Event organisers and ANU administration are working together to create a safe environment for attendees at this year’s Burgmann Toga Party. Consultations between the University and Burgmann organisers have focused on concerns about intoxication and gatecrashing.
Sammy Woodforde, Chair of last year’s Toga party and current Vice-President of the Burgmann Residents’ Association, told Woroni that the organisers worked with ANU to devise safety strategies, such as lockouts or pass-outs. Such safety measures are not enforced by Administration, but are recommended during yearly consultation meetings prior to the event. An internal review also occurs after the event that examines potential areas for improvement in organisation.
Richard Baker, Pro Vice Chancellor of Student Experience, said that whilst the University only places minor restrictions on campus events, it does have a duty to respect ACT laws. Therefore, the Toga party must remain an 18+ event given that alcohol is served. He also specified measures to deal with gatecrashing; attendees must be ANU students and Burgmann will impose a 10 pm lockout for the event.
Baker encouraged safe drinking at the event, saying “The University strongly supports the rights of students to drink responsibly, and strives to ensure a happy, healthy and safe environment for all students.” The ANU also has a duty of care to ensure that social events like Toga are safe for its students.
Safety measures notwithstanding, the Burgmann organisers also need to make significant alcohol sales as this money forms a substantial fraction of the party’s revenue, alongside ticket sales.
Yet, Woodforde maintained that revenue gathered during the party was not for the Burgmann Residents Association’s (BRA) profit but simply to cover the costs of an expensive event.
“As we err on the side of caution, this does often mean we make a small profit that is then reintegrated into the annual BRA budget to go towards sports, arts and social events,” she said.
Ultimately, the goal of the Toga party is to provide an event “where [students] can safely enjoy music and mingling.”
“We feel that the event improves in some way each year and we look forward to continuing the event into the future,” Woodforde said.
Baker told Woroni: “O-week is an exciting time at ANU, and a great time to welcome new students, many of who will be living away from home for the first time.”
In spite of the restrictions that were put in place, he clarified that “the University is a strong supporter of O-week student activities. O-week is a great time for students to socialise, particularly for new students who are getting to know the place for the first time.”