A fresh take on freshers'

Ani Talwar·15 September 2020·9 min read
A fresh take on freshers'

Let’s face it: freshers’ is probably the moment you look forward to the most when it comes to starting university. After all the chore of packing your life away into boxes and swotting for exams, meeting new people and letting loose in pub crawls or club nights is a good way to start anew, and celebrate too.

It’s clear with recent events that freshers’ isn’t going to be the same this year, if ever again, but that doesn’t mean the good times have to stop. Universities are ever adapting and with it brings a new and improved freshers, tailored to bringing the good experiences in safer and more novel ways. Here are the 20 best examples from around the UK, and I’ve even ranked them for you:

20th-Virtual Games night

Nottingham Trent makes the 20th entry on this list, having announced a virtual games night amongst other ranked activities to keep freshers’ entertaining without drawing a crowd. Kings College London have also announced virtual games night as part of their line up, but it was quirky takes on your traditional online games that pushes other events further up the rankings for the rest of the list…

19th-Afternoon Tea

Virtual Afternoon tea is another digital event designed to get the best of a cafe crawl or a brunch meeting without braving the crowds of a real life cafe crawl. Nottingham Trent makes the ranking once again with this digital tea.

18th-Socially distanced Revs night

Cardiff takes 18th place with the steadfast plan to continue with traditional freshers’ events but in a limited capacity. This is a planned socially distanced night at Revs in a bid to keep ‘The number one student night’ in Cardiff up and running.

17th-Virtual Golf

Bath university’s video game society scored 17th with the idea to host…virtual golf! The idea is brilliant in terms of allowing many people to play at once without close contact and make friendships through teams, but how exactly you play golf virtually…I am intrigued to work out myself and so Bath scores 17 for this wonderfully unique idea.


Glasgow university takes 16th place with the Digital Society’s massive Disney Quiz being hosted online for all of freshers’. No matter what movies you’re into, you can’t escape knowing at least one Disney hit song, so this safe event ranks 16th!

15th-Grouped Club nights

Manchester university has revisited the traditional club night by allowing students to create social bubbles of four to six in order to safely enjoy the usual freshers' events’ in person without being unsafe. As a non digital freshers’ events, there are obviously limitations (the number of people for example) but this is a good way to ensure the sought after experiences still happen.


Nottingham Trent’s freshers’ line up strikes again for another ranked event, this one named ‘Crafternoon’ with the idea to- you guessed it- spend time getting to know your fellow freshers’ through the medium of art. If you’re not one for a pub crawl or you’re looking for a nice virtual event that is safe to do within the current health standards, then a Crafternoon session is the way to go.

13th-Virtual Running

Kings College London has come up with a rather ingenious way to keep freshers’ not only running, but literally running. Signing up to the virtual run for freshers brings you a digital warm up (optional) and the opportunity to plan and run your own 5km or 10km route at any time throughout the day. Keeping you healthy and safe at the same time, whilst also a good way to make friends!

12th-Speed Mating

Glasgow university has come up with a unique take on Speed Dating online with a freshers wide zoom call called speed mating. Hosted via zoom, the idea of the event is to put freshers together in a speed dating fashion with the idea that you make friends. There are even prizes for freshers who end up exchanging contact details by the end!

11th-Treasure hunts

Plymouth University has come up with a safe way to introduce freshers not only to each other but to the city. This is being done through a virtual ‘Welcome to the City’ treasure hunt! This being a fun way to make friends, find your way around, and stay safe ranks 11th, bringing us now into the top 10 adapted freshers’ events taking place this year!

10th- Jackbox Games

Bath University strikes again for 10th place by hosting a large Jackbox games online night. Jackbox is an online gaming platform where players can join the main game from their own phones to submit answers and vote for the winners. There are a lot of fun games on Jackbox and you can play it from anywhere, not even the same side of the country, so it’s a good way for all freshers to meet up, not just those on campus.

9th-Escape Room

Kings College London has had the brilliant idea to set up a virtual escape room. New students will be grouped together in a zoom call and then ‘trapped’ in a virtual escape room which they have to work out the puzzles for digitally! Again, this allows for not only on campus freshers’ to meet and greet, and is also a great way to get to know other people and make friends.

8th-Freshers’ goes virtual

Freshers’ Goes Virtual is an online platform that new university students can sign up to. It is not university specific, so means that students from across the country and outside of the UK can become members and take part in the myriad of virtual events that are being hosted in order to meet people at their university and also neighbouring universities.

This sticks as close to ‘traditional’ freshers fair as you could get, with vouchers, freebies and job opportunities thrown at you from the safety of your own phone!

7th-The Kent Olympics

However it’s Kent University that does one better not only keeping Freshers’ Fair alive but the sports society too. The idea is to host a safe socially distanced Olympics, replacing close contact sports with safer ones like archery! Great way to meet new friends and polish up on your skills!

*6th-Stitch and Btch**

Leeds university just misses out on the top five with their Stitch and B*tch session, a virtual knitting workshop combined with a nice chat! Learning how to do something new as well as making new friends but also this one is not limited to those who can come on campus or those who are not shielding.

Which brings us to the top 5!

5th- One Minute Movies

Again a Leeds university freshers’ event, one minute movies challenges you to recreate a movie scene yourself in just one minute and submit it for judging. This sounds hilarious and entertaining, and the best bit is they’re offering prizes for the best videos! Who wouldn’t want to recreate that famous Star Wars scene or dress up as Gandalf when there’s a prize involved?

4th- The Mask-a-Rave Ball

Royal Holloway’s freshers’ line up is inventive and also all unique, allowing it to take three of the top five spots here.

The activity that ranked fourth was the brilliantly named ‘Mask-A-Rave Ball’ which is a sit down dinner service in social bubbles followed by a ball where the theme is…masks! This is a fun take on a dress up ball and also turns face masks into a main feature, so bust out your sewing skills and get dressed up!

3rd-Cocktails in a Box

Royal Holloway gets another creative entry by replacing the crowded bar night with Cocktails in a box. For £30, you and your flat mates can be sent a party box complete with all the things required to make three Mango and Passionfruit cocktails so you can recreate a bar night from the safety of your own kitchen!

2nd-Wine Down time

Edinburgh university strikes second here, with the brilliant idea of virtual ‘Wine Down’ time. This is a combination of… wine drinking and yoga! Done from the safety of your own room, the idea is to unwind and drink wine whilst getting to know other freshers’! As inventive as this is, it wasn’t quite enough to take top spot though.

As we reach the end of this top 20 list, Royal Holloway returns with a massively awesome freshers’ plan.

1st-Festival in a Box

Royal Holloway’s best freshers’ idea yet (at least according to me) has to be the Festival in a box. Recognising the fact club nights aren’t the same anymore, the university has got around that by instead bringing the club night to you.

For £30 you will be sent a box complete with bunting, flower crown headbands, glow necklaces, body glitter in two colours, festival lanyards and even the cups to drink from! Not only that, but to complete your club experience from the safety of your accommodation bubble, they will even send a DJ to some of your halls so you get the full experience!

So that concludes the top 20 freshers’ events happening this year, and it turns out that freshers 2020/2021 have a lot to look forward to! There are plenty of other awesome events happening, others not mentioned include virtual origami (Leeds university), bingo and laser tag (Manchester) and several movie nights from various universities.

Turns out there really has been a fresh take on freshers after all, and it’s created some wonderfully different events this year.