Cheaper freshers’ week wristbands after last year’s complaints

This week saw the launch of UEA’s new Freshers and Returners bundles, offering more choice and flexibility than previous years.

Concrete reported last year that both current and prospective students were disappointed with the considerable increase in cost for admission to Freshers, with the SU charging students £85 for week one wristbands. This was raised to a further £105 for a bundle including a UEA branded hoodie, t-shirt and NUS card.

Speaking then, one fresher told Concrete: “The students’ union should understand as students we won’t have a lot of disposable income to spare, and paying £85 for a week of activities not including buying drinks is quite steep.

“Surely they should have our best interests at heart and charge a lower price so we can then spend on our refreshments when we are at the events?”

However, this year it is clear that the SU have taken heed of previous first year’s frustrations with both the layout and pricing these events. This years freshers can expect to choose from a tiered system of Silver, Gold and Platinum week one wristbands priced at £48, £56 and £65.

Students still have the choice pay an additional £20 for the merchandise bundle, with the maximum amount any student will pay matching the base price of last years events.

Each wristband permits students entry to a selection of the 7 predominantly LCR-based events. The week culminates in UEA’s annual Welcome Ball, with recent announcement of headliner Example along with other special guests to be added to the lineup.

A similar tiered system has also been offered for week two wristbands, with the SU charging £35 for admission to all events – £5 less than the previous year. There is also the option to pay an extra £15 for queue jump admission to all events, a similar system to what is being offered to week one Returners.

Week two will be ran in partnership with UNION promotions, featuring foam parties, a Love Island club night hosted by Sam Bird and a ‘Ministry of Sound Presents…’ event.

Afterdark Promotions, UEA’s former partner in promoting week two city-based events, have released competing wristbands for £30-£40 for each week. These events include the recently popular Warehouse Project, two Love Island PA’s and two as yet unannounced grime shows.

Activities and Opportunities Officer Oli Gray explained that the SU had surveyed over a thousand students to “to identify and focus on the acts and entertainment that students wanted, to keep the cost down, passing the savings onto the wristband prices.”

He added he was “really excited that we’ve been able to offer a diverse Freshers programme where students get so much choice.”

Georgina Burchell, Welfare, Community and Diversity Officer said the SU was incredibly mindful of “how expensive and stressful it is to be a student”, stating she was “very proud of our whole programme this year.”

She concluded, “it means that students can pick from a range of day time and evening events, choosing activities that match their own pace and interests so they don’t burn out before term starts.”

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September 2021
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

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