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30 July, 2005

Hands off those students

An Alternative Freshers' Fair is to be held in Manchester this year as a response to the commercialism which has overwhelmed 'official' Freshers' Fairs in recent years.

I remember mine, in 1990, as the traditional type: a large room occupied by students' societies attempting to recruit members. Nowadays, the societies are still there, but to a lesser extent, and the focus of such events is on banks, insurance companies, mobile phone providers, national newspapers and other commercial organisations attempting to secure new students' as-yet unallocated money and tie them into the lifestyles they peddle. It's downright depressing, and I tend to recommend that my tutees don't even bother attending.

Manchester's alternative, as described by Indymedia, sounds sickeningly 'right-on' and community-orientated (ugh), but in principle it's an excellent idea. A better one would be for the original events to be reclaimed, with Universities and Student Unions specifically excluding commercial organisations, or at least splitting them off into a separate building/event.

[Via Spinneyhead]


At Bradford we have two fairs - the Freshers' Fair, which is basically a chance to get free stuff off various local and national businesses and for banks to get you to open an account with them - and the Sports and Societies Fair which is only for the sports teams and societies. Some societies like the radio station and magazine go to the Freshers' Fair as well, but businesses cannot come to the Sports and Societies Fair.

We also banned any companies from offering loans or credit cards at the Freshers' Fair. So no more free popcorn makers from Barclaycard...

Posted by Neil T. at August 1, 2005 05:57 PM
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