Dear Students, I hope you are keeping well. In following up from last week’s R U OK? Day, it’s important that you know about all the UOW support services available to you.
This time is incredibly challenging, so I encourage you to use or recommend to friends UOW’s free counselling services. These services are available to all international students, onshore students, and those who want a quick call or text chat to help them out. If you're not OK or know one of your peers is struggling, please reach out.
We need to get vaccinated to ensure we can once again enjoy long lunches with friends on the duckpond lawn, see a show at the UniBar and get back to in-person learning. We each have an important role to play, so please book your vaccine today if you can. Vaccines are now more readily available than ever before. Check with your local GP, community pharmacist or vaccination clinic and visit our vaccination information centre for any further questions you might have. As we’ve seen with ‘picnic day’, vaccines really are the road to more freedom.
If you are an onshore international student, you are also eligible for vaccination. Please book in as soon as possible. You don’t need a Medicare card to get the vaccine; all you need is an Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI) number, which will also be used to prove your vaccine status. The easiest way to get an IHI is through your MyGov account online, using these instructions. Once you have an IHI, you can book your vaccination online at nsw.gov.au. For assistance in your language, call 131 450, state the language you need and ask them to connect you to the NSW Health Vaccination Support Line.
As expected, UOW’s graduation ceremonies will be celebrated online again this year. Of course, our wish and plan were to hold in-person ceremonies, but we have had to pivot in the face of restrictions. The ceremonies will be live-streamed at 6pm on Thursday, 14 October. We’ll endeavor to include the elements of traditional graduation ceremonies that we know are important to our students. I’m especially excited to announce Kumi Taguchi, host of SBS’s Insight and alumna of UOW will host the event. And we will also have a special musical performance from Wollongong band, Hockey Dad. UOW students have been through a lot, and we hope this event will successfully recognise and celebrate the determination and achievements of our graduates. Students eligible to graduate from the 2020 and 2021 cohorts, please register or RSVP using your personal link in the email you received on September 8. We look forward to celebrating alongside you. More info on 2021 Graduations can be found here.
The Moon Festival is being celebrated on Tuesday, 21 September, and is the second most important festival in China after the Chinese New Year. If you are celebrating this occasion, I would like to wish you a blissful Moon Festival, and I hope you enjoy the festivities with your household. I invite all students to join in the fun through a virtual celebration or by trying your hand at making mooncakes!
Speaking of, it’s International Week this week and to celebrate UOW Pulse have some great activities lined up. I might be a bit late to the party, but take a look at the Facebook Event to see if any activities are still available!
Lastly, who has heard about #solidaritypancakes? There is something special about a stack of delicious pancakes, especially when they are in support of our health care workers and other frontline personnel. While pancakes won't solve the world's problems, it's the simple act of togetherness that can make a difference. #Solidaritypancakes encourage connection with our community. I encourage all of you to take a moment this week with your family or housemates and make your #SolidarityPancakes to give a huge shout out to our front line and essential workers. I'd love to see your pancakes, so make sure you share a photo on social media using #SolidarityPancakes and tag UOW.
Be kind to yourself and those around you. We’re all needing a bit of kindness right now.
All the best for your studies this week,