YUSU Reveal Plans for Multiple Freshers’ Fairs to Allow Social Distancing

YUSU exclusively confirmed this to York Vision as the Union looks to return to activities after Summer Term was disrupted by COVID-19

Line for Freshers' Fair outside the Exhibition Centre
(Image: YUSU)

YUSU’s Freshers’ Fair will take place both virtually and physically over the first two weeks of term to accommodate social distancing, York Vision can exclusively reveal.

The virtual fair will take place on Saturday Week 1, while Week 2 will host six physical fairs over five days, with two fairs on Wednesday.

The physical fairs will take place in the York Sport Centre, The Forest, and Greg’s Place. Students can expect to arrive at the fair in 20 minute intervals, with limited numbers being allowed in at any given interval. According to YUSU, each day will have a different “theme”, though it has not yet revealed what these themes will be. Each day will hold an accessibility hour between 9:30 and 10:30 with decreased numbers for students who require a quieter fair.

In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, each venue will have “strict“ capacity rules, and sanitation stations will be placed across campus. Stallholders will be given cleaning wipes to disinfect their areas. A track and trace system will also be in place, using information that students give when signing up for the physical fairs. 

Societies and student groups will have to book stalls with a booking form, which will be sent to groups on Wednesday 2nd September. Similarly, students will have to book their slot through YUSU’s website if they want to attend the fairs. More information is expected to be sent to students and societies next week. 

A virtual fair will be hosted on YUSU’s website on Saturday Week 1, where students will be able to meet student groups before the physical freshers’ fairs. Students can choose to only attend virtually, if they wish. According to YUSU, groups will be able to talk to students via video and text. Students will be able to add groups that they are interested in to a “wishlist”, which will be used by YUSU to remind students to attend the physical fair. The wishlist can also be used to save offers and promotions given out by advertisers. 

Alex Harvey, a third year Archaeology student told York Vision: “[The virtual fair] seems alright. It’s not quite wandering around, exploring the campus, is it?”

Corporate stalls will be making a return to the fair, though Vision can reveal that Domino’s is so far the only partner who has been confirmed to make an appearance. In previous years, companies like Amazon and Tinder hosted events and stalls which gave students a number of offers and discounts for their services. 

Brian Terry, YUSU’s Activities Officer, told York Vision: “I’d encourage every student at the University of York, both new and returning, to get involved with student activities this year. Whether you’re looking to join the society focused around your lifelong passion or hobby; explore something new with one of our amazing volunteering projects; make new friends while fundraising with the Raising and Giving (RAG) network; finding your voice with our liberation networks or getting into a sports team to represent the University of York in competitions later in the year, this is the event for you.”

Terry also said: “I’m delighted that the YUSU Fair is going ahead this year. At a time when social isolation and a pandemic is gripping the country, I’m proud that we can offer a safe, socially distanced, Covid-secure experience for students so that they can go out, and still meet, in person, our fantastic clubs and societies. 

A lot of work has gone into planning this and continues to go into planning it. We’re looking forward to sharing more and more information with student groups and students about our plans for the YUSU Fairs 2020 over the coming weeks.”