Uni Life

Welcome Back, UON

It is that time of the year again! Luckily, Keighley Bradford can give you the low down on what to expect when you return to campus in 2021.

Welcome back to campus, UON! It’s been one hectic year for most of us, but things are starting to look up with events and classes returning to campus for 2021. So, what’s the low-down on the UON this year? Read on to find out:

O-Week Expo: The Same, But Different.

Kicking off today, Orientation Week is happening across all campuses. With this our beloved Clubs Expo returns, featuring over 70 clubs and societies. However, this year the event is going to be running a little differently.

Firstly, only new students are invited to attend the event due to COVID restrictions. Additional COVID-safety measures in place include:

  • Mandatory registration/check-in
  • Provision of hand sanitiser
  • Social distancing champions on-site, as well as reminder signage of 1.5m distancing

With the event aiming to be as COVID-safe as possible, clubs and societies have been encouraged to do contactless sign-ups, meaning only some stalls may offer cash membership payments, while others may direct you to apply online. (Any clubs/societies seeking to use cash on the day should contact Student Central ASAP to run through their COVID-safe cash-handling process).

This year the event will take place across three locations – the Brennan room, Auchmuty Courtyard, and Shortland Lawn. Fete stalls will also be used instead of booths this year, further adding a safe distance buffer between stallholders and students. Additionally, students will be allocated a specific time frame to attend the Expo before being required to move onto their next activity.

Last, but not least, in true O-Week spirit, there will plenty of freebies going around, including swag, food, and prizes up for grabs!

Introducing…Clubs Week!

For those of us who missed out on the O-Week Expo, don’t you fret just yet – UON is working on an event for a Clubs week sometime early Semester 1. Stay tuned for more info!

The Return of UON-Wide Events.

Nothing brings together the UON community like the promise of free food and activities! This year our regular themed weeks – Harmony Day, Autonomy Day, Create Festival, Green Week, and SHAG Week – will be returning. Activities for Reconciliation Week and University Mental Health Day have also been scheduled. And there are also some new events on the horizon, including an Arts-focused week (Semester 1) and Festival of Frights (Halloween).

But that’s not all! UNSA and Student Central have scheduled a bunch of regular events for the year! Think free food, live music, moonlight movies, community garden events, Stress Less activities, and the infamous DJ + Band Comps.

How to Wine & Dine on Campus

According to the most recent update from UON (17 December 2020), some changes to food and beverage outlets on campus include, but are not limited to:

  • Suspension of keep cups and mug libraries
  • Contactless payments preferred
  • Social distancing safe zones

The biggest change to hit campus is that QR check-in at eating establishments and takeaways is mandatory per NSW Government regulations. There is a new restaurant on campus that recently opened up – Local Connections. This venue is where the old GT Bar use to be in the Shortland Building, and actually has three levels (café, deck, and dining), all of which have plenty of seating options to choose from.

Library News

Now for those who love Hunter-side of Callaghan, we have some heartbreaking news – the Huxley Library closed last December, coinciding with the closure of the Hunter Building. However, the contents of the library – which traditionally held the Indigenous Collection, Curriculum Resource Collection, and other collections which supported the health, education, and arts disciplines – have been relocated to the Auchmuty Library. The Indigenous Collection and the Curriculum Resource Collection can be found in their new homes, while titles from the other collections (which are still being processed) are available via the Library’s Click & Collect service here.

Auchmuty Library has also undergone recent changes, including:

  • A facelift to the AIC: More PCs, sit-stand desks, and an extended café area
  • A refurbishment to Reading Room 3: New furniture, including laptop benches, consult tables and modular co-working furniture.
  • A new Tech Bar (L3): For 1-on-1 consultations and small group training sessions and other tech needs.
  • A Wollotuka Space (L3): Bringing the Indigenous Collection and dedicated consult space together.
  • An increase in bookable group rooms for study sessions

Changes still to come in 2021 include:

  • A Content Curation Space (L3): This will be a student space for video recording and podcasting (with staff available to assist).
  • Further refurbishment of spaces on Level 3
  • Upgrades to Level 4: Improved individual study spaces and silent study zones, including new furniture, task lighting and more power outlets.

Additionally, UON Library COVID-safety rules apply and are as follows:

  • Library buildings are open to University students, staff, and our Community Borrower membership holders.
    At this time, no general community members can access libraries.
  • Access to the University Gallery and Watt Space Gallery is restricted.
    Special Collections and the GLAMx Lab are currently by appointment only, as is the Library MakerSpace.
  • We have reduced seating to comply with room occupancy limits, and when studying and interacting in our Libraries, please stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people.
  • At some of our Service Zones, you may see a virtual concierge. Instead of a staff member standing there with you, you will be able video call with them in another room to receive help.
  • At Ourimbah and Sydney Libraries, we strongly recommend face coverings are worn, and require them to be worn when involved in events or situations included in the NSW public health order (see NSW Health Advice.)

New Developments on the Horizon for 2021?

The Things That Haven’t Changed?

  • Sunny the Green Tree Snake still lurks by the bridge. (He’s harmless).
  • Mozzies everywhere. (Don’t even risk leaving without repellent).
  • Yak’s got your back. (Always).

Feature Image: Madelyn Gardiner, Yak Media Designer

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