This trimester is special to me. I like university – the library and the people you run into on your way to a lecture. Hamilton has offered me something I never expected when I chose to enrol. But I’ve moved back home and will be studying at the Tauranga campus. A place shrouded by suits and corporate wannabes. I’ll commute over to Waikato twice a week to have the essence I write about so innumerably. Although I may not be present, something is amiss at Waikato campus. As Re-O’Week begins, I notice how untraditional we are in our campus-culture ways.
If you can’t read the back of every Waikato University hoodie, it’s been around since 1964. The WSU, your treasured orientation organisers, appeared in 1977. From the 60s, the campus ducks, questionable architecture and lecture theatres bustled with new growth. Kahurangi Cafe was once the campus cafeteria and our grandparents dressed better than we’d like to admit; but we are not our grandparents. Sure we may proclaim to be more ‘woke’ or more ‘progressive’ but there is something else that sets us apart. They had a far better socio-cultural community than we do.
When people say they wish they were born in another generation, there’s some validity there. My grandmother attended the University of Waikato in the 70s. Bell bottoms and ABBA weren’t the only cool things of her time. Social movements from the west took place on Victoria Street and challenged the status quo. Our Village Green was more palatable in the past. Our campus ducks were frequently fed and our ponds were fishing grounds. The Red Hot Chilli Peppers played at our former campus bar. We even had a McDonalds.
Re-O’Week isn’t what it used to be. In 2017, BurgerFuel dropped burgers out of a helicopter. In comparison, little to no students attended the usually acclaimed O’Week. Re-O’Week is no different. The likes of a pandemic shook us, sure. However, less students are attending events in-person. That means less experience to be shared and, as a result, our socio-cultural connection is breaking. This is hardly a recipe for community. In order to keep campus culture alive here are some simple rules to follow. Go to your lectures in person. Linger a little longer on the Village Green. Feed the ducks. Fish in the pond (or don’t, we’re not responsible for your food poisoning). Keep what little social connection we have and treasure it like whatever family heirloom you wear.
Also, in celebration of Re-O’Week we’ve reorientated the mag – get it… haha.