If you’ve been on campus at all during the past fortnight, the 400-strong group of weary students clad in incandescent orange hoodies and varying degrees of fancy dress will have undoubtedly been a regular sight. Moving freshers into halls, chaperoning them to Digi at midnight and escorting them to bubble football, Tynemouth and Ikea – Freshers’ week for the Freshers’ Crew volunteers was a hectic, sleepless, yet unforgettable experience.
"It was a hectic, sleepless, yet unforgettable experience"
I won’t lie to you and pretend it was all fun and games. Newcastle’s infamous nightlife reputation often reflects negatively on the University in the press, and therefore the week was painstakingly planned by the organisers with a tight schedule to ensure the freshers’ absolute safety. The Crew undertook first aid training, escorted dangerously drunk freshers home, and participated in some rather tedious daytime activities. The days were long, the sleep was lacking, and many of us are now wandering around like zombies with severe cases of “Freshers’ flu”. The most asked question of the week was, “At least you’re getting paid, right?”, accompanied with pitiful gazes when we said no.
I have grown to love NUSU and admire the work it does for students behind the scenes – such as promoting the safety of students, supporting clubs and societies, and allowing us to have a voice, when the rest of society may not necessarily take a sleep-deprived and grumpy 19-year-old seriously. True, helping out on Freshers’ Crew may only play a very small part in the running of NUSU, but it has made me feel like a more active member of the student body and I’m eager to get further involved with NUSU in the future.
In spite of this, the whole crew had a wonderful time. Obviously the free food was a major perk for us cash-strapped students, but there was way more to crew than just overindulging in Manny’s Pizza. There were many up-sides to the week; it provided the perfect opportunity to meet some brilliant new people by mocking each other’s fancy dress or downing trebs together at Embers as soon as we took our Crew hoodies off. It enabled me to take part in the daytime activities I missed out on in my own freshers’ week due to my hungover state – particular highlights included Exit Newcastle (my crew completed it in 38:50 minutes) and Mr Lynch’s (which has given me cravings for their sweet potato fries ever since).