Saturday, 1 October 2011

Freshers' Week 2011

A very warm welcome to all students new to UCL and the society, and welcome back to all familiar faces for an exciting new academic year! We have reached the end of the first week of the term, and what a great week it has been.

For Tuesday night, President Robbie booked the first floor of the Bentham for the society's welcome drinks social. If you missed out on this, do not despair - socials will be held at the Bentham every Tuesday during term time at 7.30pm. These are a great way to get to know the society members; discuss all matters related to atheism, secularism and humanism (and a number of other less relevant but equally engaging topics); or just enjoy a good drink and friendly conversation.

A prerequisite for the society to keep using the upper floor of the Bentham is that enough people attend these socials. If the turnout continues to be even just half of what it was on Tuesday night (30-35 people, if I am not mistaken), this is unlikely to be a problem. Packed with new and old students, AHS representatives, and UCL alumni, the room was bustling with good talk, good atmosphere and good minds - just like the Bentham should be.

This year's Freshers' Week was a milestone for the society: as UCLU ASHS did not become affiliated with the UCLU until January 2011, this is the first year we are having a stall among the over 200 official clubs and societies at the Freshers' Fayre.

Thursday and Friday saw a massive influx of freshers, non-freshers and other curious people in the UCL Main Quad and Wilkins Building. London suddenly deciding to introduce a heat wave (which was well-noticed inside the densely packed Fayre tents, to say the least) did not prevent an overwhelming response to The Godless of Gower Street: hundreds of people visited our stall for a flyer, affiliate materials, a chat about our society happenings, and an approving giggle at Dom's amazing cheezburger sign made for the Secular Europe rally - far outweighing the sporadic scowl sent in our direction. Moreover, we collected roughly 350 email addresses for our mailing list! An email will be sent out shortly to inform you of what we have in store for the coming months. Bear in mind, however, that instead of a weekly newsletter, the main society hub with all updates, activities and events is our Facebook group, whilst more detailed summaries of our events are posted in this blog.

We are now entering the Freshers' Try Fortnight, during which students can try out the different clubs and societies before deciding to officially join them. Our first Fortnight event is a talk held by BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson entitled 'Objections to Humanism.' A highly talented and entertaining speaker, his is an event well worth attending - not least for the discussion that will follow the talk. For the second week, we are having New Humanist editor Paul Sims host a formal debate entitled 'Criticising Islam: Free Speech or Bigotry?' which will be a great opportunity for you all to get your debate. After Try Fortnight, you will have the option to join the society against a £3 membership fee for the coming academic year. This will entitle you to free entry to all our formal events, such as guest speaker events and panel discussions. Our weekly pub socials, however, will still be open for all, so do come along. Enjoy the remaining Freshers' Week and see you on Tuesday!

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