For some students, Freshers’ Week means excitedly donning neon face paint five nights in a row, glow sticks in hand. These words, however, fill others with dread and nausea.
For varying reasons, some students would rather spend their Freshers’ Week socialising sans booze. But, with all the rhetoric surrounding Freshers’ as a sex and alcohol-fueled blur, it can be hard to know where to meet people without drinking being the main focus of the evening.
Contrary to popular stereotypes, most people find that the first intimate connection they make at uni is with the inside of a toilet bowl rather than with any of their new Tinder matches. Now, as attractive as this may seem, stumbling into your first class after a week of alcohol-fueled blunders isn’t the ideal start to the year for everyone. And, it is actually possible to make it through Freshers’ Week without stealing a traffic cone or drunkenly demolishing a dodgy looking kebab. You just have to know where to look.
In order to take some of the leg work out of a sober Freshers’ Week, we’ve put together a list of events for an ‘alternative’ Freshers’: alternative activities, not alternative fun. Here are our picks for you to make the most of your Freshers’ experience, with or without a drink in hand.
The Spiral Garden – promoted by Funraising
A great way to meet people is by sharing food together. Join The Spiral Garden on the 15th of September for their grand opening – a night of delicious food all grown locally by the Gaskell Garden Project. The event is pay-as-you-feel and there will also be live music. Funraising is a student group who try to have as much fun as possible while raising money. Keep an eye on their social media for more great events throughout the year! You can find details for the event on their Facebook page.
Run Wild’s Welcome Week Run
Run Wild is a student running group who organise group runs for all levels of ability. On the 17th of September, their first event of the year, they are hosting a running tour of Manchester. This is a brilliant way to get to know the city and meet new people. All abilities are catered for and there is lockable storage available. Check out their Facebook page for more details.
Sing It! First rehearsal and Social
Sing It! is running a chilled session on the 18th of September. You can have a go at singing your favourite hits with new friends! No experience required, it’s an opportunity to try something new and have fun singing with a group. Singing in a group is a known stress reliever, great for a hectic Freshers’ Week and ideal for those looking to meet new people! All details can be found on their Facebook page.
Bowling night with UoM Bowling Society
Bowling is the perfect social sport: you have your turn and then spend the next 10 minutes talking to a rotating cast of friends. The University of Manchester Bowling Society is hosting a casual night of bowling at the Dog Bowl on the 18th of September. The event will start at the Student’s Union at 7pm and then travel to the venue as a group. A committee member said: “it’s gonna be an amazing night of rolling balls at sticks.” Fairly self-explanatory and a good one to go to with your new flatmates. Check their Facebook page for more info and prices.
Feminist Film Friday: Legally Blonde
This is a debut event for the Feminist Collective which will hopefully become a successful regular occurrence. Their first Feminist Film Friday will be a screening of Legally Blonde, followed by a discussion and a social. This is a perfect way to meet new people and have a giggle at a cult classic. Bringing snacks is encouraged! Details can be found on their Facebook page.
Swing Dance Double Freshers’
The Swing Dance Society is back with their opening double beginners event on Friday 20th of September at 6:30pm in Academy 3. This is one of the best ways to meet new people as you switch partners multiple times throughout the night, plus it’s great for those who love to dance but hate clubbing. Grab a flatmate and put on your dancing shoes!
Dogs Unleashed Film Night – Lady and the Tramp
Dogs Unleashed is a volunteering society that takes students to dog shelters in Manchester to walk dogs. They are kicking off their year with a film night, to watch the appropriately chosen Lady and the Tramp. Another fun night where you’ll be able to chill and make new friends with other dog lovers. Plus, it’s the perfect opportunity to get to know the society before the year kicks off. Find out more on their Facebook page.