What will Freshers look like at Cardiff Students’ Union?

Cardiff Student's Union entrance
Cardiff Students' Union has told Gair Rhydd of its new plans for Freshers' Week 2020. Credit: Mustakim Hasnath
As the guidelines around COVID-19 continue to change, Cardiff Students' Union has told Gair Rhydd of its new approach to Freshers' Week 2020.

By Tirion Davies | Editor-in-Chief

As Welsh Government guidelines continue to change due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, students returning to university this Autumn will see many changes to the traditional university experience.

We still don’t know too much about how night clubs across the capital will work, especially after Coyote Ugly came under fire for failing to stick to social distancing measures, but Cardiff University Students’ Union has told Gair Rhydd of its plans for Freshers’ Week 2020. 

The initial plans set out by Cardiff Students’ Union regarding Freshers’ Week were ambitious. However, due to ever-evolving Welsh Government guidelines, the Students’ Union has since found a new way of ensuring Freshers 2020 will still go ahead in a different way.

Although many of us will be eager to get back to a normal Freshers experience, student life will be incredibly different this year to how it has been before, and Students’ Unions across the UK are having to accommodate.

But what will Freshers look like for Cardiff University students?

Tickets on sale

Tickets for the Taf and Y Plas will go on sale this week as fixed seating areas for food and drink.

 Following the launch of the Students’ Union’s food and drink app last year, using the vast indoor spaces the Students’ Union has, table orders will be an easy way of ensuring the safety of all students and Taf staff members.

Although traditional club nights of course won’t be available due to the “rule of six” in Wales, tickets to some seated freshers events will be available over the coming weeks. 

The Students’ Union is attempting to work with licensing authorities to deliver activities for students, but as with most matters during this pandemic, everything is subject to changing regulations.

Digital events

Student groups within Cardiff Students’ Union will work to deliver digital events, and a limited number of face-to-face activities, subject to risk assessments and compliance with the law.

 Over 100 Give it a Go events across societies and sports teams will be ready for students, in addition to digital wellbeing sessions such as Yoga and wellness classes. 

Micro Fairs (face-to-face Freshers’ Fairs with limited capacity) was once on the timetable for the 2020 Freshers’ Week at Cardiff University, but again, subject to Government guidelines, these in-person events are not feasible, even with a limited capacity.

A Digital Freshers’ Fair will be attempted in its place, with the hope of being able to host an in-person event later in the academic year.  

What does the Students’ Union have to say?

In a statement, Cardiff University Students’ Union expressed,

“As a top 3 UK Students’ Union, we are proud that our services and activities are at the heart of that student experience… we cannot wait for a time when we can deliver them in ways we have done previously.

 “For now, we will help represent you and deal with any issues that arise from our new ways of blending learning, support you deal with anything COVID-19 throws your way and still help you make the friendships and memories in a new way.”

 The Students’ Union has stated that staff have been attempting to boost their digital output to ensure that services can be run remotely for students so that they can still feel supported.

Student support teams are still available, and information such as opening times, telephone numbers, and email addresses are on the Students’ Union’s website.

The biggest change implemented by the Students’ Union will be their house rules within their venues, to ensure that students are keeping themselves and those around them safe. These rules will follow Welsh Government measures to ensure that no one is breaking the new laws. 

Despite Freshers’ Week 2020 being quite unlike previous years, Cardiff University services like the Students’ Union are trying to ensure students make the most of the week in the safest way possible. 

Through digital and limited in-person events, there will still be some things to look forward to when it comes to Freshers 2020.

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