Less than a week after arriving at the University of New England, the new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jim Barber, welcomed new students to the University on the first full day of Orientation activities for 2010.
“Our mission at UNE is to change your life,” he told the new students who, together with parents and friends, gathered yesterday on the lawns of “Booloominbah” – the picturesque heart of the University’s campus.
Professor Barber predicted that, as well as acquiring “skills that will make your career” and “a passport to travel the world”, they would make life-long friendships – many even finding their life partner.
“I’m more confident of making these predictions about UNE than I would be about any other university,” he said, explaining that the strong and lasting friendships formed at UNE were something he had been aware of throughout his career.
“I hope you’ll be proud of being UNE alumni,” he concluded. “Welcome, good luck, and let your new life begin!”
Professor Barber then spoke informally to individual students and parents before the beginning of the scheduled “Parents’ Information Session”.
More than 1,000 new students attended the official welcome, during which Alicia Zikan, the undergraduate student representative on the UNE Council, also spoke to them about the unique opportunities at UNE for meeting people – both students and staff members – and making friends. “In your colleges you’re already part of a strong social network,” Ms Zikan said, adding that there were also social networks for students living in the town.
“You’ll have opportunities that students at other universities – sitting in a lecture theatre with 900 other students – can only dream of,” she said.
At the traditional “Lifesaver Day”, held yesterday in UNE’s Lazenby Hall, the new students were able to gain an idea of the opportunities available to them for involvement in sporting, cultural, and community-oriented activities. There was an impressive array of 102 stalls, from which the students gathered information on everything from church and community groups, to political and arts organisations, to sports clubs and local businesses.
Among the crowd in Lazenby Hall was Tehlia Nicholson, who comes from Port Macquarie and is beginning her studies towards a Bachelor of Nursing degree. Tehlia is living at UNE’s Earle Page College. “I’d heard good things about UNE, and have friends who’ve come here,” she said. “I was a bit nervous at first, but everyone’s so friendly it’s been really good.”
Matt Bailey from Scone, who is living at Austin College, is enrolled in UNE’s new Bachelor of Sport Science degree program. “It involves what I loved doing at school,” Matt said, adding that he was interested in teaching, initially, and then perhaps in professions associated with rehabilitation.
Lewis Turvey from Muswellbrook, who is also living at Austin College, is starting in the Bachelor of Psychological Science degree program. Lewis said he had a strong interest in psychology, and had heard good reports about psychology programs at UNE and – more generally – that UNE was “a really good university to go to”.
The Orientation program continues this week with information sessions on academic and personal support services, campus and library tours, social activities, and introductory course lectures.
THE PHOTOGRAPH displayed here shows Professor Jim Barber with Megan Raines from Gilgandra, who is entering a Bachelor of Criminology / Bachelor of Laws program. It expands to include Megan’s parents Debbie and Paul Raines.