12 December, 2011

NCV Christmas Service

Some of the residents who attended

The 2011 NCV Christmas Service was held in the Main Common Room on Monday 12th December. This provided an opportunity for residents to gather and consider the meaning behind the Christmas season. The Master of New College and New College Village, Prof. Trevor Cairney, spoke on Luke 19:1-10, not a passage which people regularly associate with Christmas but one that speaks directly to the reason for Jesus’ earthly ministry . Trevor drew some important conclusions from the passage, challenging residents to look beyond the Christmas narrative and instead to consider the person of Jesus and the claims that he made.

The Master adds the star to the tree
During the service the Dean of NCV, Dr John Quinn, also gave some historical background to the traditions around Christmas time: the use of conifers as Christmas trees, the tradition of decorating trees with baubles and lights, and the origin of the term “carol” to describe Christmas songs. NCV’s always-able musicians led the residents in some well-known Christmas carols: “Silent Night”, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, “Once in Royal David’s City”, “O Holy Night”, “Joy To The World” and “O Come All Ye Faithful”. To finish the evening residents joined together in decorating the NCV Christmas Tree and enjoyed some traditional Christmas food: pannetone, Christmas cake, and fruit mince pies. Two residents, Tim Amos and Laura Sharpe brought along a most impressive gingerbread house which they had made to share. It was an impressive structure, and delicious, too! As always, the NCV Christmas Service was a great way to start the holiday season with the NCV family!

25 November, 2011

Thanksgiving at NCV

Some of the residents enjoying Thanksgiving

NCV is home to students from all over the world, including quite a few from the United States of America. At Thanksgiving time (25th November), a group of our residents (led by Melissa Duell and Michael Sturm) put together a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner for the NCV community. This was of great interest to the local residents, as Thanksgiving is not really celebrated in Australia. The dinner had all the Thanksgiving essentials: turkey, cranberry sauce, roast vegetables, sweet potato, pumpkin pie and apple pie. Pumpkin pie is a rarity in Australia, but once residents overcame their apprehensions they enjoyed a delicious treat.

Dr Quinn enjoying Thanksgiving
This was our second Thanksgiving dinner at NCV, with the event becoming something of a favorite on the NCV Social Calendar. As last year, Thanksgiving at NCV gave some fantastic glimpses into American culture – yet another benefit of living in a diverse and enriching community.

13 October, 2011

NCV Formal Dinner

Three times each year NCV residents gather for a Formal Dinner. These events involve a three course meal, a musical item (or two) and a speech on a topic of interest to a higher education community. The evenings typically go into the night as residents enjoy coffee and conservation, not to mention a photograph or two!

Professor Jane McAdam
At the last Formal Dinner for the year on 13th October 2011, the guest speaker was Professor Jane McAdam. Prof McAdam is a prominent Australian legal academic with research interests in international refugee law, international human rights law, forced migration, and displacement due to climate change. In addition to her duties at UNSW, Prof McAdam is also a consultant to the UNHCR on the international law aspects of climate-related displacement. She has also worked on a variety of projects for the European Union, Green Cross Australia, the Refugee Review Tribunal, Amnesty International and the Refugee Council of Australia. Having Prof McAdam speak to the NCV community at a time in Australian history when both climate change and asylum seeker policy were in the news was a great privilege.

Prof McAdam began her talk with some reflections on the importance of research and the benefits of pursuing a research career. She went on to talk about her own research, giving residents a window into some of the important and interesting questions around environmental refugees. The talk generated a lot of interest, prompting a number of questions from the floor and spirited after-dinner conversation.

At the dinner we were also fortunate to have resident Christopher Chen play the piano for us. Christopher is a graduate of the University of Melbourne and is currently completing postgrad studies in information technology at UNSW. On the night, Christopher demonstrated his considerable piano skills by playing the Edvard Grieg’s Sonata Op. 7, 2nd Movement.

19 August, 2011

NCV Music Night

Asst Dean Viv Shek on Cello
On Friday 19th August the NCV community gathered in NCV’s Main Common Room for the second Annual NCV Music Night. The evening was organized by the NCV Music Association which oversees the NCV Choir and NCV Chamber Orchestra.

To open the night we were treated to a medley of songs from Les Miserables, performed by the NCV Choir.  After this resident Armin Chitizadeh performed a piece called “Morning Bird” on a santour, a Persian instrument played by striking strings with very fine hammers.  You could see people all around the room craning their necks to catch a glimpse of this unfamiliar instrument and Armin’s elegant striking. 

Next up were residents Joni Mok and Serena Ma, who played a lovely piano duet arrangement of Mozart’s  “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”.  After this the evening switched (briefly) to contemporary music, with resident Kevin Phang playing three pieces on guitar (Andy McKee’s “Heather’s Song”, Tommy Emmanuel’s “Mombassa” and JZ Moolman’s “Jay’s Tap”).  Kevin is a completely home grown guitarist, having first picked up the instrument while a resident at NCV.  On top of this he also played a piece written by a former NCV resident in JZ Moolman. 

Following a short interval where residents enjoyed some drinks and nibbles, resident Hsuan Tan played two pieces on piano: Paul de Senneville’s “Triste Coeur” and “Tonight I Celebrate My Love For You” (by Michael Masser and Gerry Goffin).  Hsuan is a talented pianist who is currently undertaking a Master of Optometry.  Following Hsuan, Master of Design student Kay Chen gave a great recital of Bach’s Sonata 1035 in E minor on flute.  For her performance Kay was accompanied by Vivian Shek on piano.

Performers on the night

The next items were vocal.  Friend of NCV Steven Chikazawa sang his own composition called “Providence”, and was accompanied by his cousin Tino on guitar. After this resident Theresa Crossing sang the Rick Founds song 'Lord I lift your name on high', accompanied by Vivian Shek on piano. 

To finish off the evening, the NCV Music Association Chamber Orchestra played two Mozart pieces: "Oboe Quartet in F major, K.370 1st movement and Symphony No, 40 in G Minor, K550 1st movement.

At the end of the formalities many residents stayed on in the MCR, playing together, getting to know one another and generally having a good time.  A great night was had by all.

04 August, 2011

NCV Formal Dinner Aug 2011

Three times each year NCV residents gather for a Formal Dinner.  These events involve a three course meal, a musical item (or two) and a speech on a topic of interest to a higher education community. The evenings typically go into the night as residents enjoy coffee and conservation, not to mention a photograph or two! At NCV’s August Formal Dinner on the 4th August, the guest speaker was Mr Ton van Amerongen. 
Mr van Amerongen is currently the CEO of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre (SCEC), a position he has held since 1994.  In addition to his responsibilities at the SCEC, Ton is also a former director of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce and is an advisor to Business Events Sydney. He is also a founding director and the current treasurer of the Darling Harbour Business Association, and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

At the NCV Formal Dinner, Ton spoke about his extensive career in hotel management, which had taken him to cities all across the world. He also gave an overview of his current role as CEO of the Conference and Exhibition Centre, explaining the importance of the SCEC to Sydney and NSW. Ton encouraged residents to make the most of the NCV community’s cultural diversity, arguing that the ability to work with people of many and varied cultures would stand them in good stead for the future.

We were also fortunate to have resident Wayne Yang give a piano recital for us.  Wayne is one of the original members of NCV, having moved in when the building opened in 2009.  On the night, Wayne showed beautiful touch playing Mozart’s Variations on "Ah! Vous-dirai-je, Maman". It was a delightful performance.


22 July, 2011

2011 Harbour Cruise

Friday 22nd July (the end of Week One) saw NCV’s annual Annual Harbour Cruise, with over a hundred residents setting sail on the “Simply Magistic” for an evening of drinks and canapés.   

We did this differently to 2010 (where we had a sit-down meal), and the cocktail format seemed to work well.  Residents enjoyed a selection of satay sticks, samosas, mini quiches and other canapés, with beer, wine, soft drink and juice were also included in the ticket price. 

After enjoying the drinks and food, residents hit the dance floor and partied the night away.  


18 July, 2011

O'Weekend was a great success at NCV

At the start of each semester the NCV community welcomes its new residents with an O’Week program.  The aim of the O’Week program is to help students familiarize themselves with Sydney, the University, and, most importantly, the NCV community. For Semester Two 2011 an O’Weekend program was held from Friday 15th July – Sunday 17th July. The program included a Trivia Night, a day trip to Circular Quay and Manly, our Annual Cultural Night and an afternoon of sports at the University Gymnasium (indoor soccer and badminton). 
For the Trivia Night, residents were divided into teams alphabetically, and their knowledge of entertainment and pop culture, sport, music, history and geography was tested with a series of quiz questions.  As an example, residents were challenged to name seven South American capital cities, the three types of blade used in Olympic Fencing, and the first names of cycling’s Schleck brothers.  Residents’ aural skills were also tested, the challenge being to identify artists as diverse as Kate Bush, Moloko, The Jackson Five and Kelis with only a 10-20sec excerpt.

The day trip took students through the CBD to the popular tourist destination and transport hub of Circular Quay.  After a few snaps in front of the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, residents took the famous Manly Ferry to the beachside suburb of Manly, for a short walk and some hot chocolate.

The Cultural Night was a real highlight, with students showcasing their various cultures through food, dress, general info, and music.  Countries represented were Australia, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, The Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Sri Lanka.  A separate post on this event will appear soon. 

On the Sunday afternoon those residents keen on sports gathered for a game of indoor soccer and badminton at the University Gymnasium. This provided an opportunity both to meet NCV’s other keen sportspeople but also to check out some of the University’s sporting facilities. 


16 July, 2011

Cultural Night a Great Start to Semester

The NCV community is highly culturally diverse, with over 40 different nationalities represented.  At present there are residents from every continent, as well as from Pacific nations such as New Zealand and French Polynesia.  With such a diverse community, living at NCV provides a unique opportunity to meet people from many other places and learn about different cultures. 
As part of our Semester 2 O’Weekend, NCV hosted its Annual Cultural Night.  This event provided students with the opportunity to showcase their various cultures through food, dress, national symbols, general info, and music.  Countries represented at the 2011 Cultural Night were Australia, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, The Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Sri Lanka.  

A particular highlight was provided by those residents who donned their traditional dress for the evening.  To see residents in traditional costumes from India, Saudi Arabia, and Bangladesh highlighted the rich multicultural tapestry of the NCV community.



27 June, 2011

New Groups Building Community Life @ NCV

It has been a great thrill to see the development of a number of different groups at the NCV that have been initiated by residents with some shared interests. In recent months we have seen three new groups:
  • An NCV Choir
  • A Bollywood Dance group
  • The NCV Orchestra
Thank you to the initiators of these various activities and the enthusiasm of all who have helped to build these wonderful groups to enrich community life.

The NCV Choir

Bollywood Dance Group

 NCV Orchestra


31 May, 2011

NCV Community Photo 2010

Below is the NCV Community Photo for 2010. We took the photo on the 27th October. We chose 10.00am to take the shot and unfortunately this wasn't a time that suited some. We hope to get everyone in the photo in 2011. See who you can recognize.


NCV Community Photo 2009

Below is the photo that we took in the central courtyard in 2009 to have a record of some of the people who were living in the building at the time. We asked people to rise at 8.00am on the 19th May 2009 for the photo and served a pancake breakfast cooked on the NCV BBQs afterwards.  See how many people you still know.


30 May, 2011

NCV Public Lecture

On Monday  (18th April), historian Dr Chris Forbes from Macquarie University came to New College Village to give a public lecture on the topic “Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead”.

The event was open to anyone within the NCV and across the campus. It was attended by 70 people many of whom were Christian and some who were not. Dr Forbes drew on various sources to argue for the historicity of the resurrection. It was a fascinating and thought provoking evening for all in attendance.

15 May, 2011

Easter Choir Musical

On Saturday 18th April a group of NCV residents presented a special event for Easter, the inaugural 'NCV Easter Choir Musical'.  This event provided a retelling of the events around the first Easter using song and dramatic readings. 

The NCV Choir

A choir made up of 14 residents performed for about 40 people, with five members of the choir doubling up to perform dramatic readings as well. The residents rehearsed weekly for five weeks leading up to the event, providing an outlet for those residents with a vocal inclination.

Premilla's creations

As with all NCV events, food is always important, and afterward those attending and performing enjoyed a delicious supper prepared by John and Premilla.  Some intricately decorated chocolate cupcakes were on offer, along with toasty warm hot cross buns and chocolate Easter eggs. There was also plenty of delicious hot chocolate to go around, fresh off the stove!

Performing the Musical in the Main Common Room


03 May, 2011

NCV Formal Dinner

On the 7th April the NCV community gathered for the First Formal Dinner for 2011.  Formal Dinners are an important part of life at NCV, where the community hears from a distinguished person on a topic of interest to a higher education community.  In 2010 the speakers had been former UNSW Deputy Chancellor Dr Jessica Milner Davis, prominent Australian businessman Dr Ian Pollard and eminent UNSW physicist Prof. Michelle Simmons.  This time the invited speaker was Ms Anne Bunde-Birouste, UNSW public health academic and Founder of the Football United program for disadvantaged youth.

Anne is currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and a Master of Public Health from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis.  Anne’s research interests are in the areas of health promotion, social determinants of health, refugee health and post-conflict societies.

In addition to her academic responsibilities, Anne is also the Founder and Executive Director of Football United, a program which uses soccer to provide leadership development for youths and young adults in disadvantaged areas by training them as coaches and co-ordinators.  The work of Football United has previously been featured in the Sydney Morning Herald, on ABC Radio and on SBS Television.

As part of her presentation, Anne gave a fascinating insight into the genesis of the Football United Program, and showed a short video presentation about Football United’s participation in the 2010 Football for Hope Festival in South Africa (coinciding with the 2010 FIFA World Cup).  After Anne’s address, Mark Dixon, medicine student and NCV Senior Academic Tutor moved an excellent vote of thanks to Anne for sharing her infectious passion with the NCV community.

During the evening attendees were also able to hear a beautiful piano recital by resident Michelle Kwok.  Michelle is currently completing a combined degree in commerce and law at UNSW, but continues to play piano at a high level in addition to her studies.  At the dinner Michelle played Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9. No.2, and Prokofiev’s Prelude Op. 12 No. 7. After Michelle’s performance, one guest remarked “It’s wonderful to hear how great pieces like this are supposed to be played, rather the way amateurs like me tried to play them when we were learning the piano”.



25 April, 2011

Japan Fundraising Concert

The Japanese earthquake of the 11th March and the subsequent tsunami brought images of extraordinary destruction into living rooms all around the world.  Members of the NCV community were deeply shocked at the tragedy, with several residents having family and friends in affected areas. In response to the events of 11th March, NCV resident Elina Yasumoto kindly offered to perform a fundraising concert to raise money for the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

Elina is an accomplished pianist, having graduated previously from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and University of Melbourne Faculty of Music.  At the concert, which was held in the NCV Common Room on 28th March 2011, Elina performed Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor.

During the performance Phillip Shovk, who is a well known Australian pianist and a multiple prize winner at the Sydney International Piano Competition, accompanied Elina. Phillip played a piano transcription of the orchestral part of the concerto.  It was a wonderful privilege to enjoy music of this caliber here at NCV, and we are very grateful to Elina for initiating the event and to Phillip for giving of his time to support this worthy cause.  Residents dug deep into their pockets for the cause, with the concert raising almost $1,000 for victims of the earthquake and tsunami.

25 March, 2011


Seven times during the course of the year NCV residents gather in the courtyard for a BBQ cooked by the friendly Senior Residents.  The barbecues have become an institution, providing a regular opportunity to socialize over food in an otherwise self-catered environment.

Typical NCV BBQ fare includes marinated chicken thighs, pork or beef sausages and marinated steaks. Spinach and ricotta patties are available for vegetarian residents, and a selection of salads is also available.

On some occasions the barbecue has been combined with other events, such as a table tennis competition, some theatre sports or a games evening.

At our last BBQ on the 25th March, over 150 residents gathered to enjoy great free food and good company.

The NCV barbecue will continue to be an important regular NCV event into the future.


20 March, 2011

Our First PhD Graduate

I'm pleased to announce that while the NCV has only been open for just over two years, we have recently seen our first resident graduate with a PhD. Congratulations to Dr Laura Sharpe.  Laura was actually the first resident I welcomed when we opened the NCV for the first time on the 4th January 2009. It seems fitting that our first resident is also the first to graduate in the PhD program.

Above (L to R): Trevor Cairney (Master), Laura Sharpe, John Quinn (Dean)
Her thesis was in the broad field of Biochemistry and was titled 'Investigating the roles of Akt targets in cholesterol regulation and protein transport'.  Dr Sharpe is now working in the same laboratory as a Post Doctoral Fellow and continues to live at the New College Village.  We're very proud of Laura and congratulate her on this achievement. John Quinn and I were delighted to be part of the academic procession and to be on stage when she accepted her testamur.  Well done Laura.

19 February, 2011

Orientation Week 2011

In 2011 NCV ran its second O’Week program, with the aim of helping residents to settle in and get to know other people. The O’Week program was organized by the Dean and Senior Residents, and included a number of different events.

The week began with two tours of Sydney. On Saturday 19th February, students set off to the Sydney Fish Markets for some delicious lunch, and then went on a walking tour to “Explore Sydney, Its Stories and Secrets”.  The following day (Sunday 20th) saw students head down to Circular Quay to see the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, before taking a ferry across the Harbour to the famous Manly Beach for some ice cream.

On Monday 21st February, new residents were officially welcomed to NCV by the Master, Professor Trevor Cairney, and the Dean Dr John Quinn at a reception in the Main Common Room.  After the formalities, the students joined a supper crawl, moving from floor to floor of the NCV building to meet the Senior Resident team, enjoying a different snack on each floor and meeting other residents (both new and old) as well.

The NCV Building (Sydney City in Background)

For students it’s essential to know where and when to see a good film at a cheap price. For UNSW students and NCV residents the most common destination for this is the Ritz Cinema at The Spot in Randwick on Tuesday night.  So on the Tuesday of O’Week, residents gathered in the courtyard at 6 pm and headed off to the Ritz to see “The King’s Speech” at 7:10 pm. The Spot is also the place for food and dessert, so after the film residents stopped off to enjoy some coffee and cake.

On Wednesday 23rd February two events were held.  Firstly, The Dean hosted a “Research Student Mixer” between 6.30 and 7.30 pm on the Roof Top Terrace. The aim of this event was to introduce the research students to each other, helping to form links between residents embarking on research degrees. This was followed by the NCV Trivia Night (8-10pm), where residents competed alongside their floormates for trivia supremacy. Level 3 carried the day, pipping Level 6 by a single point, with Level 4 a single point further behind.

NCV Residents Enjoying Cocktails
Thursday 24th February saw residents hit some of the classy cocktail bars in the city, at NCV’s Inaugural 5-Star Hotel Crawl.  Destinations included the Shangri La’s Blu Bar on 36, the Opera Bar at the Sydney Opera House and the ECQ Bar at Quay Grand.  Residents enjoyed a quiet drink with great company and magnificent views.

On Friday 25th February the Senior Resident Team cooked up a delicious barbecue of steaks, chicken fillet, sausages and vegetarian patties.  This was followed by a night of theatre sports and other games, with residents able to find their inner thespian or harness their as-to-now undiscovered comedic genius.

Lawn Bowls
Saturday afternoon saw NCVers head to Kensington Bowling Club for a quiet afternoon of Lawn Bowls. After this interested folk gathered for the Local Church Services Introduction (at 5 pm), at which the Dean gave new residents some guidance in what to look for in a new church.  Residents also promoted their own congregations, and introduced some of the various ministry opportunities available within NCV. At 8 pm focus turned to the Roof Top Terrace for the Inaugural NCV Wine & Cheese Night.  Along with enjoying some delicious wine and cheese, residents also had the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of wine, ranking wines in order of price and identifying varietals.

The curtain came down on O’Week 2011 with a Sunday of sport.  Residents headed across to the University Gymnasium at 11 am for Badminton, basketball & Indoor Soccer. Once again, this was a great chance for residents to meet other sports-minded people, as well as check out some of the local sporting facilities.

Circular Quay at night