ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt has led a giant 'G'day' greeting for our international students who remain in China because of the coronavirus travel restrictions.
The G'day greeting kicked off the 2020 ANU Commencement address in front of 1300 students and staff who gathered on the lawns of University Avenue to mark the beginning of the academic year.
The greeting and the Commencement address were recorded so they could be shared with our students still in China.
Professor Schmidt acknowledged the students who couldn't be at the Commencement ceremony but were there in spirit.
"To make them feel at home and get them ready when they do make their way here, I thought it would be good if we get everyone to wave and say 'g'day' and to make sure we welcome those people and note their absence.
"This is hard on them but we're going to be doing everything we can to make them feel welcome."
Professor Schmidt also encouraged the new students to reach out to those students who hadn't arrived yet.
"Help them with their studies and help them feel part of our community."
He said 2020 was starting to look much brighter now as the ANU community recovers from the bushfires, smoke and the January hailstorm.
"The next few days will be intense - even daunting - as you find yourself being immersed in a completely new environment full of new people from all sorts of background. But take a moment to look around - this is new for everyone.
"Take the time to be friendly - talk to people - find out their stories - make new friends and start the most intense learning journey of your life."
Drawing on his own experience from the days before social media, Professor Schmidt encouraged the students to look at work experience and internships to complement their degree, take time to learn about the history of the campus, look after their mental health, be a positive part of our community, join a club, sport or a society, and interact with teachers and other students in class.
"And while I encourage you to play hard here at uni, I also encourage you to never forget that the great education we offer here at ANU will set you up for the rest of your lives."
View Professor Schmidt delivering his speech at Commencement here.