LA TROBE University students have celebrated Harmony Week and the arrival of 100 new international students, at one of the first on-campus events since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Harmony Week recognises Australia's cultural diversity and incorporates activities that celebrate the country's multiculturalism, inclusion, and respect of all people regardless of cultural or linguistic background.
South Asian Student Society president Liv Fenny said Harmony Day was about celebrating the "beauty of every different culture".
"To have an event or a day that celebrates harmony is good because it means you get to represent your own culture and learn about other cultures," she said.
The event at La Trobe included cultural dances and performances, and saw students dressed in traditional outfits and costumes from their respective cultures.
She said they were so happy to finally be able to have an event on campus again after having to do distance education due to the pandemic.
Bendigo campus director Dr Julie Rudner said Harmony Day was important because it was an acknowledgement of the importance of diversity and invitation for mutual respect and understanding.
She said while there was an adjustment to being back to in-person learning due to the pandemic, they were very happy to welcome 100 new international students onto Bendigo campus.
Ms Rudner said having international students from diverse backgrounds and multi-generational Australians enriched the classroom experience and created a diverse classroom and culture at the university.
She said that was significant because country areas usually had lower diversity compared to larger metropolitan areas, so by having a classroom with a varied cultural makeup, it gave students the same global education and exposure they would have if they travelled to another country.
Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world, and Bendigo was recently named as Australia's first welcoming city, demonstrating the city-wide commitment to cultural inclusion.
La Trobe University has committed to become a welcoming university, focusing on cultural inclusion for people from all backgrounds.
The colour of Harmony Week is orange because it signifies social communication, meaningful conversations, freedom of ideas, and encouragement of mutual respect.
Harmony Week continues until Sunday.
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