ORIENTATION week for La Trobe University Bendigo students will start today, with lots of activities planned to kick-start the year.
Students will be officially welcomed today by City of Greater Bendigo mayor Lisa Ruffell, the president of the Bendigo Student Association John Traynor and Director of La Trobe University Bendigo campus Andrew Skewes at an event at the university.
O-Week starts today and runs until Friday, and students will participate in activities including campus and library tours, essay writing and referencing tutorials as well as meeting their lecturers and course co-ordinators.
The Bendigo Student Association (BSA) has also organised events, including a mystery bus tour, free O-Week lunches and performances by musician Drapht and hypnotist Bill Wheeler.
BSA clubs and events manager Jenelle Holmberg said O-Week gave students the opportunity to socialise with new people.
“When you have got new students who might be first in their family to go to university or are not from Bendigo it is important that they have every opportunity to make friends and establish a network,” she said.
Director of La Trobe University Bendigo campus Andrew Skewes said the university was quickly becoming a leading regional higher education hub.
Mr Skewes said under the university’s strategic plan the student population at the campus was expected to grow to about 7000 by 2017 and this year there were almost 5000 students enrolled in courses.
“I have been working here since 2009 and have seen a steady growth in the number of students taking up courses,” he said.
“There has been around a five to six per cent growth, which is extremely positive.”
Mr Skewes attributed the growth to the university’s desire to become more unique and innovative in the programs it offers.
He said the university attracted students from all over Australia due to its decision to offer programs that are not run at other universities.
“We are a serious university in a terrific city and I think people are starting to realise that we are very accessible.”
Mr Skewes said about 30 per cent of the student body were mature aged students and while last year there were 30 indigenous students he hoped for an increase this year.
He said dentistry, pharmacy and paramedics had been the most popular degrees, which was reflected in the high ATAR score required to get into these courses.
For a full list of O-Week events, visit www.latrobe.edu.au/students/new-students/orientation