Loreto might not be a university but there are elements of university life to which we try to introduce students during their time with us: one such is the annual Freshers’ Fair at the beginning of term in September. This year saw the promotion of a record number of societies, clubs and activities, as students thronged the Sports Hall and adjoining grounds, keen to take advantage of what the college has to offer outside the confines of the classroom.

The Fair Trade stall demonstrated the efficacy of ethical trading, alongside the Chaplaincy representatives, who took the opportunity to highlight the annual trips to Taize and Lourdes in the summer. Loreto’s connection with our sister schools in India aroused a great deal of interest, with students keen to hear about the possibility of travelling to Kolkata and working with children there. One of the most popular societies, Debate Club, attracted the disputatious, whilst the Origami group appealed to an altogether different demographic.

Loreto has much to offer the musically inclined student, with thriving choral and instrumental ensembles; students at the fair were intrigued to hear tracks from our own record label, E&K Records. Budding thespians are catered for in the college Drama productions, which this year will include a full scale musical, Guys and Dolls, participation in a Shakespeare festival, and a production of 1984.

Those students looking for some support in their academic studies were drawn to the ALS stalls where advice on study skills was available, together with information on learning differences and details of a weekly social club for those students finding it difficult to settle in socially. The counselling service was on hand, both for students who thought they might need to make an appointment, but also to provide guidance to students thinking of a career in counselling.

The Sociology Society proved popular, and the Psychology Society attracted considerable interest with details of its book club and various trips out to see famous psychologists. Reading, film and placements abroad formed the basis of the appeal of the MFL stall, and the ever popular History Society promoted its extensive schedule of visiting speakers and guest lecturers. The Philosophy Society challenged students to stretch their intellectual capacity. Those of a literary inclination were drawn to the English Department where stalls promoted creative writing activities in the Manchester Muse, the recital of poetry in the Poetry By Heart competition, and a Reading Group as well.

The Law Society featured a bewigged Mr Howells signing students up for the Bar National Mock Trial Competition, and the Media Department had information on radio and sound production. The Library promoted the cerebral benefits of reading and research, whilst Ultimate Frisbee made a case for something else entirely. College hoodies were for sale and the National Citizens Service had a stream of students interested in their Challenge. Aspiring medics were drawn to students decked out by the Science Department in ‘theatre blues’ and enthusiastic student helpers handed out details of the thriving science club and science writing club. Mrs Garner took up a roving role to provide information about the Webster project, for those students interested in following a career in teaching.

As the event ran at lunchtime extra sustenance had to be provided and this took the form of a splendid range of internationally themed food. Hungry students tucked into Caribbean favourites such as curried goat, Chinese and Indian delicacies including sweet chilli chicken and vegetable chow mein, hearty American style burgers and hot dogs, and good old fashioned British fish ‘n’ chips and apple crumble. Free samples were available! We even had an environment stall selling water in bottles especially designed for Loreto.

All this and a giant Connect Four, a Buckin’ Bronco and an appearance by Careers Croc: what better way to start the term?

Please watch a video of the event by clicking here