I really want Sussex Freshers’ to be good this year
It’s fast approaching the end of summer and the beginning of a new academic year. For those embarking on the first year of their university adventure, this means excitement for the legendary Freshers' Week has feverously begun.
At Sussex, this hype is heightened by the promise of pier parties, music festivals and the seemingly endless promotion companies lining Brighton’s many nightclubs. Rightly seen as one of the most vibrant, diverse and student-orientated towns in Britain, Brighton is an incredible place to be a bushy-tailed fresher.
For this year, the line-up sounds genuinely fresh and enjoyable. Welcome to the Jungle promises to be huge, with three DJ stages dotted around campus. Meanwhile the Sussex Block Party will take over seven venues in what will surely be a huge night. I hope so, because, truth be told, Sussex Freshers' Week has always been a bit of a let-down.
Cards, passes and wristbands have long been waved in front of naïve first years by promoters like golden tickets to an idealistic fantasy party that starts in September and ends in infinity. The reality of not being able to drink at the pier party, of being frozen solid in humongous seafront club queues, and of being charged extortionate amounts for half-arsed DJ sets soon hit.
In previous years, an awful lot of new students fell into the inevitable trap of opening up their wallets to the first flyer or event invitation they are given, instead of picking quality from quantity. There’s an assumption that everyone attends the same events, but in a place as diverse as Brighton this is rarely the case. It should fall on the university to organise and channel freshers into particular events, rather than leave it to promoters.
It seems as though the Union has listened, because there are a more diverse range of events this time around. The fact that there are three stages at Welcome to the Jungle, instead of the one tent last year, and that there’s the option to get your Ryan Gosling fix at the screening of La La Land if heavy partying isn’t your cup of tea ensures that everyone is well-catered for. As simple as it sounds, Sussex has rarely got it right.
Meeting new people and enjoying the most vibrant week on the uni calendar is what freshers is all about, but during my own experience last year it felt like I managed this in spite the events on offer, rather than because of. It looks as though these dark days of bad organisation and overhyped damp squibs might just be at an end.
Another reason to look forward to this year’s instalment is – as crazy as it sounds – the impending demolition of East Slope Bar. They say that it’s always darkest before the dawn, and this tragedy could pave the way for an even wilder SKINT this time around, as loyal regulars and enthusiastic newbies attempt to give this historic building a fittingly sesh-filled send off. It launches on the 19th, so I suggest you get down there and see what all the fuss is about.
Overall, the university needs to take an active role in ensuring Freshers' Week is a resounding success. Simply hosting an overpriced event or two, before ushering students into the arms of Brighton’s many events companies, is not going to cut it. By partnering up with multiple venues across town for the Sussex Block Party, and continuing to build on the success of last year’s Pier Party, the Union might just have cracked it after all this time. Here’s hoping.