01 November 2013

Programs Review

We all get involved in the University of Sydney Union community for different reasons. For some it was finding your niche in that club you joined at OWeek, for others it was a party or festival during Semester that caught your eye. The USU’s Programs Department is responsible for the wide gamut of parties, festivals, and events which make up such a large part of our contribution to this vibrant student experience. Earlier this Semester, Robby Magyar and I compiled a review for Board on the scope and activities of the Programs Department, with a view to providing the most dynamic and diverse programs offering possible in 2014.

We began with a quantitative analysis of the performance of the Programs Department activities for the period January 2012 – July 2013. Here is an insight into what we found:

  • The USU ran a total of 261 events in this period, which were attended by 30,954 people. Another way to think about this is that the USU ran events on more than 7 of every 10 days in 2012.
  • Of the five largest events in this period, four were during OWeek.
  • During Semester, many of our most successful events involve partnerships with our diverse and active Clubs and Societies Program.
  • Attendance rates at our events are, on average, 130% of our projected event attendance (with the average event being attended by 119 students).
  • The events that we run come in all shapes and sizes – with 30 performance events, 16 art events, 12 lecture events and 12 parties run by the Programs Department in this period. We were incredibly proud of the diverse event offerings coordinated by the USU in this period.
  • The USU ran 87 events in this period (or one third of all events) intended to build a community of International Students on campus. These events include a weekly film screening and pool competition, as well as an Australian Discussion Group where International Students from non-English speaking backgrounds are invited to socialise and practice their English language skills.

There are some things that you should look for coming out of this review, that hopefully will expand and diversify the programs offerings:

  • We hope to offer renewed International, Interfaith and Indigenous programs, that will coordinate more regular events under these programs throughout semester.
  • We are hoping too coordinate some new initiatives as well, around health and wellbeing, and sex and consent.
  • We are looking into ways to run more consistent events at the start of Semester – so you can build on the networks and connections you make at OWeek.
  • We are currently consulting with students and clubs and societies about how we can expand and diversify our Programs offerings for Postgraduate students in 2014.
  • We are looking to integrate more events for queer- and female-identifying students into our regular festival lineup in 2014.

We would love your input on which direction you would like to see us take your student programs in 2014. Please don’t hesitate to email me at t.matthews@usu.usyd.edu.au with your thoughts!

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