Image of purple Jacaranda flowers in bloom Grafton

Message to students

Message to students

Dear Students, I was extremely encouraged this week by Australia’s increasing vaccination uptake. We’re administering around 300,000 doses a day, which is incredibly promising.

Dr Norman Swan, the physician and journalist recording daily updates on the ABC’s Coronacast podcast, speaks very astutely about the benefits of vaccines. In Monday’s podcast, he made these two important points:

  • The vaccines protect you from the horrors of the COVID-19 disease by 90-95%
  • The vaccines also protect the community at large by reducing your chance of infection by about 50%, meaning you’re less likely to catch the virus and then pass it on to your loved ones

Once again, I encourage each and every one of you to please get vaccinated if you can. Information is crucial at this time, so visit our  to find out where you can get vaccinated, receive the latest advice, and read through the FAQs.

This pandemic is impacting all of us in different ways. If any of you feel overwhelmed, please reach out to a friend, a family member or access free and confidential support (call or text) with the . You are important, and what you’re going through matters, so please take time to look after your mental health and know that we will soon be coming through the other side of this.

I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge all of our UOW students currently impacted by the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan. . Our thoughts are currently with all of our students, staff and alumni from an Afghan background, along with our friends and colleagues in Afghanistan.

Last week I shared the incredible work of our Student Advisory Council who had put together a UOW Youth Climate Statement.  As part of our commitment to that statement, I am pleased to announce a newly formed group to advise me and lead sustainability initiatives across the University. The Sustainable Futures Committee (SFC) will be chaired by Professor Tim McCarthy, Director of the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre, and will guide the University’s campuses to a more sustainable future. The SFC will develop and oversee the implementation of a University Sustainability Framework, including a Sustainability Strategy, Action Plan, Sustainability Policy, and Renewable Energy and Carbon Neutrality targets.

This Friday August 27, I’ll be wearing my favourite purple shirt for ‘wear it purple’ day. This is a day to celebrate ‘rainbow young people’ as the organisation likes to say - striving to foster supportive, safe, empowering, and inclusive environments for queer people everywhere. I encourage you to join in as UOW goes purple - during your exercise time outside, in your zoom classes, or even placing a purple balloon or streamer on your mailbox. And remember, let’s stand as allies every day.

Finally, the Paralympic Games have begun, and considering the wet weather, what better time to sit on the couch and cheer on some incredible Aussie athletes? I’d like to draw your attention especially to six Illawarra locals who are competing: Swimmer Jasmine Greenwood, Triathletes Jonathan Goerlach and Dave Mainwaring, Basketballers Bret Stibners, Tristan Knowles, and Jessica Cronje, and Boccia player Daniel Michel. Happy cheering!

Stay safe and keep well,