Many of you may have seen my feeble attempt at serving people in a fast food van a week or so ago as we announced the new vendors for the ANU PopUp village. As the development of the new PopUp gets underway and Union Court begins its big transformation, I'm sure many of you will have questions about how you might be affected by the changes. A new website has been created with FAQ pages that will be regularly updated so we can make sure you have the most up-to-date information at your fingertips. Over the next few weeks we will be holding a number of information forums about the project and I encourage you to get along. You can also ask questions and subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest project updates. You'll be relieved to know that I've given up serving chanchitos and will stick to being Vice-Chancellor.
Last week Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington announced we will be signing a lease for commercial property on Barry Drive to be used as an alternative venue for lectures, exams and public events during construction of the new Union Court. Hiring this space means our teaching hours over the redevelopment will remain from 8am-6pm (except where classes are usually taught late). She also confirmed that examinations will not be held on Sundays and public holidays. Examinations will still be held on Saturdays, as they have been in the past.
Speaking of new developments, I recently had the thrill of welcoming all new and returning Brucies to their temporary home on the corner of Dickson Road and Clunies Ross Street, with a high attendance rate facilitated by a 7am fire alarm. It was fantastic to see the students settling into their new digs and I'm pleased students are enjoying the new facilities. Meanwhile, we're continuing to work towards the next phase of our student accommodation upgrades. I can't wait to provide all students who want to live on our campus with the chance to do so.
On Thursday last week we welcomed the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Jean-Marc Ayrault, to campus. The Minister was here to witness the signing of a strategic agreement between ANU and the PSL (the Paris Sciences et Lettres), a research university which brings together 25 of France's most prestigious and internationally respected institutions.
Last week senior leaders from the higher education sector met in Canberra for the 2017 Universities Australia conference. One of the really pleasing things that came out of the conference was the launch of a sector-wide Indigenous Strategy - the first national strategy of its kind. The strategy has a lot of things in common with what ANU has committed to in our strategic plan including growing the number Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at university and ensuring more Indigenous students complete their studies.
Finally, good luck to our students from the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Sciences who are involved in this year's Sol Invictus Challenge. Well done on getting a major sponsor and I look forward to seeing what you come up with for the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. Solar power is a part of our future and as someone who drives around in an electric-powered car, I believe we should be making use of these new forms of technology as much as possible.