Students express frustration following Streatham Freshers’ Fair
Some students have approached Exeposé to express their “disappointment” in the 2022 Streatham Campus Freshers’ Fair.
The Fair was held on 24 September 2022 across the Forum and Devonshire House. Societies and campus services had stalls to greet incoming and returning students.
In September 2020, the Fair was moved online due to Covid-19, returning as an in-person event featuring a one-way system in 2021. However, the Fair had no designated route this year, meaning that students could come and go as they pleased.
A second-year student commented on their experience of the Fair. “I have seen a severe backslide in the fairness and distribution between societies at the 2022 event. [It seemed that] almost more space was dedicated to the house plant sale than wellbeing and inclusivity societies. Trying to locate smaller societies within the sea of miscellaneous stalls was a nightmare.
“With almost zero official signage (most of which was handmade), [some societies] were given stalls in the Forum seminar rooms, a cramped and difficult to find location for first years.”
Attending the Fair as a society committee member, they noted a fall in engagement with students. “Without sufficient stall size and the one way/guided walking system of the past, areas such as DH2 felt like an odd jam of groups with little in common – unable to gain the same amount of targeted attention we may have otherwise experienced. [I have] even more empathy for societies that were allocated study “booths” and single-person round tables. The resource difference between societies was also immediately noticeable.”
A third-year student also spoke to Exeposé, explaining that “the Fair was very difficult to navigate. Some societies had out-of-way stalls without sufficient signage. I left after a short amount of time and found the whole experience underwhelming.”
Trying to locate smaller societies within the sea of miscellaneous stalls was a nightmare.University of Exeter student
Another society, who wished to remain anonymous, remarked that students only seemed to come across their stall by chance. “We do appreciate that some of the sports societies needed more space for demonstrations. We also recognise that it must be logistically difficult for the Guild to get every society in a spot that they are happy with, but in future, we would probably support the one way system more.”
A spokesperson for the Students’ Guild said: “The one way system was used last year as a Covid protocol, by removing the one way system this year and not having a designated route, this allowed attendees to navigate the Fair in the way that best suited them. For example, only attending the stalls they wanted to engage with or being able to revisit a space.
“Signage was present around the Fair and digital maps could be found online, through the QR codes on the signs or on our social media. We welcome the feedback and will endeavour to ensure improved signage next year.
“Regarding allocation of spaces, the Fair is a collaboration between the Guild, University and the AU including how University spaces are used. The AU asked to be based more centrally to the Fair this year instead of their previous locations of the Sports Park or Peter Chalk for more engagement. Due to this, other spaces and resources on central campus were utilised for the Fair. We are sorry to hear that some students were disappointed, we will take this feedback into consideration for next year.”