‘Cattle Herding’

Students greet new one-way system at Freshers Fair with tepid enthusiasm


One memorable feature of this year’s Freshers’ Fair was the the unrelenting presence of queues throughout the DSU, in some cases winding all the way back to Kingsgate Bridge.

Soaked by rain and shivering in university gowns, St Mary’s fresher Kleo could summon little enthusiasm as she entered the DSU on Wednesday. “We’ve had to wait out here in the rain for 20 minutes and before our college photo took an hour to take”, she commented amongst a huddle of faces sporting all the gusto of refugees.

The queues were largely the effect of the DSU’s decision to implement a strictly enforced one-way route through the Freshers’ Fair (referred to as a ‘rabbit run’ by several freshers who spoke to the The Tab). This meant that students could only enter the building through one set of doors and joined a queue that took them past every stall. Attempts to enter through non-assigned entrances were met with the iron impenetrability of DSU staff.

In some rooms, bottlenecks developed next to popular stalls such as Dominos Pizza, which was handing out pizza slices. As crowds of damp Freshers huddled around these stalls, jostling for food it was difficult to shake their initial comparison with refugees.

DSU Marketing Director Lyndsey Gilmartin explained the system was adopted to allow each stall equal exposure so that Freshers could view all the extra-curicular options the university had to offer. “It was to prevent some students just going in to get a pizza and then running back out again”, she joked.

“We had more footfall and more sign-ups, it was a better system and students benefited from the experience”.

Gilmartin did concede that some second and third years found the queuing inconvenient.

A Cuths third year assigned to man a stall was told, during a three hour shift, that she was unable to go against the one-way system to get a glass of water. Instead she was forced to join the procession and take a lengthy detour before returning to her stall. An experience she described as “cattle-herding” by the over-zealous marshals.

Gilmartin added that a full review of the system would take place to determine its effectiveness for next year.