Our community welcomes Open Day visitors

Published 05 September 2008

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About 1,200 prospective students took advantage of the University of New England’s annual Open Day today to get a first-hand impression of the University’s campus and all that it offers.

They came from near and far, with some – drawn by UNE’s “five-star” reputation for a rewarding educational experience – travelling many hundreds of kilometres from their homes in Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

One of those – Jessica Lloyd – travelled to UNE from south-west of Longreach in Queensland. Jessica, who finished school at Fairholme  College in Toowoomba last year, said some of her school friends had come to UNE and had “really enjoyed it”. And, with her preference for country life and her interest in studying rural science, she said the University’s rural setting was an added attraction.

Lazenby Hall was crowded with visitors collecting information and advice on all aspects of UNE’s academic programs, as well as its administrative procedures and student support services. There were displays and demonstrations illustrating UNE’s research and teaching programs in fields such as botany, geology, physiology, zoology, agriculture, chemistry, and environmental science.

The Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Webb, in his official welcome to the visitors, emphasised the accessibility of the University’s teaching staff, and the community atmosphere prevailing on campus and extending into the wider Armidale community.

Professor Webb spoke about UNE’s proud tradition as Australia’s first regional university, its reputation for academic excellence, and the unique “living-and-learning” environment of its residential colleges. He said UNE offered “the best of both worlds”: study at a highly-regarded academic institution while forming life-long friendships in a friendly and supportive community.

Madeline Beveridge, a second-year undergraduate living at Earle Page  College, welcomed the visitors on behalf of the University’s students, saying: “UNE is far more than just a place to study”. As well as working towards her Bachelor of Advanced Science with Honours degree, Madeline said, she was making friends and “having the time of my life”.

Meshaal Alshammary, a student from Saudi Arabia studying for a Master of International Business degree, gave a welcome on behalf of UNE’s international students. He spoke about the “warmth and kindness” of the University’s staff, saying that it made the campus “feel like home” for overseas students. He recommended UNE to prospective students as a place to experience cultural diversity in a friendly environment. “On any short walk around the campus you’ll hear at least five different languages,” he said.

This year’s Open Day involved local clubs and businesses more than ever before, and the UNE Bistro was alive with information stalls on religious, environmental, political, sporting, and community service groups, as well as student organisations.

Wet weather focused most of today’s activities indoors, with information sessions on a wide range of academic programs as well as on subjects such as careers, HECS, and applying for a university place. There were also tours of individual Schools within the academic Faculties, as well as of the residential colleges, the Dixson Library, IT facilities, support services, Sport UNE, and the student radio station TUNE! FM. Visitors were treated to a free barbecue lunch, live music and theatre performances, recorded music provided by DJ “Rusty”, and the chance to win an iPod Nano.  The prize winner was Vanessa Sing, a Year 12 student from the New England region.

THE PHOTOGRAPH displayed here shows Professor Graham Webb with Madeline Beveridge and Meshaal Alshammary.