Fresh Start Festival: Here’s what you need to know

Fresh Start Festival takes place between 24 and 30 January

Want to know more about the Fresh Start Festival? Well, we’re here to answer all your questions. The Leeds Tab spoke to Beth Eaton, the Well-being Officer at Leeds University Union.

The  concept of Fresh Start Festival was an original part of her manifesto.

Beth Eaton, LUU Well-being Officer 2021/2022

Q. What is the Fresh Start Festival?

Fresh Start Festival is a week of social activities, events, workshops and gives students from any year at Leeds the opportunity to find your people, learn new things and discover the support, opportunities and activities available to you at Leeds.

The Festival is a partnership between Leeds University Union and the University of Leeds, and offers a range of events to help you settle back into University. It will take place between January 24 and January 30 2022.

There will be a tent on the University Precinct which will be home to many sessions, opportunities to speak to new people and meet many more.

The Edge are also running numerous active sessions like classes, guided walks and treasure hunts.

Q. What were your motivations for starting Fresh Start Festival?

Fresh Start Festival is a play off of “Welcome Week” which students experienced in September, often seen as a first-year only event. Beth made it clear Fresh Start is open to any student at Leeds who wants to participate.

With many students finding the move to University in September overwhelming, and second and third years not necessarily being back in Leeds for this, Fresh Start gives you the opportunity to get back into action at Leeds.

Originally, Beth spoke to friends about her idea, and the more she spoke about it, the more support she got. Beth said that with Covid, there has been a definite lack of social interaction so the festival aims to alleviate that.

Many students also find themselves wishing they had joined a society in September, and that it may be too late to join now as everyone has already found friends. This is not the case though, as on January 26 2022 there will be a Fresh Start Fair, with many societies present to offer GIAGs and welcome sessions, with there also being freebies being given away!

Beth also felt that many students had reported being overwhelmed when settling into second semester, with many going home for Christmas and spending the whole holidays revising for January exams, with no proper time to have a break. This week of events hopes to provide an answer to these issues.

Q. What are your future hopes for Fresh Start Festival?

Beth hopes for the Fresh Start Festival to become as established as the Welcome Week in September – as it fits perfectly into the Leeds&You yearly welcome offered to students, with events, activities and tours taking place year round.

In future years, she hopes for the festival to take place in its own dedicated week, allowing students to have a proper break before restarting for Semester 2. However, she acknowledges the high number of assessments some students take, so this is an issue she hopes future exec can work on.

Q. What kind of things can students expect to see during Fresh Start Festival?

There will be a massive range of activities on during Fresh Start Festival, with something to suit everyone. From an opportunity to meet PC Laura Beaton, the University Campus Police Officer, to a City Chase Treasure Hunt, tours of York, Windermere and Knaresborough and many Society events, there really is something for everyone.

You can see the full list of events offered here.

Q. What are you most looking forward to and why?

Beth is most excited for the LUU Drag Night, which takes place in Pyramid on January 27 2022 at 7.30PM. The event will include performances by Drag Queens, a lip sync battle with members of the crowd dancing on the stage.

The winner of the Lip Sync Battle receives £50 worth of LUU vouchers.

Tickets can be purchased here.

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