Estates Services teams help make Freshers Fair a success
University Parks team members provided essential support behind the scenes at Freshers Fair in October 2022
They worked closely with the event’s organisers at Oxford SU and other partners across the University and beyond, helping make the event a huge success with record numbers attending over the course of the two-day event – around 11,000 visitors and another 1,500 stall-holders.
The event moved into the Parks from its previous home in the Examination Schools last year so that it could resume in person despite the Covid restrictions still in place at the time, but it has been such a success there since then that it now looks as though Freshers Fair will remain there for the foreseeable future. Thanks to the Parks team’s hard work, meanwhile, the park itself was remarkably undisturbed by the presence of so many thousand feet, and is now looking as good as ever.
Several other Estates Services teams also had a presence at the Fair. Security Services team members were there to provide advice on bike safety and security, aiming to help arriving students – many of whom haven’t ridden a bike in a busy city before – to make their first journeys around town safely and to avoid losing their means of transport to Oxford’s keen bike thieves. Team members provided advice and guidance, as well as handing out free items such as bike lights and D-locks.
The Environmental Sustainability team were also present, with two stalls. The first promoted the Sustainable Students Oxford engagement scheme they run to build awareness of and involvement with environmental issues among students, with the team taking the opportunity to chat to many of the thousands of them moving through the Fair.
The second focused on the VisionZero campaign to reduce road deaths in Oxford to zero. Outside the main marquee, students also had the opportunity to climb into the cab of an HGV and get an appreciation of how hard it can be for drivers to be aware of those cycling or on foot around them.
Finally, the Accessibility team also had a stall at the Fair, informing recently arrived students of the range of services they provide to help disabled people get the most out of their time at Oxford.
This included the improved Access Guide, which now contains detailed accessibility information for many colleges as well as for buildings all over the central University estate. It also included the University’s recently-relaunched interactive online map, which focuses on better route-finding through University spaces, which can for example help wheelchair-using students find the best step-free route between two buildings.