Image Credit: Erica Yokoyama
Last week, the Freshers’ Fair turned out to be a great success with each college’s freshers thronging in to over 400 booths. At the jam-packed Examination Hall, Oxford’s myriad of societies and clubs showcased their activities and recent achievements, with the goal of recruiting new members. But as any fresher will tell you, the event is nothing short of stressful; with such an overwhelming number of societies all in one place, it can be quite easy to leave without seeing a large chunk of what is on offer. But do not fret, whether you are a new fresher or a returning student, it is never too late to get involved and we have the highlights and resources here for you to find out more!
Following a series of arrows, the freshers were first ushered into a room featuring international, religious, and ethnic community groups. Colourful decorations of national flags and a flurry of foreign languages flooded the crowded space. With 43% of Oxford’s student population being international and 64% of them being graduate students, according to Oxford’s latest update of their “Facts and Figures”, it was no wonder that this section was so packed out.
Continuing into the next room (always following those imposing arrows), the freshers encountered a row of social action groups. The Oxford Hub for instance, showcased how students can get involved in a variety of community, language, and environmental volunteering projects based in Oxford and in the U.K more broadly. One project in particular, ‘Schools+,’ a campaign to challenge educational disadvantages, had more than 300 students involved last year alone. If you are interested in making a societal and environmental difference in Oxford with like-minded motivated people, the Oxford Hub will be the place where you can start! www.oxfordhub.org.
Science students in particular were visibly drawn to the Oxford Robotics & Additive Manufacturing Society and OXRAM, who were exhibiting their self-build robots (pictured above). Despite a relatively young history established in 2014, OXRAM offers a rich full term of events, including weekly seminars, workshops on 3D printers, and robotics throughout the year. For more information, check out the full list of technology clubs listed on The Oxford Student Union’s website or check out OXRAM if you want to get involved. www.oxramsociety.com.
Though we have to keep in mind that study life at Oxford can become quite intense. It is important to remember to give yourself some ‘me-time’. So a hobby, fandom, or sport society could give you a nice breather amidst the chaotic weeks to come. There are over 85 sports clubs, a number of orchestra and choir societies (which may attract both amateurs and seasoned professionals) and, of course, a whole a capella scene! Keep your eyes open for the free trial sessions and auditions hosted by most sports and music societies during the first few weeks of term.
If music or sport is not your thing, you might find solace in the Oxford University Harry Potter Society. Fanatic J.K. Rolling fans from all over the world flocked to the booth to sign up for their upcoming events, like their ‘Butterbeer and Banter’ sessions. If you are not a Potterhead, you might also enjoy the Oxford University Blind Tasting Society, which will teach you how to become a competitive wine taster over 70 sessions throughout the year. For more information, follow them on Facebook: @OUHPSoc, @OxfordUniversityBlindTasting.
Whatever your personal, political, or academic interests are, Oxford definitely has a club for you. It’s just about finding the right balance to complement your academic schedule. Lauren Rowley, a fresher in MSc Environmental Governance, reviewed the fair commenting,
“It was good to see how much is on and I liked how it was divided into sections like sport or careers, definitely a bit overwhelming though.”
Personally, my biggest highlight of Freshers Fair was a piece of Domino’s Pizza I was awarded at the end for ‘making it through’ – as I saw it. Though it was a bit of a whirlwind adventure, I think there is something for everyone – we just need to take the time to find out exactly what that is. For more information on Oxford’s clubs and societies, visit www.ox.ac.uk/students/life/clubs.