Volume 8 Number 6
June 11 - July 8 2012
This month, Voice looks at the Olympic Games, and celebrates the University’s Olympians.
Like academia, sport is an arena of awards and performance measurement. The association between education and athletic prowess is long-standing – even if Australian universities have not followed American practice, and made professional sporting teams the public face of their institution.
‘I dream of a university of which my football team can be proud’ is a famous, but unattributed, quote from an American college president.
Sport, it is often said, is part of developing the whole person. For many students, their involvement in sport on campus is an important and memorable part of time at university. The many sports clubs associated with the University of Melbourne are sustained by enthusiastic players, with associations that last long after graduation.
Among donors, support for athletes is a popular cause. The University is fortunate to offer a number of scholarships that help recipients link sporting commitments with study: scholarship holders train and receive physiotherapy at the University’s sports facilities as they compete at high-level events in their chosen sport.
University is a place of formal and informal learning, making possible many different areas of personal growth. The University and the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) work together to offer many, varied opportunities for students to get involved in clubs and societies, and to indulge their particular passions.
Of course, not everyone welcomes organised group activity – hence the importance of opportunities to instead enjoy the books and music on offer in the Union’s Rowden White Library.
The Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF), which has now been levied for the first time since 2005, supports this diverse range of extra-curricular activities.
This funding financially supports our students and their choices, regardless of which esoteric or niche club or society they join. Whether they are members of the cast and crew of a student musical, interested in African drumming, exploring Bhakti yoga, or learning to bake with the baking society Consistently Amazing Kitchen Endeavours (CAKE), the student union is keen to assist.
In addition to an incredibly varied program of events, clubs and societies, the student union is also responsible for a range of student advocacy and representation services. The SSAF funds support these and other student services, working to principles of contracts agreed between the University and the union. Decisions must be made by students as responsible adults, though with appropriate accountability and reporting.
Many students have their first experience of leadership in organised university activities. Clubs and societies, unions and sporting teams all help students on the journey to become active members of a broader community, and eventually global citizens.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish success to our staff and students, and those from the wider university community, taking part in the Olympics this year.