THERE’S plenty happening on campus even before semester starts proper next week.
Melbourne University was a hive of activity as students, many first-years, made their way to Wilson Hall to attend the Clubs and Societies Expo taking place yesterday and today.
The expo kicked off at 11am yesterday, and by 11.30am, some 200 students were already hovering around the building entrance. Inside, another 400 students were squeezed, sometimes shoulder to shoulder – scouring for freebees, playing games and hopping from one booth to the next.
By lunchtime, first-year Australian-born-Chinese student Jane Chen had already signed up to three clubs – the Financial Management Association of Australia (FMAA) society, the Australasian Association (AA), and the Mahjong club – and was aiming to sign up for two or three more.
“I have a couple of friends in Melbourne but I haven’t seen them around much since I got here. I think joining clubs would be a good way to immerse myself more into the university culture,” she said.
A long way from home, the international students were especially keen to find a community to plug into.
Hordes of students were crowded around the Malaysians of Melbourne University (MoMU) booth. Almost 500 new students signed up to the club last year, and the club committee was expecting similar results this year.
“A very large proportion of the international community is made out of Malaysians, so MoMU is a chance for them to get together,” club president Jamie Kuang said.
“But we have some non-Malaysians signing up as well… we are open to anyone who may be interested to learn and appreciate more of the Malaysian culture.”
Flare Dance Ensemble also attracted a lot of attention from the international student crowd.
Michelle, a first-year accounting and finance student from Indonesia signed up to Flare Dance together with a friend, attracted by the club’s wide repertoire from ballet and jazz to hip-hop, urban, contemporary and ethnic dance.
With a background in ballet, Michelle had just begun exploring hip-hop.
“I want to learn hip-hop so when someone gave the brochure, I just decided to sign up for it,” she sad.
And as it turned out, new students weren’t the only ones signing up to clubs at the expo. A fourth-year Commerce student, Joel Bay took the opportunity to join the Singapore Students Society (SSS).
“I have a lot of Malaysian friends in Melbourne so I thought it might be a good idea to get to know more Singaporeans before I leave. There is also a lot of discounts so that’s why I joined,” he said.
The International Commerce Students Society experienced a slower start to the morning, but had picked up a lot more momentum by noon.
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