ReFreshers’ Fair 2024 – What’s it like?

Being a student at the University of Surrey means you’re going to be attending a lot of fairs; job fairs, graduate fairs, events where you can network with alumni from your department, and of course, the Freshers’ and ReFreshers’ fairs. Freshers’ and ReFreshers’ are basically the same thing, except the former takes place at the start of semester one, and the latter takes place at the start of semester two. Both of these fairs take place every year at the marquee on PATS field on campus. What are they for? To welcome students into a new academic year or semester! This week we had the ReFreshers’ fair of 2024, so let me walk you through the experience; what it’s like and what you can find there.

Freshers’ and ReFreshers’ are always packed with societies, clubs, information from the Students’ Union, and information related to life in Guildford. When you first walk in, there’s a table from the Union giving you a map of the booths at the fair as well as a branded water bottle with the union’s logo on it (freebees will be an ongoing theme at these fairs). Once you’re past the entrance you find all the present clubs and societies organised in alphabetical order, which is really helpful because it makes it easier to find specific ones if you’re looking for them. Not all societies attend the Freshers’ and ReFreshers’ fairs, as sometimes the committee members aren’t available to attend, so it’s always worth checking the Students’ Union website for information on all the available societies. However, I can confidently say that you will find the majority of them at these fairs.

ReFreshers’ doesn’t only have clubs and societies of course, it also features representatives from different organisations by the Students’ Union, such as the Nightline, or organisations related to student wellbeing like those from the Religious Life and Belief Centre on campus, or Samaritans who are a national mental health charity with a branch in Guildford. There’s also usually the Students’ Union mascot there, Steve the Stag, who you can take fun pictures with, or just say hi to!

The types of societies you will find range from course-related ones like the LitSoc for English literature students or CompSoc for Computer Science students, to sports-related societies like volleyball, rugby, and gymnastics. There are also societies that relate to languages or specific countries like the French society and the Nigerian society. You will also find societies that are just based on general interests like The Stag student magazine, book club, or DisneySoc for the Disney and Marvel fans! At the fair there are also booths run by representatives from places around Guildford to help you navigate life in the town. Booths like this include ones run by the team from the Friary, which is the shopping mall local to Guildford, and ones run by local venues and food places. Earlier this academic year at Freshers’ fair we had free bubble tea from Bubble CiTea, which was super fun. 

Outside the fair there are usually other fun stands to discover such as food trucks, like the Greek food and Spanish food trucks found on campus at least once a week, or the Vintage Hill clothing pop up where you can shop for cool vintage clothes. Freshers’ and ReFreshers’ are always really fun to be at because not only do you get to talk to different people from all around the university and learn about the clubs and societies, but also you get a well-rounded picture of what you can do all year round as a student at the University of Surrey in Guildford.

Overall, the Freshers’ and ReFreshers’ fairs are a great way to find your next interests, make friends, and talk about all the ongoing things you can do at university. It’s also a great way to welcome new and returning students to campus, and let them know of all the activities they can get involved with. I hope I was able to give you a good idea of what these fairs might look like and you can hopefully be there at the next one to see for yourself!