Braving the rain, crowds and Sobar hangovers, like previous years thousands of Freshers descended upon SUSU to explore the vast array of sports, clubs, performing arts and media on offer.
So, Andy and I decided to brace ourselves and wade through the crowds of hungover students to get to the heart of what makes the bunfight: and find out just exactly what the University of Southampton has on offer in the way of extra-curricular activities. Well as it turns out, quite a lot.
Visits to every stall from Rock Society to Pole Dancing for Fitness Society, to the African Caribbean Christian Fellowship Society proved that we’re certainly not left short of choice when it comes to providing a diverse range. The main question was, where to next?
Something which immediately caught our attention was, perhaps unsurprisingly, a questionably large amount of half-naked society members walking around the sports hall. We asked 2nd year Water Polo team member Will Divall how he felt parading about in skimpy speedos all day; he happily responded with “I love it”. Even with the ever changing and ultimately miserable weather, he was “not cold”, so our full respect goes out to those guys and girls!
“There has been a lot of interest…I’m surprised at the amount of Freshers up already!” Amy Napper , a 4th year Riding Society member told us. We too were pleasantly surprised at the amount of (slightly pale and drawn) Fresher faces we bumped into, but the Shaolin Temple Kung Fu Society, a martial art which had us gasping as we watched the demonstration video, didn’t seem so sure.“The rain is keeping people away” Damien Campbell-Bell 3rd Year PHD student told us. However, the weather was getting better and the interest seemingly growing.
Then, right in the centre of the Sports Societies room, we spied two giant, yellow, crutch-like objects lying parallel to one another: we must be at the Korfball stand! Despite them telling us that “the Freshers seem a bit scared”, Korfball appeared a popular choice and their brilliant position meant that practically everyone had to walk past them. Only one small problem though…
How many people asked what Korfball is? “Everyone!”
Wandering out of the Sports Societies section and into the Jubilee, we bumped into the SIFE team at the entrance. “We’ve had around 100 sign up” 2nd year Rachel Willey and SIFE Vice President told us. “SIFE (which stands for Students in Free Enterprise) it’s hard to explain but we’ve got a guy dressed up as a bear!” We then spotted Rock Society; to 3rd year Ben Ward the bunfight was “…going amazingly. Every year there is an increase in the number of Freshers signing up.”
So how many people head-banged at your stall? “A lot!”
However, our personal favourite section – purely for fantastic contrast – was the corner of the Jubilee in which we found the Assassins, Pole Dancing for Fitness and the Permaculture and Mud societies, all happily residing side by side.
At a table covered in leaves we were told that the Permaculture Society had had “a bit of interest. We’ve rebooted the allotment society and we are trying to get involved with the community as much as possible.” So, if vegetables are your thing, then look no further.
We were then shown a few moves by President of the Pole Dancing for Fitness Society (very bendy) and proceeded to be told by the Assassins Society that all we had to do was “join the Database.” Sounds ominous. “You’ll get three targets (a picture and a name of each person), and you have to try and kill them in a creative way.” This apparently can include anything from running them over in a cardboard car, to writing ‘poison’ on a post-it note and sticking it on a plate of your targets food or drink.
There you have it – a very, very, VERY small portion of the societies gracing the bunfight today. A feature on every single one may have spread over several (thousand) pages, but hopefully this small selection gives you a taste of just how incredible the choice of activities at Southampton is.
Here’s to a year of assassinating, growing carrots and Shaolin Temple kung fu!