“I’m sorry but… the 1000 packets of jellybeans we ordered for the show bags? Yeah… someone accidentally sent them to Tasmania.” I sighed, and looked out of the glass windows down onto Union Court. A giant white marquee was making quite a statement at its centre, honouring this year’s theme, ‘Under the Big Top’. This was Friday, three days before Bush Week 2014.

Jellybeans have caused drama in ANUSA before, and here they were yet again, heightening blood pressure in an already stressful day. Lollies were just one of the little hiccups we faced in the planning and execution of Bush Week 2014, which I can happily say were two months of smooth sailing, for the most part.

Nevertheless, on this day I felt a smile coming along as I walked downstairs,entered the ‘Big Top’ and saw an army of volunteers enthusiastically packing the sequels to the hugely popular O-Week show bags. They contained a whole ton of freebies including pens, coffee vouchers and packets of tempura seaweed that were surprisingly tasty. It is truly the people who make the difference in any situation and in this case, it was the volunteers who helped us mobilize our efforts in overcoming the inevitable setbacks, however big or small, and ultimately helped us pull off a successful Bush Week.

On Monday the 21st of July, the blanket of silence we experienced during the Winter Break was shattered by laughter and excitement in Union Court as the ANU resumed session. The Bush Week team, consisting of the ANUSA Social Officer Henry Ladd, Bush Week Directors Imogen Blanch, Daniel Wall, Myles Holcombe. myself and a large number of volunteers went full throttle, firing up the barbecues, setting up music, tables, couches and a movie projector inside the marquee. The ambience was excellent. We wanted to add a fresh spin to the traditional ‘sausage and veggie patty’ sizzle so throughout the week we handed out tasty treats such as sweet chilli chicken noodles, beef rolls, muffins, burritos and fresh popcorn to satisfy hundreds of eager tummies.

Monday evening, Meche nightclub, decorated in red and white for the ANUSA ‘Carnival Kick Off Party’ opened to a steady stream of arrivals, keen to warm up for a lively night. ANUSA President Cam Wilson swapped traditional greetings of attendees for a rather impressive routine of body rolls, twerking and breakdance moves; a presentation deemed a hit with the international students who had soon formed a circle around him. The cacophony of cheers, and enthusiasm created a precedent for a jam-packed, and fun-filled night.

Tuesday presented a number of exciting events, such as the ever-popular Queer Collective’s Champagne Breakfast, in addition to the Women’s Collective Comedy

Wednesday’s Market Day marked the midpoint of the week, where ANU Clubs and Societies, along with external organisations, enticed students with a range of engaging causes and opportunities. The ‘Freakshow’ that evening was a personal favourite of the week, attracting a number of outstanding acts. The talent show comprised of magic tricks, vigorous break-dancers and talented singer-songwriters (imagine someone singing about kebabs in Yarralumla to the tune of Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley) . Ultimately, the winning act was ‘Fudge Factor’, who utilised their eclectic sound to secure the $500 first prize.

Thursday allowed those who wanted to have a quiet evening the opportunity to relax with friends inside the ‘Marquee Bar’, which extended into a board games night after sunset. Friday evening’s ‘Vaudeville Ball’ held at the Yarralumla Woolshed was an appropriate closing event to an eventful week, consisting of exuberant partygoers in spectacular costumes dancing to the bangers mixed by DJs HUDAK and BaldWin.

In retrospect, it was truly interesting to see such a prominent part of the university calendar from the flip-side. Furthermore, it is impressive to see our student body get involved the way the volunteers did to make this a success. I’m incredibly glad that I was a part of the Bush Week team. It is not everyday you can come home smelling of spinach and garlic and be completely satisfied with yourself.

 

Photography by Em Roberts