Open Day draws prospective students from NSW and beyond

Published 06 May 2011

michellefionanaomiNaomi Fishpool, from Tottenham in the central west of NSW, was one of more than 1,000 secondary-school students who visited the University of New England today for the University’s annual Open Day.

Naomi, who is in Year 9 at Tottenham Central School, already knew something of the University because her cousin, Fiona Fishpool – also from Tottenham – is a UNE postgraduate student in Animal Science. Today, Naomi was pursuing information on the study of zoology.

Year-10 student Michelle Wright is another member of the group from Tottenham Central that undertook the eight-hour drive to UNE for Open Day. Her current ambition is to study marine biology. “We came to UNE’s Open Day to get an idea of what our careers could be, and what subjects we should choose for Year 11 with those careers in mind,” Michelle said, adding that they were also checking out the sporting and social aspects of UNE life.

Both Michelle and Naomi were keen to find out about the many sporting activities available to students at UNE, and SportUNE’s world-class facilities. They also gained an experience of life in the UNE residences by staying at Robb College.

The photograph displayed here shows (from left) Michelle Wright, Fiona Fishpool, and Naomi Fishpool.

Altogether, the prospective university students – some of them accompanied by members of their families – travelled to UNE’s Open Day from throughout NSW and inter-State.

In welcoming the visitors, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jim Barber, said that the University – together with the city of Armidale – offered them not just a degree program but “a way of life”. “You’ll become members of the whole community,” he said.

“At UNE we’ll know your name, we’ll know what you want to achieve in life, and we’ll work with you to get there,” Professor Barber said.

Two students working towards degrees in Urban and Regional Planning – Stefanie Taylor and Kelly Wang – spoke to the visitors about their experiences of life at UNE. They both emphasised the opportunities for personal growth that life in the university residences had afforded them, as well as the stimulating and supportive nature of UNE’s educational environment.

“I think I’m very fortunate to have chosen UNE,” said Kelly, who comes from the city of Quan Zhou in China’s Fujian Province. Now in the third year of her degree program, she was one of 25 international students nominated earlier this year for the NSW International Student of the Year Awards.

Today’s Open Day, which focused on living and learning at UNE, was part of a larger event – the inaugural Life at Altitude festival – which takes a broader view of life in one of Australia’s most exciting regional cities. One highlight of the festival – on the evening of Open Day – is a “Cinema under the Stars” screening of short films from among the finalists of the 2011 Tropfest Film Festival. The next day’s program includes a “Long Lunch” on the lawns of “Booloominbah” featuring some of the best food and cool-climate wines that Armidale and the New England region have to offer, and a band concert that has attracted some of Australia’s best young acts.