Grump’s Guide: Freshers’ Foam Party


By Dearbhla Hennessy

Foam parties at universities across the country are a Government-funded bio security scheme that aims to sanitise the in-coming first year students or, if you want to use the common term, “freshers”. This scheme is disguised as an irresistible social event attracting those who suffer from the fear of missing out (FOMO).

Loud, trance-like music that could rupture your internal organs is blasted from a speaker the size of a premature baby whale. This will in turn, lure the freshers from the recesses of college accommodation like a moth to a flame.

Once this step is complete, bubbles are formed with a mixture of water, industrial cleaner, and a touch of Fairy liquid. The mixture is then spewed from a cannon over the congregation of semi-pubescent teenagers who rejoice over the magical concept of bubbles and music.

This decontamination process is very effective in eradicating diseases such as cholera, SARS and anthrax that first years may have picked up from the rural farm they grew up on in the West Midlands. The “shower” of soapy water also cures the chronic smell of body odour that would have lingered around lecture halls the following morning.

Foam Parties are not only a means of decontamination on campus, they also act as a sort of X-Factor Bootcamp- only the strongest freshers deserve to go through to the next round of college social life as not all will survive the deadly ice-rink of bubbles. Some will meet their hour when the DJ plays a mainstream tune that they love. These said individuals will attempt to twerk, slip, and never get back up again. Others will incur partial blindness as their eyes will not be able to withstand the slightly caustic nature of washing-up liquid (and other chemicals). However, then their eyes will definitely not be able to handle the strain of staring at the pages of infinite legal volumes, in dim lighting, at 3 am.

College is survival of the fittest and foam parties are the first stage of elimination. Other avenues of annihilation at these parties include chemical peeling of your skin from a reaction of the heavy duty cleaner in the bubbles and your fake tan.

Finally, the most sinister cause of not surviving a foam party is when your clothes get so wrecked that your mammy from Tralee senses the unusual mixture of chemicals that’s not DAZ washing powder, when she calls you over the phone. Irish mammies have a 6th sense for such instances. This will ensue with you being scolded like a child who’s stepped into a puddle or, in your case, a child who’s submerged themselves in an isolation tank of washing-up liquid. This will not go down well with mam who says you’ll also catch a cold you may never recover from.

Following the climax of a foam party, students will emerge from a mountain of suds a different person. Was it because the amateur DJ’s “beats” were “sick”? No. Was it because you got the slippiest shift of your life? No.

The walk home to their cesspit accommodation, dripping like a leaky bale of silage in the summer, with a dopey smile on their face, and an optional Bulmers in their hand (if their livers haven’t spasmed and exploded yet) is enough to reassure them that the next 3-4 years of college will be the best fun. At this point, they will also have noticed that they have lost their key cards, Student ID and all other forms of identification that may tempt them to pursue a life as a travelling fugitive- nameless and traceless. However, the craic was mighty at the foam party. Bubbles, music and good company; it was enough to affirm to them that UL is now home.