Freshers’ Week 2020 unveiled with Covid-19 restrictions
The Freshers’ Week lineup was announced on 13 August, with both online and in-person events adhering to social distancing regulation still in place due to Covid-19. This year will also not require a Freshers’ Band and will be free for all first-year students.
Many regular daytime events are scheduled to still take place. Campus and west end tours are still available during the week with limited capacity to allow for physical distancing, as well as virtual west end tours becoming available. Other events are also being held with these restrictions to ensure safety.
Student Representative Council (SRC)
The SRC is still planning to hold a Freshers’ festival, one of the biggest events in the week as societies have stalls to present themselves to new students, with companies also coming to the event. Their “Giant West End Scavenger Hunt” will also take place on campus.
Other SRC events will be done online or both. New events are tailored specifically for helping people starting university during the pandemic, such as “Find a Mate Whilst You Isolate” done online via Zoom, which will be held over five days. Others include, “Introduction to Scottish Country Dancing” with Glasgow University Scottish Country Dancing Club, Glaswegian Bingo, and various quiz events.
Vice President of Student Activities, Amy McKenzie Smith, stated: “Freshers’ Week 2020 is undeniably going to be different from previous years… However, myself, my predecessor, and our team of staff have been working super hard for months to ensure that we can still provide a fun, exciting, and safe welcome to the University.”
The SRC’s main event of the week, the Freshers’ Festival, formerly the Freshers’ Fair, has been a huge undertaking to plan. The fair would normally take place in the Bute Hall, and across some of the other rooms in the Main Building, but this year will be taking place on the quadrangles and cloisters outdoors.
Smith also said that in-person events are “dependent on the latest government guidance”, but they are prepared for any changes in government guidance that may occur.
Glasgow University Sports Association (GUSA)
GUSA will be running a four-day Sports Fayre between Tuesday and Friday of Freshers’ Week, possibly in the Stevenson Building, with sports clubs socially distant but still able to interact with students. It has been confirmed they plan to run taster sessions for their sports clubs where it’s safe to do so, but details about that and other events are coming at a later date. GUSA is particularly affected by the virus as Scottish gyms are still ordered shut with the potential window of reopening starting 14 September, in the middle of Freshers’ Week.
Despite the setbacks GUSA President, Shereif Kholeif, seemed optimistic for the week stating: “The world has recently faced one of our biggest challenges with the COVID pandemic, but what has been getting us through is community. Nowhere will you find a stronger community than right here at Glasgow, and we are ready to welcome you into it.”
Queen Margaret Union (QMU)
They have an array of events in the day and night; however most of these will be hosted online, such as “Pads and Pints” while other past notables like “Speed Mating” will still take place at QMU. They also have several events for their magazine, Qmunicate, which appears also to be in the building.
President of the QMU, Ruaraidh Campbell, said: “the majority of our events will be held online this year and our volunteers are hard at work preparing lots of content for our QMUTV platform. We’re also trying to iron out the last details for small-scale socially distanced events in the Union. We’re very proud and excited with the program we’re delivering this year and are pleased to still be able to offer an immersive if unconventional Freshers’ Week.”
Glasgow University Union (GUU)
Whilst the GUU is hosting “GUU All Night Long” most days, which will be socially distanced pub nights throughout the Union. The Union will be transformed into a large bar utilising other rooms in the building besides beer bar. The GUU will hold other events on-site that include: “Freshers’ Bingo”, “Spoken Word Open Mic” and their “Grand Show Debate” with the motion “This House Believes the Scottish Government failed in their response to Coronavirus”.
GUU President, Nam Ranpuria, and Honorary Secretary, Blake Gray, stated: “Our staff and board have been working incredibly hard to make sure that the Union is safe and secure for all our members. We have invested in training our staff, security, and board, as well as changing the physical setup of the building and introducing table service and table booking systems. Working closely with the University, we have made sure you get the best GUU experience in the safest way possible. We promise as soon as guidelines allow us to open our nightclub spaces again, we will host our freshers the biggest GUU night with HIVE and much more.”
The Gilchrist Postgraduate Club
Postgraduate students will still be able to attend events held by the Gilchrist Postgraduate Club. They are hosting a series of online events including a “Murder Mystery” on Friday 18 September.
All events in the timetable, however, state that they are subject to change with government regulations, to keep up to date with Covid restrictions. You can find more information about events on the Freshers’ Week website: https://uofgfreshers.native.fm/