For the first time ever at the University of Manchester, every event in this year’s Welcome Week completely sold out.
According to a Students’ Union representative, 4200 first years attended the opening event, called Facehall, at Deansgate Locks last Sunday.
Facehall was the opening event for which each guest was given a t-shirt on which they write their name, course, relationship status, and hall of residence.
It is expected that 6500 students attended Welcome Week’s Pangaea event, which contrasts with the cancellation of 2012’s M13 event due to lack of interest.
Joel Smith, the Students’ Union Activities and Development officer said, “It’s absolutely amazing that this year’s Welcome Week events have sold out.
“It is testament to the hard work of the Residents’ Association (RAs), Junior Common Rooms (JCRs) and staff team in the Union. It is the first time that the Students’ Union has had direct control over the Welcome Week events, as in previous years it had been outsourced to a private events management company.
“This year, any money raised during the events will be reinvested into the Students’ Union.”
A representative of the Students’ Union predicted that the week was set to break even, although full details of any profit made during Welcome Week will not be available until mid-October.
Based on the runaway success of this year’s events Joel said, “We are hoping that welcome week can become more and more student focused. The Welcome Week package was designed to have bigger, more fun nights rather than smaller nightly events as in the past with the off-nights organised by the halls. Due to the sheer number of first years and the popularity of the pack it limits the venues we can use around the city, but there are already some great plans for next year’s pack under way.
Speaking to The Mancunion, Emma Stansfield, Head of Residences, Catering and Bars, said that 5000 Welcome Week packs were released and all sold.
“We used data from last year to work out how to split it; we knew how many people were coming and roughly how many people would be interested.
“This year we sold packs online for arrival, which contributed to the success of the events. The packs and wristbands were then delivered to the students upon arrival in Manchester.”
In order to manage the large number of packs ticketing was divided between the Fallowfield campus and other campuses. This was done in order to split some events as roughly half of this year’s first years live in Fallowfield.
To fit all of the party-goers into venues, nights such as the Albert Hall event were split with 2300 students attending Albert Hall on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.
Stansfield added, “There was an excellent turnout throughout the week; there was a bit of a drop off on Thursday. This was because societies such as MedSoc held their first socials; next year we hope to avoid this.
“The clash between events led to a problematic choice for students.
“All other events were fabulously attended. The level of collaboration between the university, RAs, bars and the Students’ Union was unprecedented. Between all the events organised, it has given new students a welcome week to remember.
“Previous years had been much of a muchness. The focus on collaboration among organisers allowed for very smooth running.”
Joel added, furthermore, “The events this year have been much better and it is the first time the Students’ Union has ever had direct control over events.”
Regarding the splitting between campuses Joel continued, “It would be nice if we didn’t have to split the nights between venues to allow a better mix of students, however the splitting worked very well.
“We tried to keep the division of wristbands more planned this year. Previously the tickets for events were divided inconsistently with some freshers in the same flat being forced to go to different events because the ticketing was not properly organised.
“We were never expecting that the Welcome Week events would completely sell out; it is a huge success. And I hope next year that we can get even more students involved in organising the pack to make it.
Commenting on the behaviour of the incoming students, Stansfield said, “The freshers were extremely well behaved, we really focus on welfare during these events.”
Emma Stansfield stayed at the events from start to finish in her management role. Staying at the events in their entirety allowed her to keep an eye on party-goer welfare.
“Of the 5000 students on the package, less than the number of fingers on my hand were sent home because of their welfare.”
Stansfield then added, “Welfare has been impeccable this year. I am really, really, happy with how it has all gone.”