With just weeks to go before the end of the year, preparations are already in full swing ahead of 2017 O-Week, which will be held from 13 - 17 February.
We sat down for a quick chat with the team of three directors - ANU students Jeevan Haikerwal (B Arts and B Philosophy and Economics); ANUSA social officer Cameron Allan (Law (honours) and International Security Studies) and Elisa Lu (B Arts Law (honours)) - to find out what new and continuing students can expect from the 2017 festivities.
Cameron: O-Week is essentially students' introduction to the culture of ANUSA and the way that we deliver our O-Week program sets the tone for what students can expect for the rest of the year. So I suppose between the three of us, we have a very specific vision for O-Week and the things we want to focus on. Our vibe we decided on was to be really creative and vibrant. We want people to be able to stumble across events on campus. We want things to be constantly happening so people feel they are part of a special community.
What can students expect? Have you got anything new that might not have been featured in previous O-Weeks?
Cameron: essentially we are doubling the number of events that have typically happened. We think that O-Week has always been really fun but we still think there's more we can do to have events that cater for everyone. So rather than running one event per time slot that tries to capture every person, we want to run more specific events that cater to more specific groups.
This year, we are having a massive noodle market on the Thursday featuring a lot of the international clubs and societies. It's about trying to encourage different demographics of students, especially the international clubs and societies. Running those food stalls will be predominately national and international students. We want it to help form a type of integration between the two groups.
Elisa is also organising a massive carnival day on the Thursday which will feature jumping castles, sumo wrestling suits, a mechanical bull and other things like bubble soccer and inflatable archery.
Something else we are running is called Coffee Roulette and what that involves is you sign up through the ANUSA website and you then get given a location and a discount code and you then rock up to a coffee shop and there will be three other students there who you've never met. You get a free or discounted coffee and then the objective is you sit down and chat over coffee. It's a bit of an Australian thing to do, and also very much a Canberra thing to do. So we're trying to run more events like this which give people chances to make friendships.
What are some of the things students MUST do this year?
Cameron: We're going to have an app this year. Facebook can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to information, so we're having an app and you can create your own schedule of O-Week. It's the first time we're doing that. So number one, sign up to the app and two, come to Union Court ready for a full day of activities.
Why should people come to O-Week?
Jeevan: You've got everything from musical live performances through to sporting matches, show matches, you've got opportunities yourself to get involved, in scavenger hunts running around the campus and finding everything, to partying on the Friday night in front of international acts. So it's a huge breadth of things going on and an opportunity to see what you can expect from university as a whole.
Elisa: It's a whole different experience you don't get anywhere else. Going to uni is a completely different experience. As a new person it's kind of daunting meeting new people and one of the things in O-Week is to facilitate a nice safe environment. So if you get to meet new people, you can do it through various activities like scavenger hunts, the market days, night noodle markets, festival days.
Jeevan: the most important thing is it's in a really safe environment where we have people around who are there to make the week good. It's not just a party for the sake of a party, it's a party for the sake of the people. Events that are run with people in mind so they are comfortable with experiencing new things in this part of their life.
What are you looking forward to with O-Week?
Jeevan: I'm really keen to see all the new students coming in and experiencing the various activities we've put together but really on shaping their own journey.
This O-Week's called dreamland. and it evokes feelings of nostalgia or when you've just entered into a new realm, and I think that's what we're trying to create. We're going to be having painted street pianos, people can choose their own adventure throughout the week, using the app to plot out where they're going from each different place.
It's a really exciting time and the way to keep on top of it is to know what you want to get out of it.