Hello and if you’re new to Leeds, welcome to the University of Leeds,
Writing this blog is Khanh, Harini and Tasuku and we participated in different but amazing events within the official University of Leeds FRESHERS WEEK organised by Leeds University Union (LUU). We have gained a lot memories with our friends and we are writing to share our experiences and stories with you. If you also had the chance to join any events within the FRESHERS WEEK, we hope that those experiences were an unforgettable part of what is the beginning of your student life here at Leeds. And for those of you who didn’t join, don’t worry …we can explain what you’ll expect in the future.
What is FRESHERS WEEK?
FRESHERS WEEK is a series of events organised by Leeds University Union every year with the aim to welcome all new students who come to embark on the new journey of their lives. The event aims to create the most cheerful spirit to all new students so that they will feel welcome, happy and excited. The event also acts as a sharing platform where students can get to know more about other fellow students, make new friends and have a great time here at Leeds.
The FRESHERS WEEK 2021 was a massive event that brought the most diverse activities to welcome thousands of new and returning students coming to Leeds this year. We will cover a list of events from Fresher Welcome Party, Welcome Fair, Bingo Lingo, Retro Games Night, Fruity Headphone Disco, Night market, Herb Garden and the Outdoor Movie Night… There are always interesting events taking place at the Leeds University Union and you can check them out here.
Khanh- Retro Games Night and Bingo Lingo.
Xin Chao! Khanh here from Vietnam. I had the most wonderful experience joining many activities within the FRESHERS WEEK 2021. I was really surprised and impressed with the dynamic atmosphere on the campus for the last few days with lots of students from different countries gathering together and enjoying the FRESHERS Week’s activities. We came from different countries, speaking different languages but we shared the same thing: University of Leeds is our new home, a new beginning for the next chapter of our lives. Speaking of the FRESHERS Week 2021, there was more than 40 events/ activities that took place during the week. Among these activities, there were two activities called “RETRO GAMES NIGHT” and “BINGO LINGO” that I had the chance to participate in and I found them really interesting and crazily fun.
I remember when I was a kid, I used to go to the supermarket with my brother every weekend and play Pacman on an arcade machine. We normally spent half of the day there, using up our savings to purchase coins so we could put them into the machine. Therefore, arcade gaming became a part of my childhood but now, it’s not as popular as it was. For that reason, when I saw the advertisement of the “RETRO GAMES NIGHT”, co-organised by Leeds University Union and Leeds E-sports Society, I was really curious and excited. The event took place in the Common Ground in the Leeds University Union building on Tuesday 21st September from 6pm until 11pm. The event was free and participants didn’t have to purchase any coins for the machines so it became a popular event!
My friend and I arrived around 7pm but we waited a little bit for our turn to use the arcade machines. The area was really crowded and there was around 4-6 arcade machines along with other video game retro consoles so the participants could enjoy a diverse range of games from Pacman, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Mega Drive, Nintendo 64, Gamecube and Dreamcast. It has been quite a long time since I last played Pacman on an arcade machine so my gaming skills were not as good anymore . It took me some time to memorize the way to play and use all the buttons (haha). To be honest, I was really happy as playing on an arcade machine somehow brought back those good memories from my childhood. Personally, I do hope that Leeds University Union and Leeds Esports Society can organise more retro games nights like this, I am sure that any students fans of video games really loved “RETRO GAMES NIGHT”
Have you ever played Bingo before? When I say Bingo, I guess you must have thought of the traditional bingo game?! Let me tell you something: forget about that bingo game now, as BINGO LINGO is completely different from what you have experienced before. I was so surprised, fascinated and really impressed with the BINGO LINGO event that took place on Wednesday night on the 22nd September in The Stylus, Leeds University Union building. The event was co-organised by the bingo brand “BINGO LINGO” and the Union, the ticket entrance was around 10-12 pounds/person. BINGO LINGO could be considered as the most interesting event for me within the FRESHER WEEK 2021, the event has completely changed the way I ever played bingo!
BINGO LINGO was a night full of DJ music, on-stage dancing, twerking, singing, tacky prizes and of course bingo games. The organisers had significantly transformed classic bingo games into a whole new, epic, crazily fun game night that participants could hardly forget. When I walked into the Stylus, I was really impressed with the stage performance, where a male DJ played all types of songs from EDM, Hip Hop, Rap and even some classic songs of ABBA such as Dancing Queen. The place was crowded students, chilling, singing and dancing along with every song. We sat at a table full of 4-6 people and we were provided with a bingo book that consisted of 6 bingo cards, which represented 6 rounds of games. The DJ, who was also the host, was really energetic and amazing. He took control of the stage, his audiences and really spiced up the night. Within the first hour of the night, we just enjoyed the night and music. Then the BINGO game started as the host shouted different numbers. In order to win, we must have matching numbers in 1 line, 2 lines and a full house which was 3 lines. The funniest thing is whenever someone won, they shouted BINGO, then they were invited to the stage and make some dance moves along with the DJs and 2 dancers before being awarded with gifts. The night kept going on and on until all 6 rounds of bingo were completed, making it almost midnight. That night, I was not the luckiest person and I didn’t win any prizes, but above all, I came back home having one of the funniest and most enthralling experiences so far in my student life. BINGO LINGO was unlike any events that I have participated in. For that reason, I would recommend you to keep your eyes on the event in the future, grab your and enjoy the unforgettable night of your life.
Harini – Official Welcome Party and Night Market.
Official Welcome Party
Student life is never complete without informal events organised by the student union to officially welcome the freshers [new students] with music, food and drinks. Harini Nagesh here now, I attended the official welcome party event organised by the Leeds University Union for the FRESHERS WEEK 2021. Unlike the Fruitys (the semester union parties) this event was free of cost. It was the biggest union event with 2,000 or more students attending. The event was open to all. The event was conducted at the Stylus venue from 10pm – 4am . The event hosted 6 rooms of DJ’s and live music. It was a night of dancing and partying with your friends and course mates. The music ranged from the band Queen to Taylor swift. The best part was the music catered to the taste of a wide range of audience and everyone had something to dance too. Party’s like this are a great platform to socialise with your course mates and I was fortunate enough to meet many new students through this event. The union also arranged a night bus for students who needed to get back but lived further away. The night bus is an initiative the union offers all through the year to ensure students return safely. The bus costs £1 per person and is really convenient for students after hours of dancing and partying.
If you are someone who loves socialising and clubbing, I would highly recommend attending these events in the future, as they are budget friendly at the same time tailored to the taste of the students attending it.
The second event I attended during FRESHERS WEEK 2021 was the night market. The night market event included food, drinks and music from 5pm to 10pm. The event was hosted in front of the Leeds University Union building and stalls were set up by various student entrepreneurs and brands. The stalls included clothing, crafts, candles and paintings mostly by students as well as other small brands in and around Leeds. There was also a wide range of food and drinks specific to Yorkshire. The stalls had a variety of food such as satay, Yorkshire cheese, Italian food etc. We also had some famous English gin and some non-alcoholic drinks. We tried some amazing calzones from an Italian food stall. The stalls also sold some house plants , posters and sustainable articrafts. To add to the vibe, the union had organised a band to play some amazing songs all through the event. It was a treat to see the campus buzzing with so many students dancing to great music and enjoying good food . This event was a great opportunity to catch up with the fellow students on campus and have a nice chill evening with music and drinks.
Tasuku – Herb garden and Welcome Fair stalls.
Hello, I’m Tasuku from Japan. During FRESHERS WEEK 2021, I participated in one of the wellbeing activities called “herb garden”. Unlike the other events, wellbeing events are mostly free, and require no sign-up, so you can turn up on the day when you have time or feel like going to one. In this activity, we have planted seeds of herbs in a small container, which (hopefully) would grow and can be harvested to bring a rich flavour to the student meals that otherwise taste boring.
The instructions for planting the herb were very easy to follow; just add some soil into small containers, followed by seeds of your choice, water then cover the top with cling film – and that’s done! All equipment and materials were provided and we all had six wells to plant different seeds in, but because all the other popular plants’ seeds were taken by the time I arrived at the event, I had no other choice but to go for coriander to plant. I do love coriander so I am looking forward to harvesting them soon. Some of the other participants decided to buy their own seeds and plant them after the workshop. Although it was scheduled for an hour, the actual process of planting only took half as much time. We spent the rest of the time talking to and getting to know each other, and found out that there were a lot of students in their second year as well, who were not able to experience the freshers last year, like me.
Typically, FRESHERS WEEK connotes very energetic and consists of events like clubs and live music events, which are more suited to outgoing and extroverted people, but there are many events like this where you can socialise with other freshers in an alcohol-free and relaxed environment. I would strongly recommend this type of event if you prefer a more calm atmosphere, rather than going clubbing or partying, and want to reassure you that there are many more events to accommodate everyone’s needs and preferences.
Welcome Fair stalls
Finally, during there was the Welcome Fair. From Monday to Friday, there were a number of stalls representing a wide range of societies and organisations in the university. Each day had its own theme, and the societies that followed the theme would set up the tent in front of the union, inside the Riley Smith theatre, and at the Edge. In these stalls, students can take a look at what kind of societies they may be interested in, and if so, sign up for the give it a go sessions (GIAG for short). This is generally a free trial event to try and meet people in a society before choosing to continue, so that you can commit to the societies you truly love. In addition to the welcome fair, there were also shops selling posters and plants to decorate your room, as well as stalls set up by domino’s and Deliveroo, which both gave out free meals and slices of pizzas! Since they run out very quickly, my advice is to go there around 11 to secure all free items up for grab!
These events are just a few snippets from the events taking place during the freshers week, and there are a whole lot more that we just could not cover. We hope you’ll take the opportunity to explore what kind of events there are for when you join! On top of these, keep in mind all the events that run all year long, such as day trips to other cities/towns. Moreover, there are more events like Give It A Go sessions (GIAG), and free socials hosted by every society, as well as exercise and wellbeing sessions that run throughout October and November. I hope our blog gave you an idea about what to expect at FRESHERS WEEK and we can’t wait to welcome you in the near future!