Freshers Fair to be hosted virtually as SU announces Welcome 2020 plans

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By Filiz Emily Gurer, News Editor

Bristol SU have revealed their plans for Welcome 2020 with the official programme set to launch on A-Level Results Day, Thursday 13 August.

This year’s Welcome event will be adapted in line with social distancing guidance and government advice, with events due to take place both online and in-person.

The period, which is usually referred to as Welcome Week, will this year be known as Welcome 2020 and will span a series of weeks.

The SU’s focus for Welcome 2020 is ‘to connect students to each other, build a sense of community and connection to the university and city.’

The annual Welcome Fair, which in the past has been held on the Downs, will this year be hosted virtually.

The Fair will take place online on Wednesday 7 October using the platform Vfairs and will be available on demand for a month.

At the Welcome Fair students will, as usual, have the opportunity to meet and talk to student societies, sport clubs and volunteering projects, local businesses, Bristol SU services and commercial stallholders (with access to freebies and discount codes).

Welcome 2020 events will be added to the programme from 13 August as it becomes clearer what is possible to be held in person.

The SU is working in partnership across the University with the Global Lounge, Sport, Exercise and Health and Resilife to deliver a full events programme.

Bristol SU, issuing a preliminary outline of their plans, explained that ‘the welcome events programme will be spread over a series of weeks to allow students arriving in Bristol at different times to take part.

'This will also allow greater opportunity for students to attend the events they are interested in, bearing in mind that in-person events will be capped.

‘There will be a number of virtual events which will be held online during August and September pre-arrivals for students to take part in, which will then become a mix of in-person and virtual events.’

Students arriving in halls will be given a ‘Welcome Box’, produced by the SU, to provide activities for students to take part in with their flatmates, together with useful information, including a guide to Bristol SU.

There are plans to use video, audio and text-based chat for students to interact during the Welcome Fair.

Further details about the Fair will be released by the SU later on in the summer.

Union Affairs Officer, Julio Mkok, provided the following comments on Welcome 2020:

‘Whilst next academic year will be different for everyone I’m still really looking forward to Welcome. Our teams are working really hard to make sure it’s a great experience and you get plenty of opportunity to meet other people in a safe way.

‘Our student groups are usually front and centre with the Welcome Fair and Give it a Go activities and this year will be no different! This year is the first time we’re holding events before students have even arrived which is really exciting.’

Julio concluded, saying ‘I can’t wait for the programme to go live!’

SU Welcome Banner | Courtesy of Bristol SU 

Also speaking on the matter a Bristol SU spokesperson said:

‘Welcome Week will look different this year compared to previous welcome week event programmes and we’re still working out a lot of the detail. However, we’re working hard to make sure that what we deliver continues to be high-quality, engaging and fun… and to replicate where possible all the aspects of Welcome Week that make it so amazing.

‘We’ll be sharing more information in due course and encourage students to keep an eye on our channels as we reveal more about the official welcome week programme.’

The SU's statement included a reminder that all events which are part of the official Bristol SU Welcome will use the word ‘official’, be hosted by Bristol SU and carry the Bristol SU logo.

They pointed out that there are a number of unofficial Bristol Freshers programmes run by promoters which are already live and selling tickets for club nights but that there is no guarantee that they will go ahead. The SU stated ‘we’d encourage students to exercise caution when considering external events.’

Students can sign up to receive further updates about Welcome 2020 via bristolsu.org.uk/welcome.

Featured: Epigram / Patrick Sullivan


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