30 June, 2009

Holiday activities

Many residents of New College Village now have a short 3 week winter break. Some will go home, some will travel and some will stay at NCV and explore Sydney. This week's NCV news has lots of ideas for outings in Sydney - a Manly Ferry ride, Featherdale Wildlife Park, a day trip to the Blue Mountains, one of the many coastal walks (within walking distance!), day trips to the Hunter Valley Wineries, a few days in the Snowy Mountains skiing (the snow is good). Here are a few pictures of one group's outing at Easter during the Mid-session break. They went to the Royal Easter Show that takes place for 3 weeks every Easter holidays. Photos courtesy of one of our residents Wangari Muchiri.


20 June, 2009

Meet our residential team

New College Village is a community not just a building. We have 315 residents (actually we have 322 because there are six married couples in the building including Carmen and me). Central to the way the community is built and sustained is our residential team consisting of 6 Senior Residents, 1 Residential Tutor, a live in Dean (that's me this year) and a team of 6 academic tutors (I'll do a separate post on this group later).

The residential team is spread throughout the building. Our six senior residents live on separate floors (2-7) and a residential tutor lives on the smaller first floor (as do Carmen I). The residential team has a vital role at NCV. They work in four main areas:
  • They serve as after hours duty officers to handle problems that arise, allow access to visitors and deal with residential matters
  • They spend time geting to know all residents on their floor so that they can offer personal and academic advice when necessary.
  • They encourage social activities by hosting weekly suppers, planning other events and working with the Dean to plan NCV wide activities.
  • They act as a vital link between the Master/Dean and the residents, communicating issues that need to be addressed and informing residents about NCV news and events.
The team is made up of seven people plus Carmen and me. The team members come from varied countries and are pursuing varied courses of study. They are an important part of our work at NCV in maintaining a strong, vibrant and suportive community.

Residential team: Shelley, Sheau Fang, Arun, David (front row), Bala, Kanya, Trevor (middle row), Kirti (back).


09 June, 2009

Performing for the kids!

On Saturday night about 70 residents of NCV enjoyed a wonderful night of concert entertainment in the Main Common Room - and we were the entertainment. The night had been organised by NCV resident Yuchan Chew who was personally challenged to raise funds for the Sydney Children's Hospital as part of its annual Gold Week fundraising activities. Each year the hospital's foundation has a major week of fundraising that involves the whole community.

Yuxuan with the support of her Senior Resident on the 7th floor (Kanya Ittinitiwut) decided to organise a concert and encourage all NCV residents to get behind behind it. As part of her fundraising Yuxuan and a group of other volunteers:
  • sold tickets to the concert
  • sold merchandise to residents in the building and on campus
  • sought cash coin donations on campus
  • encouraged people to make larger donations
One of the attractions of the idea of the concert was that it was also an opportunity to do some community building as we rehearsed items and entertained each other on the night. And entertain each other we did!

There were about 20 items that included:
  • a variety of vocal items (groups, duets, solos with and without instruments)
  • a musical comedy item from the Master (me) and Carmen (my wife)
  • a card throwing act
  • some rap dancing
  • guitar items
  • digital computer generated music
  • piano recitals
  • Chinese whistle blowing
  • a presentation on the Sydney Children's Hospital by Yuxuan
The audience cheered enthusiastically each item and demanded encores from some (Kelly's love songs were a big hit!).

The night had some wonderful moments including members of the audience joining soloists when they struggled to remember the words. Another enjoyable part of the evening was some group drawing that involved the audience being invited on arrival to choose a blank cut-out of a child and to add the details of someone who you'd like to see as a child.

This was a great night that raised almost $1,000 and did a lot for community building. People are still talking about some of the memorable items.

Residents shouldn't miss the next one!


01 June, 2009

Community life at the NCV

Now that the NCV is in full operation we have been able to turn most of our attention to the building of a strong, vibrant and supportive community. Here are a few highlights of what happened last week and what will happen this week.

Monday Supper

As usual supper took place on every floor of the NCV on Monday night 25th May from 9.00pm-10.00pm. Every week the Senior Residents on each floor host supper. Food is provided by the NCV and SRs share weekly news of events in the life of the building. This is a great time for people to catch up and have as break from study.

NCV Research Seminar

Last Thursday evening (28th May) we heard from Professor Joe Wolf who spoke about his reasons for leaving a quest to become a professional musician to become instead an academic researcher and teacher working on the acoustics of the ear, the vocal tract and musical instruments. His work also covers information processing in auditory signals and cellular thermodynamics. Professor Wolf is well known on campus not just for his research but because of his reputation as a teacher.

Postgraduate Review Night

On Thursday evening our Research Seminar was followed by a seminar for research students that aimed to offer them a practice run at their mid year review. Professor Cairney acted as Chair and offered a critique of each presentation. The audience also gave verbal and written feedback. The diverse topics included the impact of landscape architecture on patients at four key hospitals, the impact of background music on the effectiveness of people's work, the role of political film in West and East Bengal, and the reasons for failure in second year university chemistry.

NCV Barbeque

On Friday evening (29th May) 250 residents turned up in the Central Courtyard for our 6 weekly BBQ. As usual the Senior Residents, the Master and Carmen cooked and the residents ate, talked and had a good time.

NCV Church Service

On Monday evening (1st June) 30 people gathered for the first NCV Church service. This was an encouraging night in which 6 residents played various parts, the Master lead the service, residents lead the music, prayed and read the Bible and Ben Gooley (Unichurch) preached from 1 Thessalonians.

NCV Soccer challenge

On Wednesday night (3rd June) the NCV is playing New College in our first major sporting challenge. This friendly match will determine who has bragging rights in football (soccer).

Sydney Children's Hospital Gold Night Concert

On Saturday evening (6th June) residents will come together for a night of entertainment. Each floor will provide varied entertainment and all proceeds from the night will go towards the annual Children's Hospital Gold Week appeal.