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Freshers’ Fair for Fresh Faced Freshers

A Freshman’s First Taste of Aberdeen Social Groups

By Frederica Allen

Photo by Frederica Allen

For many of us, university is our first time away from home, away from the safety net that our parents or guardians provide. Such was the case for myself a few years ago; I had worked jobs, but I had never needed to worry about buying and cooking food or paying rent. All that changed when I came to Aberdeen, and that was scary. It was daunting being in an unfamiliar place full of unfamiliar people.

With this in mind, the Alternative Freshers’ Fair can be seen as an event to help newcomers find their new friends in Aberdeen. Walking through the doors of Dunbar Street Hall, I was greeted by the sight of two groups, one campaigning for the preservation of local parks in Torry, the other a union for renters. As I looked around, I saw the rest of the groups. Most were political, mostly left-leaning, such as the Scottish Greens and Aberdeen Trades Union Council. Others were promoting support for a specific issue, such as Aye, a movement in support of independence.

However, there was more to the place than that. To my right were a group of young men enthusiastic about cycling and bicycles, and further up from them were gardening and conservation groups, whilst on the other side of the hall was a newly formed group for trans, non-binary and gender questioning folks.

One of the Aye organisers told me: “The social centre event is about bringing groups together and creating more power to the people.” This obviously had a political meaning behind it, a reference to bringing in new groups to support independence. However, there is more to it than that. Events like the Alternative Freshers’ Fair lets people find their groups, which in turn helps them find themselves, granting them more power that extends beyond the political.


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