University of Sydney: Sydney Welcome Festival wins award

The Welcome Festival at the beginning of each semester is a traditional component of the University’s Welcome Program (previously called Orientation Week) for new and returning students. Hosted by the University of Sydney Union (USU), the three-day festival features USU clubs and societies that students can get involved with and a series of events for students to learn about campus life and build social connections.

In recognition of the outstanding experience delivered in in Semester 1 2022, the Student Experience Network (SEN) recently awarded the USU for Best Orientation Experience. The SEN is a co-operative with membership from universities, TAFEs, student unions, guilds and associations, campus sports associations, as well as smaller campus groups.

Vice-Chancellor and President Mark Scott congratulated the USU and thanked colleagues for their work to deliver a bigger and better welcome for students to life on campus.

“It was thanks to the professionalism, flexibility and perseverance of many colleagues that we were able to give many thousands of new students such an amazing introduction to university life after such a challenging couple of years.

“Congratulations to the USU for a highly successful Welcome Fest and thank you to all colleagues who worked to so hard to make our expanded Welcome Program happen – and who are already dreaming big for 2023!”

We were so pleased to be able to provide our students with the welcome they deserved in returning to student life on campus.
USU CEO Andrew Mills
Acknowledging the award, USU CEO Andrew Mills said:

“The USU was delighted to be recognised for the phenomenal cross-campus effort to deliver the best orientation experience in the country.

“We were so pleased to be able to provide our students with the welcome they deserved in returning to student life on campus. Thanks to our colleagues across the University who worked so hard with us to deliver such a successful event.”

Over the three festival days of Welcome Week for Semester 1 2022, an estimated 45,000 students attended campus. Anecdotal feedback from students, staff and the USU about the atmosphere, engagement and overall quality of the festival was extremely positive.

One student commented:

“This was one of the biggest Welcome Festivals I’ve ever seen. I’ve been to six festivals since I enrolled in 2017 and this one was one of the most sensational. The performance by Ocean Alley was one of those unforgettable Uni moments, I’m just glad I got to witness it. Loved it, was exactly what we needed and wanted after two years online.”

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Life) Professor Susanna Scarparo said the expanded Welcome Festival for Semester 1 was delivered through a close and productive partnership between the USU and the University.

“It is wonderful to see the judges highlight the collaboration between the USU and University teams as a key contributor to a successful orientation experience. Congratulations to USU and thank you to all involved in organising and delivering a highly successful Welcome Week program.”

Award citation
Comments from the judging panel said USU:

created a stronger relationship with their uni to support bigger, better outcomes for students than ever before
engaged in a bold and courageous action plan to create something outstanding, while still meeting lots of restrictive boundaries
and successfully created an engaging and meaningful campus experience for new and returning students.