As this year’s flock of eager students join the university ranks for yet another freshers’ week, moving what seems to be everything they own into a single room with decidedly little storage space, and waving goodbye to the family, it would seem that a few nightclubs are planning on taking their own autonomy to the extreme, and preparing to throw first-years straight into the deep-end of what they think it means to be a fresher.
Some York nightclubs have declared a ‘no limits’ approach to their student nights, selling drinks from as little as 99 pence, and advertising the stereotypical vulnerability of our latest bunch of freshers as part of the deal.
Although this might have sounded like the best idea since sliced bread at the time of publication, this does nothing but tarnish the reputation of said nightclubs, and consequently York nightlife. This isn’t the impression we want freshers turning up to.
Cheap drinks, loud music, and Gangnam-style dancing to Call Me Maybe, may seem to be the perfect combination this year, especially for those who are still cradling their precious shiny student loan in the hope that it multiplies in the next few days.
But when these nightclubs start selling these cheap tequila shots alongside a fresher for the night, parading our first-years to be nothing more than fresh meat, this is when the fun stops.
Fair enough, we’re all adults here. We should know our limits by now, and most of us have already sorted out where we draw the line, but if the pen to draw our lines with is missing, the nightclubs can become very influential. This is especially the case if we waste no time in carting our first-years, clad in an array of questionable fancy-dress, straight to the nearest pub that hasn’t been flooded, singing strange college-based chants, and drinking dodgy alcohol as we go.
However, that’s no excuse for the nightclubs that lure our freshers in with the promise that they themselves will be able to lure some freshers out at the end of the night.
The real issue here is that the title ‘fresher’ shouldn’t evoke harmful or misleading connotations. ‘F**k me I’m a Fresher’ is not funny; it’s dangerous, and endorses this kind of behaviour, exhibiting our students as easy prey.
York’s nightclubs, especially those who unashamedly parade around campus, promoting themselves as the ‘Official York University nightclub’ have a responsibility to the students, especially during the first couple of months when first-years can often be found walking around Goodricke trying to find their way to Morrisons.
A campus university can seem reasonably cosy and secure, but once freshers break out of the microcosm, and take a taxi straight into the real World, it seems they’ll now have to be on guard at all times. Once they leave the bubble wrap of the allocated colleges, the first-years will need to learn how to prioritise their own safety above the need to have a good time.
Shouldn’t the welfare of students come first, above all shameless advertising?
By all means, try to meet as many new people as you can fit in your Facebook, go to every fresher event, bar, and nightclub you can find, and make sure that you enjoy the week ahead. But make sure that you know your own limits, because there will be people who take Salvation’s slogan seriously, and this is definitely not what you want to be waking up to in the morning, accompanying a rather large headache and a hangover that just won’t let go that easily.
Freshers’ week is certainly going to be a week to remember, but you have to make sure that it’s remembered for all of the right reasons.
Orientation can be a little disorientating at best, and leading the freshers straight to the prawn cracker paradise we like to call Willow, really won’t help the situation.
Just because the guy sitting across the table can down a couple of pints in the space of ten minutes, doesn’t mean that you can too. University doesn’t make you invincible, but alcohol might make you think you are, so try and help yourself before somebody else has to.