2017/10 October - Christian Union (Brighton)

CONGRATULATIONS to Christian Union (Brighton) for winning Society of the Month for October 2017. Here's what they had to say about the event they ran that bagged them the award.

#1 What was the objective of your event?

So over the first two weeks of Freshers week, Brighton CU put on event every day (if not every other day) to try and reach students on campus, make them feel welcomed, and to share what our society is all about! We held a range of events; from open mic nights (collaborating with the Music Society), free donut stalls on the Falmer and Moulsecoomb campus, games night, movie night, Sunday church searches, grub crawls, beach barbecues, and so much more! You can see our timetable below of how hectic our two weeks were! Although it was tiring for our committee and CU members, it was so worth it! We loved meeting students, sharing glimpses of the light that we find in Jesus, and making freshers feel welcomed into their new home. Since Fresher’s Fortnight, we have been meeting as a society every Thursday, gathering for bible studies, prayer evening, and soon-to-be hosting our pumpkin carving social! We love meeting new students, holding discussions on faith with others, and sharing stories of what God has done in our lives. It’s been a great month to answer questions, serve our campuses, and explore more about what we believe with people from many different walks of faith.

#2 When did your event take place?

Brighton CU love to tire ourselves out, and our events for Fresher’s Fortnight took place from Sep 25th-Oct 8th. Our aim was to host as many events as possible over the Fresher’s fortnight, giving students alternative activities to join in with, or effortlessly find us on campuses throughout the day. After this, we have been meeting every Thursday. Brighton Christian Union’s new Thursday schedule allows people of all backgrounds and areas of faith to participate.

#3 Where did your event take place?

As mentioned previously, our September events have been crazy! A lot has been going on all over the University campuses. Our first event we held on the 25th Sept, hosting a movie night for our CU members from last year to come back, re-mingle, and share the vision of the year ahead to get on board and excited for what’s to come! This was held at one of our co-president’s houses.

On Wed 27th Sept, we held a free donut stall on the Moulsecoomb campus, Cockcroft building, just by the main reception area. This was really successful (I mean, who doesn’t love free food?) and helped us meet new students floating around, help them with any questions they had about University, and also share who we are and what we do as a society.

Thurs 28th Sept we had our fresher’s fair! It was fantastic to see so many students bustling around, and was great to hand out our free mugs, food, leaflets, and more.

After fresher’s fair, we held a games night in the Huxley building, Moulsecoomb campus. This was so much fun, and was great to kick off our first official CU event with so many students walk through the door! Around 30 students showed up ready to have a night of fun and games with us!

Fri 29th Sept, we held our famous beach barbecue event just to the left of the palace pier. Student’s loved sitting by the sea, and making friends right at the heart of Brighton town. Lots of food and lots of fun! Over 35 students showed up, which was a fantastic turn out!

Sun 1st Oct was the first day of our church search event! We met students in different café’s before church services began, just so the experience of visiting church for the first time was less daunting and that they had a friendly face to come along with them to show them around. We visted Calvery Evangelical Church in the morning, followed by a free lunch provided by the church for us after the service, and then we visited St Peter’s church in the evening, again followed with free food afterwards (so much free food over the 2 weeks!)

Mon 2nd Oct we held our ‘Paint-Relief’ event at the Grand Parade campus just beside the canteen. This was a space for students to come by, relieve any stresses, worries, or anxieties they may have had about moving to University and the year ahead, and make friends whilst painting. We met lots of students who just really enjoyed being creative and found the painting as a great outlet to their worries. It was also great for us to help clear any more questions and worries about University life with them.

Tues 3rd Oct we held another free donut stall on the Falmer campus in the Checkland building. Meeting lots of students as they walk to and from classes, and had great conversations about faith, our society, and University life. This was also used to advertise our 2nd official CU meeting, and our open mic night.

Also on Tues 3rd, we held our joint event night with the Music Soc, hosting an open mic night at The Hive, Falmer campus. This was really fun to meet students, hang out, and play some music! It was also a really great experience to make friends with the music soc, and share their passion for students. 15-20 students arrived at The Hive that evening, and made great friends with all who turned up!

Thurs 5th Oct, we had our 2nd CU meeting. From 6-7pm we held a prayer&worship session at The Hive, Falmer campus, allowing both Christian and non Christians to come together, and experience prayer & the joy of the lord! From 7-8:30, we had our guest speaker from UCCF come in to talk about ‘How to find Light in the Wilderness’, along with FREE PIZZA! We had 20-30 students come along to this event, and it was so lovely to see how much fun everyone had! Great night of making friends, sharing stories of faith, and helping others find light in their lives! The SU staff were super supportive of our society, which was incredibly encouraging to us.

After our event, we travelled out to Varley Park for our ‘text-a-toastie’ event from 9-11pm. This involved us making free toasties for students in halls in exchange of questions they had on faith, Christianity, the bible, God, and more. A great night of food, conversations, and making friends on campus!

Saturday 7th Oct, we held our grub crawl event, which involved us inviting student’s we’ve met throughout the week round to our houses for lunch and dinner. Although the events had been fun throughout the week, coming together and having a meal together was a great way to really get to know students, build deeper friendships, and fully welcome them to our society.

Sunday 8th Oct was our last event of Freshers fortnight. We had our last two church searches, which took place at Holland Road Baptist Church, and Church of Christ The King. Same as the previous week, we met students in café’s before the church services began, and were blessed with free food from the churches after the services.

#4 How many people came?

Monday 25th Sep – Movie night – 20 people.

Wednesday 27th Sep – Free Donut Stall - 50-70 people.

Thursday 28th Sep – Fresher’s Fair – 83 Sign Ups, and loads more conversations!

Thursday 28th Sep – Games Night – 30 people.

Friday 29th Sep – Beach Barbecue – 35 people.

Sunday 1st Oct – Church search – 20 people.

Monday 2nd Oct – Paint-Relief – 10 people.

Tuesday 3rd Oct – Free Donuts Stall – 50-70 people.

Tuesday 3rd Oct – Open Mic Night – 20 people.

Thursday 5th Oct – Guest Speaker Talk ‘Can I Find the Light in a Wilderness?’ – 30 people.

Thursday 5th Oct – Text-a-toastie – 20 people.

Saturday 7th Oct – Grub Crawl – 10 people.

Sunday 8th Oct – Church Search – 20 people.

Thursday 12th Oct – Bible Study – 20 people.

Thursday 12th Oct – Text-a-toastie – 30 people.

Thursday 19th Oct – Prayer Evening – 35 people.

Thursday 26th Oct – Pumpkin Carving Social – n/a.

#5 How did the attendees participate?

It may take a while to go into full detail of each event. However, to summarise, most of our events allowed students to come into a place, feel welcomed, make friends, and participate with games, music, FREE FOOD, and socials. It also allowed students to ask questions about Christianity, and to learn more about our faith with one another.

#6 What did you learn?

We learnt that running an event every day/ every other day can be incredible tiring! But… all of the hours were so worth it. We love meeting students and making them feel like Brighton is their home. We also learnt how open people were to having conversations about faith, regardless of what people believed in. It has been a great month of getting to know students, and show the love that we have for Jesus, and the love He has for us!

#7 How does your event benefit students?

We feel that the past month has benefited students in terms of making them feel welcomed, growing new friendships, and going home with full bellies from all the free food we’ve offered! Our society creates a space on campuses for students to feel loved, valued, and opening room for them to ask questions on faith, and feel comfortable to talk about subjects of faith with others. We are so excited for our weekend away in Winchester together at the end of the month, and for the rest of the year to come!