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Did you know, that Students’ Union UCL throws the biggest Welcome Fair in the country? It’ll be running on Saturday 28 September and Sunday 29 September

Last year alone, we had nearly 15,000 students flock to the Main Quad to bag freebies, learn about the Union and meet clubs and societies. It’s always one of the highlights of the year, let alone the week! But with over 300 stalls to visit, it’s a pretty major affair. Here are our tips for getting the most out of it. 

Want to see a map of the fair? Have a look here

It all starts on Gordon Street

You’d be forgiven for thinking you enter the Quad through the main gates. But no. Head to Gordon Street and join the queue leading into the Refectory (map just above) . We’ll give you a goody bag whilst you wait (while stocks last) and we’ve even got Jazz Soc to entertain you. Last entry is 16:00 on both days, but we may have to stop people from joining the queue a little earlier. On Saturday, for the Postgradaute-only hours, last entry is at 17:00. 

You will have to queue up to get in

We’re open from 10:00, and we’re expecting the queue to be big with the queue always bigger on Saturday than Sunday. Our advice is to come along on Sunday when it’s naturally quieter - all the same stalls are there so there’ll be no FOMO. If you have access needs, either come to the front of the queue (15 Gordon St) where a member of event staff will be able to support you or email us at su.activities-reception@ucl.ac.uk and let us know when you’re planning to arrive and how we could support you. 

The clubs and societies are in alphabetical order

If you have an idea of who you want to talk to, you’ll know roughly whereabouts they’ll be and if you’ve already gone past them. American Football is going to be near the start and Yoga at the end.  But make sure you make it to the quad. That’s where all the commercial stalls are going to be so you can bag yourself some freebies. It’s also where societies will be performing so you can catch a glimpse of what you could be doing if you join a particular society. 

You’re not actually joining any clubs today

Memberships aren’t actually bought at the fair. You can sign up to clubs and society’s mailing lists for updates about their events etc, but joining is all done online.

And that’s a good thing

Because you don’t want to join anything before you know your timetable. What if you join two societies who have their meetings at the same time? What if you join Aikido but then realise you’d have preferred Karate? What if you go to a Mountaineering taster session and discover you’re afraid of heights? Use the fair to size up your options and then join later.

Grab a tote bag if you can

Something to put all your freebies in is essential. We have loads of Students’ Union UCL tote bags to give out on the door and these are hot property as they’re ideal for carrying books, lunch, your pets, all year round. So get there early. Alternatively, bring your own just in case.

Hang around

Once you’ve been through that majority of the stalls, you’ll come out into the Main Quad. It’ll be full of fun activities, food stalls and performances, so spend some time enjoying the atmosphere before you move on.

Don’t miss the commercial tent

In the quad there will be a big marquee which is freebie heaven. Inside will be all of the companies that want to give you free stuff in exchange for telling you about what they do. We’ve got all sorts coming - from Odeon Cinema to Pizza Express and New York Times to Las Iguanas. 

Leave enough time

Because of the volume of people and the limited space, it does take quite a while to get around the fair. Because of the shape of the buildings, it’s a big one-way system, meaning it’s not possible to just pop into one stall. So we’d say leave a couple of hours to see everything.

You don’t have to go

We think it’s a great day, but if you can’t make it, it’s not the end of the world. You’ll still be able to join clubs and societies and you can find out about them and their welcome events on our What’s On calendar or their directory page. Most Clubs and Societies run Give it a Go sessions, so don’t stress. 


Accessibility

The Welcome Fair takes place on campus, around the Wilkins Building and main quad. All of these spaces are wheelchair accessible. If you have access needs, either come to the front of the queue (by the Refectory) where a member of event staff will be able to support you or message us at su.activities-reception@ucl.ac.uk let us know when you’re planning to arrive and how we could support you. 

We have student volunteers on the day, able to assist students with hearing disabilities - please message us if you have hearing difficulties. Look out for them at the start of the fair.

There won’t be any live music from 10:00 - 10:30 on both days. On Saturday, it’ll be quieter from 16:30 - 18:00. 

The fair can be very busy, if crowded and busy environments prove challenging to you, we recommend either visiting at 10:00 on Saturday or after 13:00 on Sunday as this is typically when the fair is at its most quiet.