Scenic shot of Wollongong

Message to students - 1 September, 2021

Message to students - 1 September, 2021

Dear students, spring has sprung! And according to my weather app, we’ve got some sunny days ahead to look forward to.  Please make time to go outside between classes for exercise and to soak up some vitamin D.

I’m already finding the scent of golden wattle on my daily walks revitalising, and I hope you are too. I’ve actually just registered for the Lifeline South Coast Out of the Shadows Walk, held to coincide with Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th, raising awareness, remembering those lost to suicide and supporting those still impacted. Perhaps you’d like to register too?

Firstly, well done for making it through to week 6 of the session! For many of you, you're almost halfway. Your assessments and exams will soon be approaching. Though you've probably already discovered the best approach to remote study for you, here are some , which offer some very helpful tips for managing your time and avoiding procrastination. It’s also worth mentioning the . These sessions are a great way to keep up with your peers and study in the lead up to assessments. I am confident the remote learning tools will be helpful for those of you undertaking research or other study sessions.

I'm happy to share that a new health helpline for UOW students is now operational on 02 4239 2300. As a UOW student, you will have your call answered by a friendly nurse who can provide information, advice, and referrals to help you access appropriate care. In addition to organising interim support for students and former patients of the Campus Clinic, the University is currently examining models and scope for new Wollongong campus medical services. Please email your suggestions or thoughts to

As I have shared before, I’m striving to make student voices a more significant aspect in key decision-making bodies, which is where the comes in. If you’re interested in getting involved, several positions are vacant, which I strongly invite students to apply for. The nomination period for for WUSA, WUPA, Academic Senate, University Council, Faculty, Campus and WIC annual general elections open on 7 September. If representation isn’t your calling, but you still want to have your voice heard, please send your thoughts through our .

Another way to have your voice heard is through student experience surveys, which we thank you for often taking the time to do. On that note, the is opening next week. Your safety is our number one priority, which makes this survey one of the most important. The survey aims to measure the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment experiences among students and help the University respond to and prevent this occurring. With senior executives at the University completing sexual assault and harassment prevention training, you can see this issue is not taken lightly at UOW. Together, we can continue to build safe and respectful communities.

In vaccination-related news, I’ve just been informed that students are welcome to book the AZ vaccine at Omar Mosque in Gwynneville clinic open today.  Everyone over 18 is eligible, including international students. There will be multiple vaccination stations, with special stations for women wearing a hijab if required, and ethnic language Interpreters to assist as well. Please get vaccinated as soon as you can, and don’t forget about the we have established to help you make informed decisions around vaccination.

Like me, you have probably been watching with great concern the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. While the way forward is unclear, the international community cannot turn away. I invite you to register for a free lecture we are hosting for the community next Tuesday, September 7, at 5.30 pm, on the rise of the Taliban and what that means for the future of Afghanistan. Professor Theo Farrell, our Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) and an expert on the Afghanistan conflict, will host the event. He has a unique perspective, having previously been involved in talks with senior Taliban.

During this time of social distancing, it's more important than ever that we stay socially and emotionally connected. This has had me thinking about the friendships, partnerships, and relationships formed among the UOW community and how formative and important they are to the lives of our students. We want to tell some of these stories and share them with our community. I'm calling on you to submit your ideas for interesting stories that celebrate the diversity of connections, friendships or relationships that transpire at UOW. If you have a story of connection that found its roots in the gardens or virtual landscape that UOW has provided, we'd love to hear from you. Please email 100 words or less to

Lastly, it’s time to get baking! UOW’s Bake Off is underway, using hashtag #UOWBakeOff. I’ve been enjoying this content immensely. This crumble cake from The Illawarra Cookbook went down a treat in my house, while UOW alumna, Katherine Sabbath, may offer inspiration for taking your baking to a whole other level!

Enjoy the week ahead,