Dear students, it is my absolute pleasure to welcome you to Autumn Session 2022. I hope you have had a lovely summer break, full to the brim with fun, adventure, and some relaxation. And for students who have already started studying (like those in Trimester 1, and some of our graduate medicine and nursing students), I hope you’re off to a good start.
To those of you who don’t yet know me, my name is Patricia Davidson – or Trish for short – and I have the honour and privilege of being your Vice-Chancellor.
Welcoming you back in a big way!
Although most of you won’t begin classes until February 28, Orientation Week across all of our campuses is happening 21 – 25 February and is open to all students (new and continuing).
And in exciting news, UOW has partnered with Yours and Owls for our inaugural Campus Fest to welcome students back to campus – as part of Orientation Week. This Festival looks like loads of fun and a great way to get acquainted with campus life at UOW. There are plenty of events and activities to attend, including live music from Ziggy Ramo, Alex the Astronaut, Touch Sensitive and Montaigne. Take a look at the Campus Fest website to organise which events you’re keen to attend (note: some events require registration).
We also have a range of Orientation and Campus Fest activities happening across our regional and metro campuses – dates can be found on the Campus Fest website.
Safe return to campus
Of course, as we plan to welcome you back, I must note that we will continue to follow COVID-safe principles to mitigate risk. For this to work, we rely on you, our community, to work with us by following the guidance: Mask-up when necessary indoors, hand-sanitise, stay home if you feel sick and isolate as required. Most importantly, get vaccinated if you haven’t already, and book in your booster as soon as you are eligible. If, for whatever reason, you cannot or would prefer not to come on campus, we will continue offering many courses online.
In the state of NSW, 94% of all people aged 16 years and over have had a double dose of the vaccine – go us! Vaccines protect us and our health care system, which means our worst-case scenario, is not nearly as frightening as it once was. To say thanks for getting vaccinated and for all of your commitment to keeping our campuses safe over the past two years, UOW are offering fully vaccinated students a free 2022 UOW Pulse Perks Membership.
UOW Student Welcome Hub
The UOW Student Welcome Hub is here! You'll find it in Student Central and throughout campus with a series of pop-up centres. We hope these hubs serve as an accessible point of contact for some of your commonly asked questions.
And for students studying at our regional and metro campuses, you can visit your local campus reception for service and advice.
Regardless of location, our staff are always happy to help you navigate uni and answer your questions.
Wollongong campus health and medical service
In more news for our Wollongong campus, UOW is excited to partner with Grand Pacific Health (GPH) to provide our community with affordable health services, including bulk billing for students. GPH is a not for profit, primary health care organisation - providing high-quality services in physical health, mental health, youth health, Aboriginal health, and chronic disease management. This UOW and GPH partnership will further integrate UOW's existing student services, including Student Mental Health Services and Student Support Advice. In time, the service will also include a full-time Aboriginal Health Worker. More information on the opening of our Grand Pacific Health service will be shared in the coming weeks.
Everyone is welcome here
I would like to acknowledge the distress some of you may have felt in recent weeks, with media and political dialogue about the Religious Discrimination Bill. Please see our official UOW statement hereSTATEMENT: Statement of support for gender, sex, sexuality diverse and religious communities. I personally want to reiterate that every student and staff member at UOW has the right to a safe, healthy, and respectful environment to work and study, regardless of religion, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, disability, or other personal attributes. I am personally committed to upholding this right for all.
If you need help, please reach out:
- For students within Australia, you can contact the UOW 24hr Student Wellbeing Support Line: 1300 046 139
- For students overseas: you can contact Lifeworks for confidential, free counselling and wellbeing services in your language. You can find their global telephone directory here.
- QLife – National LGBTI Telephone Counselling and Information Line: 1800 184 527
I wanted to send a quick shout-out to UOW student Emily Arthur who competed in the Snowboard Women’s Halfpipe in the Beijing Winter Olympics last week. A big congratulations to Emily for this incredible achievement!
And to all of our new and returning students, I wish you all the best for 2022. We are thrilled to have you back on our campuses! I will also ask for your help and support as we navigate the choppy waters of living in a pandemic. I want to assure you that your safety and welfare is our highest priority.
Be safe, healthy, happy and have fun.
My warmest welcome,