Now that the dust has settled, the parents have left, and the welcome week paraphanila has been filed away for another year, I thought I’d stick a few thoughts down about Welcome Week.
I’d like to start by giving a massive thankyou to all of our Student Union volunteers – our Heroes. They worked all hours of the day and night, in rain and sun, across the halls sites, to make sure that new students had the smoothest move in possible. I saw folks going above and beyond – teaming up to help people who arrived with crutches move in, jumping out during lunch when an influx of cars arrived, even staying late into the morning to help non-halls students get home in one piece. The number of amazing moments that I witnessed alone makes me so proud – and yet I know that there must be so many more things that I missed, from the absolute heroic to the little, forgotton interactions that will have had a massive impact on new students arriving in a new place. The power of a friendly face, even a smile, is one too often unappreciated. So, to everyone who helped out – thanks. From me, from the Union, and from everyone you helped. You were absolutely legendary.
What also amazed me during the move in period was the support offered by students to students. Whether it was people getting lost in the maze of main arts, to a medical student who not only supported a particuarly unwell passenger, but stayed with them for 40 minutes to make sure that there was no risk of self-asphyxiation. I have always loved the way that students in Bangor can pull together, creating a community that is friendly and vibrant. On the Sunday evening, after an amazing free BBQ with some Union organised sumo suits and rodeo, I popped to the station to collect some students. one had turned up with no knowledge of what to expect, no provisions, and no idea what was going on during the week. When we got to her halls, people on her corridor bumbled out, chatted, and offered to cook as they had been shopping before the supermarkets had all closed. When the subject of Monday morning meetings came up, flatmates said they new where and when the first meeting was – and sure enough, as I sat on the stage the next day, I saw them arriving together and chatting away. You see, University is not just about sitting in the library reading books. It’s about learning how to live, and meeting friends who will stand by you for the rest of your life. It overwhelms me how many new friendships will have been formed over the last two weeks – some perhaps fledgling, some already firmly established. It remains one of my highlights of the year, and I feel blessed that my job allows me to support, in some small way, this cycle of life.