host the largest Freshers’ Ball in the UK. Held at the seafront’s Brighton Centre, the sell-out event spread across 3 arenas, and showcased the talents of numerous big-name musical acts. These included part-time DJ/full-time celebrity Alexa Chung, indie stars the Mystery Jets, drum & bass legends Chase & Status, and Scott from the 90s boy band 5ive.
The long-running rivalry between the two universities led to only minor disputes on the night. A student from Sussex felt the divide when a neighbouring Brighton student announced that she could “tell [she’s] from Sussex as [she] acts like a snob.” However, much of the feuding was in jest and the general atmosphere was one of celebration.
Rigorous searches on entry and high drink prices for the student crowd (£3.60 for a pint) provoked complaints from a few but in general everybody had a ball.
Following Friday night’s Freshers’ Ball, the Laid Back and Latte event provided everyone with a chance to wind down and recuperate after what was probably the best and strangest weeks of their lives. Fair Trade coffee was sipped to a background of chilled-out music, such as The Ryes, Two Spot Gobi and Les Valentine. Thank you very much to the USSU for giving Sussex 2008 Freshers an exciting, event-packed and very fun Freshers’ Week.