O-Week 2021, “Chronicle”, reignited campus. Over the last week, ANU has been repopulated by undergraduate students as the first major on-campus event since March last year was held. As usual, ANUSA has been the main organising body for the week, marking the first large-scale, on-campus event – and challenge – for the new executive.
O-Week was filled with a range of events, allowing new students to familiarise themselves with the campus and their peers, and reacquainting returning students with the university. These events ranged from morning yoga, to club nights across Canberra. While much of O-Week was open to all students, some events – such as the ‘Queer* Soiree’ and the ‘Women’s Department Zoom Games Night’ – were autonomous, allowing students from these communities to meet in safe spaces.
In a radical change from previous years, a portion of the week took place online. While not explicitly stated in the “Chronicle” advertising, it can be assumed that this change is a reflection of the massive changes the University has undergone in the wake of Covid-19. These online events, such as the ‘Zoom Chai and Chats’, provided a way for students who remain overseas or interstate to participate in O-Week, as well as providing a socially distanced alternative to in-person activities.
Unfortunately, however, “Chronicle” did not go off without a hitch. Market Day, usually one of the busiest and most important O-Week events, drew in significant criticism this year. While events such as Market Day have previously not been ticketed, this year circumstances forced limited availability for tickets. This left many students unable to attend, as they were not able to procure tickets in time. Additionally, while there was an advertised ‘quiet hour’, students complained that this was only a 30 minute spot early in the morning, arguing that this was not inclusive or adequate. On Schmidtposting, students cited poor planning and management as the crux of these issues.
Moreover, Friday Night Party, usually the ticket item of O-Week, did not take its usual form this year and was instead replaced by a Friday Night Festival in Manning Clarke Hall.