ANU welcomes new students at 2018 commencement

12 February 2018

Your journey here will only be as good as you make it.

ANU has welcomed thousands of new students to the University at colourful Commencement Ceremony to mark the start of Orientation Week and the beginning of the new academic year.

Around 2,000 new and returning students took part in the ceremony, filing into University Avenue behind their college colours, for the annual commencement event.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt welcomed new students to the University community.

"This event is not just about flags, music and formal ceremony. We are really here to show you, our new students, that you are not alone," Professor Schmidt said.

"You are surrounded by an incredible support network of new students just like you. You are also surrounded by students who once sat where you are sitting today, last year and the year before. You are surrounded by post graduate students and of course, you are surrounded by our staff, professional and academic.

"The Australian National University is a tight-knit community - another family away from your family at home. And you are now part of it.

"We look forward to seeing you grow, develop and prosper here.

"We encourage you to take every opportunity that comes your way, so that you can be what you want to be. At the end of the day, this will help you more than anything else to succeed, which is exactly what we want for each and every one of you.

"So welcome from all of us to the ANU."

ANU Alumna and Indigenous education advocate Dr Jessa Rogers gave the official Commencement Address, telling of her own struggles as a young Aboriginal woman raising a child alone and dealing with the challenges of university life.

She urged new students to become involved in University life, and to find mentors and champions who can be an inspiration and support.

"ANU is everything you make it - and for me it was pivotal in my life - not least because I met my husband through student politics here," she said. "Your journey here will only be as good as you make it.

"All of you have made it this far - to Australia's number one university.

"Push ahead regardless of low expectations and those who doubt you and your potential. Find those special people - mentors and supporters - who will encourage you and help you. Be involved in your community, and use your enormous potential to improve the lives of others."

Students also heard from the President of the ANU Students' Association (ANUSA) Eleanor Kay, and President of the Postgraduate and Research Students' Association (PARSA) Alyssa Shaw.

You can watch the 2018 ANU Commencement Address back on video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMLyj8pON2s