Biggest ever O-Week, most employable graduates and UNSW Football Club kicking goals – 20 February 2024

20 Feb 2024
VC at O-Week

Dear colleagues 

What an incredible start to the year, with UNSW’s biggest O-Week yet! More than 8700 students attended the awesome array of events staged around campus. Congratulations and thank you again to our friends at Arc and the hundreds of students and staff who volunteered to create yet another wonderful and welcoming O-Week.  

I had the chance to experience the activity and excitement as I walked around campus with O-Week coordinator Hattie Liang from Arc (pictured above), meeting new students and thanking some of the incredible volunteers running the many and varied stalls and events. The joy and energy on campus was invigorating, and always makes me feel positive about the future of our world. I particularly enjoyed learning the secret Yellow Shirt handshake and seeing if I still pull a reasonable score on the rowing machine. A huge thank you, too, to the Onboarding and Transition team and eveyone involved in welcoming our student community in 2024. 

UNSW named most employable university for the fifth year 

I am delighted to share that UNSW students top employability for fifth consecutive year at the 2024 Top100 Future Leaders Awards, with 37 UNSW students recognised as the most sought-after hires. It’s wonderful to see these students recognised for their professionalism and potential. It’s also a testament to our teaching, research and professional staff who bring their energy, commitment and expertise to work each day, dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for our students.

This result once again reflects UNSW’s focus on providing our students with a foundation of critical thinking and problem solving, coupled with work integrated learning experiences. This equips them with the skills they need to succeed beyond university regardless of where they go – even to jobs and careers that don’t currently exist.

Health and safety at UNSW 

The health and safety of students and staff is one of my top priorities. We want to create an environment that is as safe as possible so that everyone in our community can enjoy their experience at our University. Last year, UNSW established Safer Communities to enhance our approach to gendered violence, respect at work, psychosocial safety and staff wellbeing. Workshops and implementation of key strategies in relation to Safer Communities has begun. In addition, Salus, our new safety management system, was launched last year. I appreciate the time people have taken to proactively complete hazard incident reports in Salus, helping to identify and eliminate further hazards. 

Each and every one of us plays a vital role in ensuring UNSW is a safe and inclusive place to work, study and visit. I acknowledge the many students and staff who have assisted in key assurance activities over the past year and participated in wellbeing events, including UNSW Amazing Race, Micro Pause Workshop, Family Work Support Program and wellbeing webinars held by Black Dog Institute, Benestar, UniSuper and Uprise. Thank you to our Health and Safety team and for the dedicated efforts of students and staff across the University who have contributed to creating a safe and secure environment at UNSW. Read more in this edition of Inside UNSW.   


Last week I wrote to you about changes that have been introduced to make it simpler and easier for students, staff and the public to speak up about any concerns they might have.

The changes follow a review into the management of complaints and investigations at UNSW which identified several opportunities for improvement. As a result, UNSW’s complaints handling processes have been simplified. The new Complaints & Investigations Policy & Procedure consolidates one policy and six procedures related to the management of complaints and misconduct investigations. Find out more about what’s changed and how the changes apply to you.

In addition, a new SpeakUp Campaign has been launched to encourage students and staff to speak up when they see or experience something that doesn’t seem right, and to feel safe, listened to and supported when doing so.

New UNSW Finance Policy

I am also pleased to share that the new UNSW Finance Policy is now in effect. It replaces most of the existing related policies and procedures, excluding the Accounting Policy. The changes are the result of the University-wide Policy Transformation Program (PTP) to consolidate and simplify UNSW’s suite of policies. The PTP aims to reduce red tape and adopt a trust-based approach to decision-making in response to feedback received via the Insight survey and other consultation with staff. The new streamlined finance policy was created by UNSW Finance, in collaboration with the Strategic Projects and Operations Team (SPOT). Thank you to everyone involved. Read more in this issue of Inside UNSW

Happy Lunar New Year

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a Lunar New Year celebration with UNSW colleagues, students, researchers and industry partners and representatives of the Australian and Chinese governments. This year, the Year of the Dragon, is expected to be marked by innovation, wisdom and the pursuit of dreams, which couldn’t be more fitting. In fact, my O-Week introduction to new students encourages them to follow their dreams – to be curious and creative and to embrace new opportunities. I would like to wish everyone in the UNSW community a happy and prosperous Year of the Dragon!

Construction begins on Lang Walker AO Medical Research Building

Last Wednesday, I joined Premier Chris Minns, Minister for Health Ryan Park, Minister for Medical Research David Harris, and representatives from Walker Corporation, South Western Sydney Local Health District, Western Sydney University and the Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research for a special event marking the start of construction on the Lang Walker AO Medical Research Building – Macarthur. The building will bring together world-leading researchers and clinicians to help address some of the biggest health challenges facing the region. You can read more about the new building in this edition of Inside UNSW.

UNSW Football Club kicking goals

Above: Associate Professor Nicholas Apoifis, UNSW FC Board Member, Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs, Emilio Vinci, player and exercise physiology student, Jack McLoughlin, player and psychology student, and Neil Morris, UNSW Wellbeing Director. 

A huge congratulations to UNSW Football Club Men’s First Grade team on winning the Kennard Cup last week against Sydney University SFC and to the u20 Men’s team who claimed the Colosi Cup in their victory over Sydney University SFC on the same day! It was great to meet some of the players and congratulate them in person. 

Supporting staff to achieve their career goals

At UNSW, we are continually improving the way we support colleagues to achieve their career aspirations. The VC Carer’s Support Fund is one example of the wide range of support available. This fund aims to support HDR students balance work-life responsibilities. Read more about how star researcher and new mum Dr Alexandra Hogan used the fund to support her trip to Geneva with her seven-month-old son when she was appointed to the World Health Organization (WHO) Immunization and Vaccines Related Implementation Research Advisory Committee.

There’s even more to read Inside UNSW…

Best regards

Professor Attila Brungs
Vice-Chancellor and President