Beyond academics - the other side of uni life
There’s so much more to life at uni than books and classes. Research reveals that students who have interests outside their studies actually do better than those that don’t – it helps balance stress, develops creative thinking, builds communications skills, supports positive mental wellbeing and helps you make new friends and connections.
But what is involved in the ‘other side’ of uni life? We spoke to the Manager of Student Enrichment at ACU about what you can do outside the lecture theatre.
What activities can you get involved with outside of class?
ACU has a range of different events and activities – ranging from formal to casual, one-off to ongoing. For example, you can sign up for weekly guitar or language lessons or get involved in cross-campus clubs like Toastmasters (public speaking practice). There is also a range of competitions in creative and performing arts, photography, debating and oratory – many of which offer cash prizes.
If you’re into sport and fitness, you’ll love your time on campus. Our Sport Gyms are the perfect place to work out your body, clear your mind and get some extra endorphins. If you’re more of a social butterfly, you can sign yourself up to a social sport competition at lunch times. It’s a wonderful way to make some friends and boost your wellbeing.
Our team at Campus Ministry are here for anyone who wants to explore their faith. Campus Ministry run a range of activities – and are always available to offer support. You can access small and large gatherings, choir, social events, awareness days, professional networking opportunities, as well a friendly space to hang out and meet new people. Campus Ministry also facilitate daily Mass in our chapels.
What kinds of events are held on campus for students?
The Student Enrichment team hold events throughout the semester. All new students should attend Orientation, which is designed to introduce you to life at uni. After you’ve commenced your studies, Market Day will showcase opportunities available to you including student services, campus clubs and societies, and partner organisations.
Throughout the year, you can go along to campus events such as Harmony Day, Cultural Celebration, RUOK? Day, Healthy Cooking demonstrations, as well as periodic Stress Less days. You can also go along to non-recent school leaver (or mature age) student get-togethers, and events to provide you with information about ACU competitions and services. Our events include a mixture of food, giveaways, music and performances. All our competitions are open to student audiences and we encourage everyone to come along and see their friends perform, compete or display their artwork.
Student Associations run social events such as movie nights, pizza get-togethers and lunchtime barbecues. Student clubs and societies hold events and meetings based around specific areas of interest.
What are some examples of clubs and societies?
There’s a huge range of clubs and societies on campus. Students can start and run their own clubs, so you’ll always find something you’re interested in. We have student-run societies based on study area – such as education, nursing, law, midwifery, business, physiotherapy, social work, paramedicine and more. These clubs often offer personal development, guest speakers and professional affiliations as well as networking and social activities as part of their membership, so they are great for students studying a relevant degree.
There are clubs based on interest, such as politics, culture, social justice, chess, and creative arts, which allow people to further explore specific interests, network with like-minded individuals or discover something new. There are clubs for different types of students – for example mature aged students can come together to network with others. And international student clubs can help students engage with others who are studying away from home.
What about sports clubs? From cheerleading to volleyball, outdoors to ultimate frisbee, and even esports, there are heaps of sports clubs for you to join whether you’ve been playing all your life or are looking to try something new. Each campus is different so make sure to ask an ACU Sport staff member what’s available, and if you’re missing your favourite sport, you can always start your own club.
Finally, we have a range of faith-based (not necessarily Catholic or Christian) clubs – where interested students can gather to share their beliefs.
What is a Student Association?
The Student Association represents students at their campus in several different forums including ACUNSA (the ACU National Student Association) and local campus committees. They work with the Student Enrichment team, organising activities such as ACU Games.
Participating in the Student Association is a fantastic opportunity to get some experience in things like leadership, event organisation and marketing while you’re still a student – skills that will always come in handy regardless of your career choices. Your Student Association are the group to approach if you have a great idea for your local campus (we have students to thank for the compost bin at the Ballarat Campus and a permanent barbecue facility in the works at Strathfield). They run fun activities for students, such as lunchtime barbecues, pancake mornings, movie nights, trivia, welcome events for new students during O-Week, and yearly harbour cruises and balls.
Finally, the Student Association organises merchandise such as branded hoodies for students to purchase – these are great to help you keep warm all winter.
What support services does ACU offer?
AskACU are your first point of contact for all questions related to your studies. They can provide information around admissions, enrolment, courses, timetables, fees and more.
When it comes to support, we’ve got that covered too. We offer support services for any challenges you might experience while at uni – whether it’s related to your study or personal life. Counselling, disability support, academic skills support, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples support and career development services are all readily available. And of course, Campus Ministry always have their door open when you need to talk.
ACU offers a student advocacy service, which is designed to provide impartial support and help you navigate university policy and procedures, and free legal advice is also available. There’s a range of scholarships which can help out with fees and overseas study, as well as a range of discounts and benefits open only to ACU students.
Are there work or volunteering opportunities while I’m on campus?
When you study with us, you’ll have ample opportunity to do professional placements, find paid work while you study, and engage in meaningful community service.
We have everything you need to develop your skills so you can graduate with a foot already in the door. We offer a range of student jobs on campus – which are paid roles that are designed to be flexible, so you can work around your study. We also have a career development service (designed to support you while you’re a student and after you graduate) and offer a huge range of community engagement opportunities.
There are so many ways to get involved and represent the University with ACU Sport. If you’re not one for competition, you can still jump on board and have fun. Are you a coach? An umpire? Maybe you’re an amazing photographer? Why not consider spreading the word as a Sports Ambassador or support a sport club as a member of the executive? There are heaps of exciting opportunities to volunteer with sport including special events such as Open Days, O-Week, and our Leading with Impact programs. So, don’t be afraid to reach out to a Student Enrichment staff member on your campus to find out more about the many opportunities available.
Dreaming of uni life? Find out more about studying at ACU.