About 1,000 new students had an initial taste of campus life at the University of New England today – the first day of Orientation 2009.
“Orientation” is a program of events designed to welcome new students to the University, and to introduce them to all that UNE has to offer, both academically and socially.
In his official welcome this morning, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Pettigrew, emphasised the University’s commitment to fostering the intellectual and personal growth of its students. “We’re here to support you and give you every opportunity for success,” Professor Pettigrew said. During this week’s Orientation program, new students will be able to find out how to access that support.
They will also be set on the road to academic success with introductory sessions including a “Toolkit for Success” at 10 am tomorrow (Tuesday 17 February), an “Academic Skills Fair” from 10 am to 4 pm on Wednesday and Thursday, and a program of “Academic Orientation Sessions”, introducing specific study programs, running over several days this week.
During this morning’s opening ceremony Alicia Zikan, the representative of undergraduate students on UNE’s Council, welcomed all the newcomers on behalf of the University’s student population. After assuring them that “the UNE experience will change your life”, she supported that assertion by speaking of her own experience. After enrolling at UNE as a distance-education student in 2001, she had her first experience of Armidale/UNE life later that year when she attended her first residential school. As a result of that experience, she – together with her husband and children – moved to Armidale four months later.
“Lifesaver Day” was an important part of today’s program. “Lifesaver Day” is when student and community organisations and local businesses set up stalls to alert new students to the vast potential for involvement – both on and off campus – in sporting, cultural, and community-oriented activities. Today there were about 100 stalls crowding UNE’s Lazenby Hall and Central Courtyard.
Attending Orientation was Chloe Hamilton, who said the prospect of living on campus and studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree was “exciting (and a bit scary)”.
Chloe comes from Kangaroo Valley in southern NSW. With an ambition to become a museum curator and researcher, she plans to major in archaeology and palaeoanthropology. She chose to come to Armidale because of the quality of UNE’s archaeology program, and the University’s attractive environment. “I’m looking forward to getting into it,” she said.
A resident of Drummond and Smith College, she’s also looking forward to playing basketball in her leisure hours.
This year, for the first time, all new students were issued with a USB drive donated by the local Harvey Norman store. This drive holds a directory of information that will assist students in the coming weeks.