Christmas In July

8 August 2016

In order to welcome new and returning students, the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) organised the Winter Festival, including an array of events, programs and activities around the Parkville campus from 20–30 July.

“Our main goal is to use O Week as a means to show new students that university is much more than just classes,” said Ryan Davey, UMSU Clubs & Societies Officer.

O Week was an opportunity for new students at the University of Melbourne to learn about clubs, societies and facilities and make new friends on campus. Staff at UMSU were working on the Winter Festival since April and the preparation started in late June.

UMSU President Tyson Holloway-Clarke told Farrago about his expectation of O Week.

“My hope is that our presence and effort during orientation surprises people and makes them excited for the year ahead.”

UMSU’s Carnival Day kicked off a series of programs to be held during the Winter Festival. There were stalls hosted by different departments and organisations at Union Lawn, which offered various activities and freebies. Students waited in long queues to play games expecting to win the exciting and surprising prizes.

“It’s my first day around the campus. I am so excited! So excited for everything. I just got a bag of popcorn and lots of greetings from the friendly staff of each stall,” said Sabrina Zhu who is studying the Master of Global Media Communication.

“But to be honest, it’s a little bit messy. I am afraid that I might lose some important information or cannot get something meeting my requirement accurately.”

On the Carnival Day, the UMSU Women’s Department held the ‘Winter Fest Women’s Picnic’, trying to help students make new friends. Students were having conversations under a marquee with beanbags, blankets, cheeses and snacks.

UMSU Women’s Officer Adriana Mells said “any woman or person can join us! It’s a mini activity encouraging people who come along and making them feel comfortable.”

Another eagerly anticipated event of O Week was Clubs Day. There are over 200 clubs and societies for students to explore and get involved in at the University.

“The Clubs Day is the best part of the week. It’s not only the busiest event year in, year out. The event is consistently rated as the highlight by new students who provide feedback about O Week,” said Davey.

On 21 July, the stalls of various clubs and societies took up Union Lawn and tried their best to attract new members. To many, the life of University is not just about studying hard and getting excellent marks. The much more important thing is that you make friends from different areas but with similar faiths or hobbies. Through clubs and societies, students learn many skills outside of textbooks and lectures and gain practical experience.

“Our main goal is to use O Week as a means to show new students that university is much more than just classes. That if they make the most of their time here, university will be the best years of their lives”, Davey said.

There were heaps of activities, workshops, parties and events during the Winter Festival such as a movie night, food adventure, bike co-op opening party and Creative Arts Collective. There will be free BBQ and beverages, events and gigs around the campus throughout the semester.

As Davey advised to every new and returning student, “When it comes to clubs, dive straight in. Join as many as you can, go to every event you see advertised that interests you and don’t just come to class then go home.”

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