These are the biggest and baddest societies you’ll meet at the Freshers’ Fair

Circle ‘werk’, is it?

Mailing lists. Stash. Promises of fame and eternal glory. The Freshers’ fair is the annual battleground in which societies weigh in to grab the attention of the all the many deers caught in the social headlights. Don’t know what’s what? We’ve got you covered.

The Tab

The coolest hacks in town with our Tab condoms (stay safe, kids), seriously fashionable (read: tacky) white and red t-shirts and our endless supply of mugs, we will be unavoidable at the freshers fair. You can come find us at our stall, or see us wandering around the fair looking for a new ‘story’/that guy we’ve had our eyes on for the past two years/free pizza. Write for us if you enjoy losing friends and alienating people while drinking gin and tonic out of a tab mug at a CUSU meeting. Oh and also if you want to be read. (I’m told there are two more student papers in Cambridge, but I for one have found no evidence to substantiate that claim.)


Sadly also unavoidable at the fair and in your inbox for the rest of your student life, CUSU are substitute parents: their main impact in your life now is the provision of sexual health supplies, but they will constantly get in contact with you about other things they do (like attending meetings) in order to convince you that they actually matter. Disaffiliate from CUSU campaigns will become a part of everyday life, despite the fact that no one has yet found a discernible difference in their lives due to the state of their college’s CUSU affiliation. Getting involved means running for a sabbatical position, which is at root just a way to prolong the Cambridge experience for those scared of adulthood (#Milo4Jam, anyone?) and/or a stepping stone into Labour politics.

The Union

Not to be confused with the Student’s Union (CUSU), despite the fact that both spam your newsfeed, have very little impact on your life and are stunningly undemocratic. The difference essentially comes down to #freezepeach and minor-celebrity speakers. The Union comes neck-and-neck with the Tab when it comes to producing Cambridge hacks and the two together create a circle jerk that 95% of Cambridge students will never have to encounter (the lucky many). For those who do get involved with the Union the rewards are alcohol, feeling important when running events while looking like a douche and lots of opportunities to bust out your black tie. Disadvantages include the loss of your social life, far too much time spent with egos that barely fit in the building and the increased chance of becoming a Tory backbencher in later life.



The friends you make in freshers week that you know are too edgy to ever really like you will probably end up here, living out their dreams of following in the footsteps of Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston. When they aren’t auditioning, they will be performing in a series of increasingly more experimental plays. You’ll attend the first two or three to be nice, but by the time third year comes around you won’t even open the Facebook notifications.


Bearing little relation to other Cambridge students, rowers like to get up at 4am, speak in their own (slightly dirty-sounding) language and wear lycra for activities that should not require lycra. You’ll see them once a term when they emerge for boat club dinners and bumps and you’ll need to talk about rowing to them once a year when their knowledge comes in useful for the boat race.


The Hawks/Ospreys

They stand out thanks to their superhuman athletic prowess and ability to wear sports kit to any and all functions without embarrassment. They will be everywhere at the freshers fair, enticing you to try taster sessions in sports ranging from archery to Eton fives. You will invariably go to one or two, injure yourself (the gymnastics taster session in Michaelmas 2015 left me with more bruises than I care to admit) and quit the sport shortly afterwards. If you’re lucky the experience will leave you with knowledge that you can repurpose every time the Olympics comes around.