Churches across the UK are starting to prepare for Freshers Week 2014!
We thought it might be helpful to have a handy checklist as you get prepared for this exciting season. These are the very basics and a few extra ideas - look out next week for 2 fundamental questions as you prepare for Freshers week.
- Is your website up to date with accurate contact details? Is it clear that students are welcome / what’s on offer for them?
- Use Student Linkup well - does your point person have access and are you contacting those who have already signed up to come to a uni near you?
- Enquire about a freshers week stall - charity rates are often available, sometimes its even free. Ask yourself - what’s the best way to use your stall? If its a church stall you’ll likely just get Christians, could you do an alpha course stall or a stall for your football team?
- Get on the Chaplaincy/CU/Agape/Navs etc. websites and lists - make sure Christian freshers who find these guys can find you - they're often keen to help students find local churches. Don't rely on this alone to meet freshers but don't neglect to help these guys connect students with church
- Communicate on Sundays how welcome students are and have a clear point person to connect them with. Students sometimes don’t come to church until Oct/Nov and will be trying different ones so you need to keep consistent and welcoming throughout the first term and into the start of the second
- Get praying for those who are coming to your uni/s this autumn
Making the most of freshers week
So, the basics are in hand, but what could you be doing to make the most of this opportunity? Here are just a couple of ideas...
- Hang out on campus, be available - this doesn’t just have to be the student worker, current students are great people to meet up with freshers
- Help students move in on day 1 (if you can), or hand out welcome packs as people are moving in
- Invite Student Linkup people for a meal…and then offer for them to invite their housemates too part-way through freshers week
- Contact the Student Union and see how you can help during freshers week/term
- Hand out water outside popular clubs and bars (where are the Student Union bar crawls in your town?) - this is a great way to connect with both Christians and those who aren’t Christians
- Be active in international students week - many international students arrive a week earlier than British students and whilst there are some activities there’s less going on - how could you serve those who are arriving early into a whole new culture?
- Get current students back early so that they can catch up with each other and be ready to get involved and welcome new people from week 1
- Prayer walk on campus / near halls
- Encourage your students to be Mums and Dads / STYCS / big brothers and sisters to the freshers, most Student Unions have a scheme where older students ‘look after’ freshers flats in freshers week
These are just a few things to get you going. Get your students together and ask them 'What would have helped you to feel welcome / connect with a church / make the most of your freshers term?' Get ideas sharing and get committed to making the most of this gift we're given as student workers - the crazy, full on, full-of-opportunities freshers experience.