Hi, my name is Ron on the Student Residence Manager across Kooloobong Village, Graduate House and Bangalay.
Hi, I'm Ellie. I'm studying biomedical engineering at UOW and I live at Kooloobong.
Question slide: Why did you decide to remain living in student accommodation when classes were moved online?
I find it a lot easier to study when I'm around like-minded people and because all students here we have
the same motivations, and we can encourage each other to go well academically and also just take
breaks when we need. We're all in the same boat when it comes to the stresses that uni brings, and I found it a lot easier
to be around people who could understand me and relate to me when I was facing struggles with my uni studies. And we could lean on each other and
build support and a community together. The wi-fi, my hometown was pretty terrible though being able to stay here and use the free wi-fi was
definitely a bonus.
Question slide: How has UOW helped students living in-residence during this time?
It's widely accepted that young people are feeling a level of disconnect during COVID, but at UOW accommodation sites,
we ensure that they are part of the community, they've got the support and wellbeing behind them to ensure
academic success and overall wellbeing.
Question slide: Why is the wellbeing of students living in UOW accommodation so important?
It's acknowledged that when students move away from home, it's a particularly daunting time for them in their life.
They're young adults that have increased pressure around academic success, financial pressure and social life.
Prior to my commencement in this role, I was the Safe and Respectful Communities Manager and the safety and wellbeing of our students is
something that I hold really close to my heart, and something that I'm really passionate about. This is something I've brought into
my role as the manager of Kooloobong, Graduate House and Bangalay to ensure that there is continued success for our residents, whether it be academic
success or in their personal life and wellbeing.
Question slide: How was the community spirit maintained here when COVID-19 unfolded?
When COVID unfolded, we managed to find a really good balance between having fun and staying safe, so that brought in a lot of virtual
events as well as some face-to-face events later on. I found it really beneficial to the whole community, and I actually think it's made us bond a lot
more and become stronger in those bonds. I found it really difficult to build a strong connection with my cohort online, but staying at Kooloobong,
I've met so many people doing my degree and we can talk about our course, we can share our subjects together. I've been given a lot of
advice from older students, which is really helped me with my studies, and I've also been able to give advice to younger students to help
them with their studies.
Question slide: What are some of the health and safety measure in-place for students living in UOW accommodation?
Part of the safety of our residents is to ensure that we adapt to the New South Wales health guidelines around COVID safety.
So what we've done is we've increased our cleaning of our communal spaces, we've increased hand sanitisation stations and wipes. In our catered residence,
we've introduced a COVID Safety Monitor, staggered dining times and sign-in registers.
Question slide: Do you have advice for the parents whose children are planning to live in UOW student accommodation in 2021?
As a parent myself, I share the same concerns that you have. I have a daughter that's currently studying Year 12 doing her HSC, and I'm
nervous as well about her moving away from home. That's why I take a personal commitment to ensure that our sites provide our residents with
every opportunity to have academic success, wellbeing and provide pastoral care to our residents.
Question slide: Anything you’d like to let the students know Ellie?
University is so much more than just studying. It's also about making connections with other people. And at uni, regardless of if it's
online or in person, living on a residence, you can meet so many different people from all different walks of life. You'll be able to immerse yourself
in other people's cultures. You'll be able to learn about their food, and also their beliefs and perspectives. And it's honestly the best decision
I've ever made to live at Kooloobong.