Photo credit: Andreea Nemes

Fresher’s week has started the year on a high note with nine  event-packed days of non-stop events. This week The Saint’s Hannah Rowand caught up with the Director of Events and Services, Phil Pass, to find out how successful the week has been.

HR: How do you think Fresher’s week has gone?

PP: I think it’s been very good this year. It’s been some of the best stuff we’ve done. Best attended, and the best atmosphere we’ve ever had that I know from the last six years. It’s definitely been tough though, it’s my second round doing this, and I didn’t want to repeat last year’s schedule, I wanted to make things different and improve on things.

HR: What were you trying to improve on?

PP: Last year we had a couple of quiet nights – the Wednesday night we were doing stuff with the sports club and it didn’t really work out, but we went down a different line this year with Maybe Gaga which worked really well. Saturday night was really quiet last year too because of Starfields. Instead of having a band we went for a DJ with Ultrabeat which was amazing.

HR: What do you think has been the most successful event of the week?

PP: I think every event has had its own successes. The first couple of days in particular with the atmosphere we managed to get in the bar. We had a DJ in the bar every night which we’ve never done before and it worked really well – it was so busy! I don’t know how long the queue was to get to the bar, but it was long!

HR: What would you suggest changing next year?

PP: Something that I wanted to change this year was to have another seated event, something a bit different again, like stage magic. We nearly had something, but it didn’t quite get there. I think there’s definitely room for another staged event though, that could perhaps turn into a disco or whatever afterwards. We need to try and encourage people to come out to the first show of the night too, as people always go to the later one.

HR: There’s always quite a focus on these seated events which is quite different from Freshers’ weeks elsewhere, are they made to accommodate everyone so that people who aren’t into that sort of thing can still enjoy themselves?

PP: Its definitely an attempt to accommodate everyone. Well I don’t drink – I wouldn’t probably go out to the Bop on a regular basis myself, so there is definitely a demand for these sorts of events, for something a bit different.

I mean, Maybe Gaga was totally different. That was a live performance without just being live music which some people don’t like. Music is Love has done all the live music this year, like setting up gigs in Venue 2 and open mic nights too.
Comedy is really big and it’s definitely successful – we had around 450 people to both comedy and hypnotist each night. Its just really good and something a bit different for people.

HR: What do you want people to get out of fresher’s week?

PP: I want people to think yeah, the Union is where good things happen. Every year the Union gets a new reputation as being good at some things and bad at others and what its good at and bad at changes; but we really seem to be getting things right now as far as I can tell so far. I’m finding that people are saying  “Don’t go here, don’t go there there, go to the Union because the atmosphere is really good” and that’s a good thing to have. I want people to come back on Friday night and come back on Saturday night. We want people to come and enjoy it and to get what they want out of it. We also believe the union is safe and the University believes its a good place to be.

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