VC's update – ANU turns 75 and being prepared for lockdowns

30 July 2021

Hello everyone

On Sunday, ANU will be turning 75! We were founded as an intellectual powerhouse to help the nation rebuild in the aftermath of World War II. I am proud to be part of a community that has made so many contributions to society and relied on as a resource to the nation - especially as we emerge from another global crisis.

To celebrate, we have an exciting weekend planned for University's 75th anniversary this Sunday, 1 August in Kambri. It will be a community day with lots to do (including eating birthday cake) - heritage walks with Ngunawal Elder Uncle Wally Bell, tours of the ANU Classics Museum, pop-up talks on climate change, space, and Australia's economic future, with family-friendly activities for the kids to enjoy including an archaeological dig. Our community day is open to the public so I would encourage you all to bring your families and friends along. Just make sure you register to attend.

We will also be launching our Living History Project on Sunday. ANU historian Dr Daniel Oakman has spent this last year carefully curating a digital exhibition to showcase hundreds of images from our archives and a collection of short films on people, places and ideas that have helped to shape ANU over time. I am pleased to be able to share this with our community before our official launch over the weekend. You can also share your story or photos that relate to ANU over the years. You can preview the Living History Project here and submit your stories.

We will continue to operate with some sort of normality here on campus, including safely celebrating our birthday, while we can. It does feel like it is only a matter of time before we record a community transmission case in the ACT and I know some in our community were affected by this week's false positive COVID tests, which must have been stressful for them - it sure raised my blood pressure. This all comes as a timely reminder not to be complacent and to be prepared for a possible lockdown in Canberra, which would mean a rapid transition to remote study and work. In the event of a lockdown, we will notify you via the ANUOK app so please make sure you download it.

For staff, please ensure you are taking your laptops and any other essential equipment home with you each day. Please speak with your supervisor if you are unable to work from home or need special arrangements put in place. For students, your course convenor will be in touch with you about remote arrangements. We are offering a hybrid teaching model this semester already so I hope for a smooth transition this time. Please get in touch with your course convenors if you need more support during this time. More information for staff and students here.

There will be exemptions to allow a small number of essential staff to keep the campus operating.  For our academics and HDR students undertaking critical lab research, it is up to each College Dean and Portfolio lead to determine who needs to continue to work on campus to ensure minimal disruptions in research and lab work.

On Thursday 12 August, the Centre for Learning and Teaching will be hosting a Lunch Vox virtual event focusing on the remote student experience. Our international students will join a panel discussion to share their experiences and help staff gain insights into how the online experience could be improved. As hybrid/remote teaching is here to stay for the foreseeable future, I would encourage our teaching staff to attend.  CLT have also provided some support tips for our teaching staff to help making the online learning experience better for both academics and students. These are really hard times I know, and I am very thankful to everyone who is out teaching (and learning) under the circumstances.

We are continuing to monitor the situation in Victoria and South Australia. For our students who are impacted there, I would certainly encourage you to get here as soon as the opportunity arises. Please make sure you update your residential hall with your movements and follow ACT Health's advice for a safe return.

For our students who are still impacted by the NSW lockdowns, we are continuing to work with ACT Government to find ways to get you here safely. I know this is incredibly frustrating and upsetting but we all have to follow ACT Health's direction.  Please know we are doing everything we can to work with ACT Health to make it possible for all of our students to get to campus. We are thinking of you all and looking forward to when you can return back to campus. Please stay safe, and please get vaccinated when an appropriate vaccine is made available to you.

Lastly, I've been enjoying the Tokyo 2020 Olympics - it's always good to have something to watch at all times of the night! While there are legitimate concerns about holding the Olympics during the pandemic, I have found watching events quite therapeutic. And look at our ANU alumni and students who have won Bronze and Gold medals!  A big congratulations to ANU students Caleb Antill and Luke Letcher on their bronze medal win (rowing), and ANU alumna Jessica Morrison bringing home gold in the women's four. ANU alumna and sprinter Angeline Blackburn will making her Olympic debut in the 4x400m relay next week, best of luck.

Stay safe everyone and have a great weekend - I am looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday if you are able to attend our Birthday event.



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Comment by Vincent CRAIG
4.15pm 30 Jul 2021

We also have ANU medical researcher, Renae Domaschenz competing in the paralympics as coxswain of the PR3 mixed coxed four - a real chance for gold. 27th, 28th and 29th of August.


Go Renae!