Newcastle University’s Freshers ‘Week Organisers for 2018 have been announced as Ciara Ritson-Courtney (third year Electrical Engineering), Sam Midwood (third year Film and Media), George Snape (fifth year Town Planning) and Becky James (third year English Literature), following an application and interview process which took place in November 2017.
In March 2017, Student Council voted in favour of changing the FWO roles from elected through campaigns to appointed on an interview basis. This came following the arguments that for the previous two years, FWO teams had run uncontested, and that interested students were forced to find three others who also wanted to campaign with them.
“We’re going to use lots of data to see how 18 year olds act and have fun compared to when we were all freshers”
Ciara Ritson Courtney, newly appointed Freshers' Week Organiser
The Newcastle University Students Union started its search for the team of four over three months ago and was looking for a crew to organise both daytime and evening entertainment for the new students joining the university at the beginning of the next academic year. The process involved an application, and interview and finally an assessment day, where candidates were questioned on what they would bring to the team and how they would achieve their ideas. The team will not only have to arrange the activities but will also be responsible for the recruiting and training over 350 volunteers that will make the week a success.
One of the new team, Ciara Ritson-Courtney, spoke about the process and the months ahead. “Some of the people applying had met before, but before the interviews we didn’t know who else was applying. Now that we know who’s in the team, we’ve been for dinner together and got to know each other over the training days, so we’re really looking forward to getting started.
“We’ve started planning this week, but it’s all going to be kept under wraps until the business plan week in Easter when all will be revealed. We’re hoping to create a welcome for new students that’s a little less stereotypical and cliché than is associated with Freshers’ Week events.
“We’d like to cater for the more modern music trends and try and let students have their say on the week, whether that’s from the new students themselves or from feedback on previous years.
“We’re going to try and use lots of data to see how 18 year olds act and have fun now rather than a few years ago, when we were all freshers, with a big welcome to Newcastle in order to show off all the attractions of the North-East.”
6,205 new Newcastle University students in the last academic year
With the number of admissions set to increase year by year, Freshers’ Week organisers face a growing battle to entertain the hoards of students who flock to Tyneside every year. This year’s team have stated that they want to put on a show within Newcastle University Students’ Union’s set of values, while also leaving the Freshers’ Week budget in a solid enough state for the years to come.
With a tradition of big nights out, trips to the coast and sightseeing throughout Newcastle, Ciara also said that there was a need to push students in the direction of other historical and cultural locations.
“It’s amazing how many third or fourth year students have studied in Newcastle and have never been to visit Hadrian’s Wall, so we will really be pushing days out like that so that new students discover the best parts of the region early in their academic careers.