London Freshers’ Week: When does it start and will university strikes affect it?

Freshers’ Week in series Big Boys  (Channel 4 / Kevin Baker)
Freshers’ Week in series Big Boys (Channel 4 / Kevin Baker)

Many students are preparing to kick off their higher education journey; a phase that only lasts a number of years but leaves its mark for a lifetime.

Aside from helping people hone their skills and gain the knowledge to pursue their dream careers, universities are also where you can make new friends, try out new hobbies, and take more responsibility.

To ease students into university life and help them break the ice so that friendships can start blossoming, many universities hold Freshers’ Week. It is a week packed full of activities and chances to get more involved.

Unfortunately, this year’s students might see their Freshers’ Week and first weeks of education impacted by staff strikes.

Here is a comprehensive look at when Freshers’ Week is, what it involves, and if the strikes may affect it.

When is Freshers’ Week?

Freshers’ Week often takes place the week before lectures start.

While the exact date will change from university to university, most tend to be at the end of September, with some being held at the start of October.

To give an example,in London, there is a welcome fair at King’s College on September 21-22, with City, University of London, UCFB Wembley, and University of East London’s Welcome Weeks running from Monday, September 25 until Friday, September 29.

On the other hand, some universities have begun running pre-arrival events for their newcomers already. UCL, for instance, started their online pre-arrival events on Monday, September 11.

What does Freshers’ Week involve?

During Freshers’ Week, students usually have no lectures scheduled as the week is all about getting their bearings, meeting new people, and settling in.

Here is a look at the main things you can expect from Freshers’ Week.

Societies fair

Universities hold a societies fair during Freshers’ Week to give newcomers the chance to get to know all the different societies they can be a part of.

Societies are great places to make friends outside your course and accommodation, and either try your hand at new hobbies or continue building on your existing talents.

And, when it comes to societies, options are plentiful. From sports, arts and languages, to societies based on ethnicity, faith, or political views, there is lots on offer.

For instance, there might be a club for fans of Harry Potter, a ceramics society, or a society for aspiring engineers.

Freshers’ parties and events

Many universities will host parties during Freshers’ Week to break the ice and help students get to know their local area.

They often organise a series of taster sessions or workshops filled with exciting activities, too.

Completing admin and moving in

Freshers’ Week is also a key time to complete some admin. So, universities might ask students to address any issues with their accommodation or student cards during this period.

It’s also great for finalising your move-in and sorting out the last bits you need to feel at home in your new living space.

Will the strikes impact Freshers’ Week?

UCU members at 140 universities to strike (Bronwen Weatherby / PA)
UCU members at 140 universities to strike (Bronwen Weatherby / PA)

Staff members in 140 universities across the country are planning to go on strike for five days between Monday, September 25, and Friday, September 29.

The members of the University and College Union (Ucu) announced that the industrial action is a part of their long-running dispute over pay and working conditions.

Those whose Freshers’ Week are during these dates might see the week impacted due to staff shortages.

If you are worried, contact your university directly with any queries.