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Sheffield University Students Union - Review of 2003/4

Stolen from

September - December '03

Wednesday 1st October saw the cream of local and national companies come together under our giant Octagon roof to show off their wares and give you a shedload of discounts and freebies at the Freshers Fair 2003. Prizes on the day included a holiday to Ibiza, a Mini One, 12 laptops, and an X box plus the first 5,000 lucky visitors through the doors also picked up a bonus Fresher's Fair bag packed with free stuff and money-off vouchers. Keep a look out for Freshers Fair 2004 coming this September!

As if we didn’t celebrate the start of the new term enough, our festivities were taken to a global scale as our Intro Fiesta landed in the Octagon 10 days later. A massive celebration of, and introduction to, our diverse membership (that’s all you students!), live performances, food and DJ’s kept the crowd entertained throughout the night. Showpieces included African drumming, Celidh, Mexican performers and Japanese Parapara.

October also saw big names visiting the Union including a wonderful performance from 'Elbow', promoting their second album “Cast of Thousands”, Sultry electro-sensations 'Goldfrapp', and World DMC champs The Scratch Perverts bringing down the house at the Tuesday Club with their six deck, two hour stint. The Union's premier gay friendly night also welcomed 90's pop sensation 'Sonia' with open arms.

With the cold setting in it was the perfect time of year to take to the slopes as Give it a Go gave you the opportunity to learn how to snowboard at Sheffield Ski Village. Over three weeks expert instructors helped the complete beginners develop into snowboarding stars!

It wasn't all play and no work though. New proposals to introduce University Top Up fees were being debated and the Union knew it had to make sure the concerns of its students were heard. On Sunday 26th October, 31,000 students from all over the country made their way down to London to join the National demo against the proposed top-up fees for university students, including three coaches from our very own Union. If they were to be introduced, they weren't going to be without a fight.

Our Equality Week in November, again saw the Union tackling issues of discrimination including homophobia, Islamaphobia, disability discrimination, poverty and sexism. Events included free film showings, talks, stalls and a special grrl-power themed Frouk club night aimed at promoting equality across campus and the wider world.

Before we knew it the end of term was in sight which also meant Christmas was here and that meant Union Christmas Day! What can we possibly say about this legendary event? Voted the UK’s No. 1 Promotion by Club Mirror, this annual madness once again took over the Union, with many queuing from the early hours just to secure the best seats in the house. After 12 hours of massive drinks promotions and loads of Christmas festivities in Bar One and the Interval, those of you still standing took the party on to the last Juice of the year…and made sure it was one to remember!

January-June ’04

When finally all the January exams were done and dusted, everyone was in need of a Big Night Out. Hosted over three venues, the first big party of the term featured Frouk in the Octagon, with 3 live P.A’s including Ben from Phats & Small, JX & Blockster. Celebrating the launch of their Fine Light Beer, Coors brought us snow and ski machines in the Foundry & Fusion plus possibly the biggest star to come out of ITV’s Pop Stars series, Javine, and meticulous scratch-mix specialist, Cut La Roc to get everyone back into the new term.

Very soon the race began for the 8 coveted positions of Union Sabbatical Officers. Competition was fiercer than ever this year, with over 40 candidates campaigning to be the next Dan Mitchell et al.

With everyone back into the swing of the new term, Give It a Go’s unique ‘Have a Heart’ fundraising week went extremely well, raising nearly £700 for the British Heart Foundation by inviting everyone to try out new sports and fitness activities throughout the week. Many of you got active, having a go at Thai Boxing, Tap Dancing, Salsa, Fencing, Street Dance, Judo, Cheerleading and more, contributing to the British Heart Foundation at the same time as having a lot of fun!

On Wednesday 18th February the first ever Refreshers Fair took place. Loads of goodie bags were given away as a start to the freebie-filled day, which saw the Octagon divided into 5 sections designed to refresh your life, mind, body, soul and ears! From all the societies and sports clubs you could imagine, to DJ sets and live acoustic sessions throughout the day, everyone agreed that the first Refreshers Fair was a huge success. Loads of prizes were given away on the day, including a mountain bike, a Siemans mobile, £150 holiday voucher, and even a brand new iPod!

For 2004 RAG Week took on a glamorous theme of ‘bling bling’ and organised events across the Union and beyond. BBQ’s and barcrawls, hotty hunts and fancy dress collections, and even a Bling Bling Frouk took place and managed to raise money for the various RAG charities.

The question of the Union-wide Nestle boycott was resurrected once again in The Big Debate on Wednesday 25th February. Approximately 175 people showed up to hear representatives from Nestle defend their case while spokespersons from NUS and Baby Milk Action took the opposing side. At the start of the debate the majority of the audience voted against the motion to lift the Union ban on Nestle. After a thorough round of questions and talks from both sides the vote remained fairly unchanged with 142 against - the ban looks set to stay for now.

It had been a rough ride and a hard fought battle to the end but eventually eight candidates stood out from the rest to be voted in as the 2004/2005 Union Officer Team.
In the Bar One E-Day celebrations it was revealed that Kate Ladell was to take the role of Activities Officer alongside new Sports Officer Anna Wilkinson, while Harpreet Bhal became International Students Officer for the coming year. Laura Zetterberg and Mary Lavin take over the positions of Women’s Officer and Welfare Officer respectively and the responsibility of the Union Finance Officer went to James Lovegrove, while last but definitely not least, the new Union President for 2004/2005 was declared to be none other than Jamie Bristow.
With 4,729 students turning out to vote, this years team will have a lot of students to keep happy.

Battling it out bravely on the sports fields, Varsity 2004 saw Uni and Hallam going head-to-head. Unfortunately Hallam pulled away in the final events to eventually win 16-9 overrall, but it was good to see us win traditional sports like Rugby Union and Hockey as well as new Varsity sports like Fencing and Windsurfing. Our teams played with tremendous pride and we're sure Hallam will find their hands full come Varsity next year.

This year the MayDay Bank Holiday broke with tradition to become the first ever Fuzz Club BBQ in the beer garden, featuring Steve Lamacq’s Punk Rock Karaoke, The CockRock Café and a special Rocktail Bar up on the patio. Drinks promos continued throughout the day and a tag team of Fuzz Club DJ’s played the best in indie, rock, metal, and emo, followed by a very special Monday night Fuzz Club for those who just couldn’t get enough of it!

And as if that wasn’t enough, Offbeat turned 100 and had not one but two special birthday parties to celebrate! Commemorating the occasion with its very own limited edition beer (aptly named ‘Offbeat 100.

All too quickly Carnival time and the End-of-Year Ball arrived, providing the perfect way to see out the semester. 11 straight hours of partying took place across 3 venues and spilled out on to the concourse with a fun fair, bouncy castle, astrodome and more. Inside, Radio One’s Seb Fontaine took over the Foundry, and the Octagon kept the party movin’ with Frouk’s special guests The Boogie Pimps, The 411 and Fatman Scoop! Meanwhile Brighton Beach came to the Fusion, pumping out sixties soul, rock’n’roll and Northern Soul classics. A perfect way to round off the year…