The start of every university year is set aside for celebrating all that is good about campus life. Some Macquarie students think that previous O-Week celebrations have not lived up to the hype. Lauren Bunnell and Nick O’Sullivan represent a group of students who have been busy working to bring the excitement of orientation back to the Macquarie University campus.
Brendon (B): You’re both students at Macquarie, how did you get involved with organising O-Week?
Lauren (L): I’m head of the Student Events Committee and I got onto that because I was President of the W.A.N.G Club. I’ve worked with events before.
Nick (N): I ran in the student elections for the past student committee… I thought I should get something done so that we could legitimise our role as student representatives.
B: So, what is it like putting together O-Week?
N: The first part was [all about] being creative and trying to think about what the students would like, what would work, what was practical, what people would enjoy. We want O-Week to catch up to the USYD and UNSW O-Weeks and surpass them. There’s so much going on. There are so many opportunities for every single kind of student to get involved.
B: It seems there are a greater number of events in the line-up compared to last year. Can you tell us about that and what sort of events the students can expect?
L: We weren’t happy with last year’s O-Week and we wanted to take it to the next level. With that we said, “Right, we want to revamp it, we want to make it an actual event, not just a couple of stalls where people go and get free stuff.” And the response from Campus Engagement was great, they said, “Let’s get on it. Let’s get a budget happening.”
N: It’s been centered around getting acts for the main stage so it’s like a pool for the students to create a name and a band. The theme of the week is ‘Carnivale’, and so it is important to us to create that buzz and atmosphere. We had big brainstorming sessions trying to get as much stuff within our budget as we could – trying to find more money, to get more on, to provide a better environment for the students at O-Week.
B: Is there any reason why Macquarie University tends to stick with an O-Week event rather than a camp, like USYD or UNSW?
N: Well you’ve got to remember that USYD and UNSW don’t have classes during O-Week. We have. So we’re slightly inhibited because we can’t access students the whole time. We have to work around that and so that’s probably why we can’t do camps. We tried to do it but we can’t make students as involved as we’d like to, because we have classes and different responsibilities at the time. We try to work around that.
L: You’ve got to remember that this is the first year that we have upped the O-Week events so we want to see this O-Week being used as a building block. We want the next coming years to build on that.
B: What are some of the highlights?
L: On Monday we’ve got the Athletics Carnival, which Grapeshot will also be involved in, co-hosted by Tom and Alex from Triple J. It will basically have things like sack races, and all the funny little things. It breaks up that serious side of the university and gets people involved. We wanted that as a stepping stone for new students to come along and meet new people and drop their inhibitions.
N: On Tuesday we have a Bond-themed movie night.
L: On Wednesday we have a comedy movie showing and the food market. We also have the W.A.N.G. Olympics. We’ve adapted, with the help of Ubar, the official games from the Beer Olympics, so it will be teams of four competing against each other for drinks at the bar. The winning team will get free membership to the W.A.N.G. Club for the year.
N: And on Thursday night [there] is the Summer Haze Ubar Party. They’ve got The Ministry of Sound in to DJ so we’re going to hear crankin’ beats. It’s a massive night for Ubar. There will be a surprise that we are hoping to unveil that night. I can’t tell you too much, but it will be good. For most of the week we will have a ride-on surfboard, water slides, gladiator fights, a jumping castle…
L: …and for Thursday we are looking to do a water fight.
B: So there are many events that students can get involved with but what about the staff members?
L: They’re more than welcome to put a team in for the Athletics carnival or the W.A.N.G. Olympics.
N: They can rock out with the bands. All our activities are for everyone. By having so many activities you do have the range for everyone to get involved.
B: Just to wrap things up is there anything that you would like to say to the students and staff?
L: Don’t hold back on getting involved. We want more people to get out there and have fun.
Writer’s note: A version of this article was first published in Grapeshot Magazine Issue 1, 2013: Reboot.