Friday, 24 February 2017 1:37pm
Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne at the toga party with students from Hayward College. Photo: Sharron Bennett.
It may not be officially over, but Orientation Week 2017 has already been officially declared a success.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says Orientation Week has provided a “fantastic foundation” for the academic year ahead.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the way we welcome our new and returning students to campus each year – this year is no exception.
“We want our students to get involved and make memories that will last a lifetime while they are here at Otago. It’s easy to imagine that after a week like this, Orientation will feature widely in those memories.
“Our staff, the OUSA, and countless volunteers have come together to showcase Otago at its best this week and I believe they have outdone themselves,” Professor Hayne says.
O-Week activities officially commenced on Monday with the third annual Convocation ceremony held at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Nearly 4,000 first-year students listened as Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy offered words of inspiration and Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne officially welcomed the students to Otago. Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, OUSA President Hugh Baird, Ngai Tahu kāumatua Edward Ellison and University Chancellor John Ward also spoke at the event.
"We want our students to get involved and make memories that will last a lifetime while they are here at Otago. It’s easy to imagine that after a week like this, Orientation will feature widely in those memories."
Logan Park was the site of Sports Day on Tuesday as students from the residential colleges, the Locals programme, and Uni Flats battled it out in friendly competition. Organised primarily by UniPol staff, the event has been running annually for the past 19 years and has only twice been cancelled due to weather. As is tradition, University senior staff were on hand to serve up a sausage sizzle for the crowds of students and volunteers.
As the sun blazed into the evening on Tuesday, first-year students donned all manner of bedding for the annual OUSA Toga Party - most wore traditional white, while others opted to buck tradition in dusty greys, blushing beige and even lavender florals.
Students arriving at the stadium were greeted by one of the largest crews of Are You OK? volunteers ever. The student-led volunteer group was joined by staff from several of the residential colleges, Campus Watch, local police, representatives from the Proctor’s Office and the Clocktower in helping to ensure the nearly 3,500 students had a fun and safe toga experience.
New international students filled St David Lecture Theatre for the International Students Welcome on Wednesday morning. The Office of Māori Development’s Mark Brunton and representatives from the International Support Team joined the Vice-Chancellor and Mayor Dave Cull in welcoming the students to Otago and to Dunedin. The students were then treated to an Expo showcasing many of Otago’s international services and organisations.
Thursday evening saw Castle 1 Lecture Theatre filled with music as Otago Pacificana: Pacific Students Choir and Performing Arts Group helped to welcome Pacific Islands students to the University. Over 300 people attended the event which also included scholarship presentations to top students from each division.
Throughout the week, students from several residential colleges took part in volunteer activities benefiting dozens of community organisations across Dunedin. Nearly 800 students put in over 2,000 volunteer hours helping out at op shops, clearing weeds, tidying school play areas, pinning poppies, painting and other projects organised with the assistance of the University Volunteer Centre.
As the week draws to a close, Proctor Dave Scott says he is pleased with how the week has gone.
“The majority of students have been making the most of O-Week in a safe and respectful manner. It’s great to see the year starting off on the right foot.”
Check out our photo gallery below to see just some of the highlights from Orientation Week 2017 so far: