Sheffield Council warns against ‘mega raves’ and says Freshers Week will be ‘very different’
‘Freshers week will be very different this year’ is the message Sheffield Council is sending to students returning to campuses this month with warnings against ‘mega raves’.
Greg Fell, the director for public health in Sheffield, said the council, both universities and the students’ unions were all clear that freshers week - which normally sees big parties on every night and events throughout the daytime - will not go ahead as usual due to Covid-19.
In a full council meeting he said: “The freshers weeks have been extensively considered by both universities and the students’ unions. All parties are very clear freshers week will look very, very, very different this year. There won’t be students’ union organised mega parties with millions of people all in the students union bar, it’s just not going to happen.
“What is concerning is I know there are advertised mega raves. Our licensing team have been all over it and have done some extensive investigations so I don’t think that’s actually happening. But there will be pubs and clubs that want to organise freshers week sort of stuff in the normal way and we will use the enforcement powers we have got within our organisation but also the police to fairly rigorously enforce. We will try not to be overly heavy handed.
“To their credit, both the universities and students’ unions have been pretty hard on the comms.
“None of us can anticipate how it will play out. So we are sighted on it, we are minded of it and all parties are clear but we will see whether or not we can manage to change what has been time immemorial student behaviour during freshers week. It is a concern, no doubt about that.”
Both universities are still holding a number of safer options for welcome weeks.
Sheffield Hallam Students' Union is advertising an online party with live DJs, video streams and chat, a virtual society fair and fitness socials.
Sheffield Students' Union is also planning virtual activities and sports fairs and an online 'give it a go' programme.
Mr Fell also said in the meeting he was satisfied both universities' campuses were as Covid-safe as possible.