Warm welcome back, Australia Day Honours and Societal Impact survey – 7 February 2024

07 Feb 2024
2024 Welcome to Country

Dear colleagues 

O-Week is one of my favourite times of year as the campus comes alive with activity and excitement. Walking around campus, meeting the students and soaking up the vibrant atmosphere is always a highlight. Another highlight is the Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony that has become an integral part of our O-Week program to mark the beginning of term.

On Monday, I spent a wonderful afternoon wandering around campus talking to new students and the awesome individuals running all the stalls and events. Despite the heat and humidity, the campus was alive all day. The rowing club even managed to convince a continuous line of new students to test themselves on the rowing machine! (They had lots of water available). I’m looking forward to exploring the stalls and activity along University Mall and the rest of campus over the coming days. Thank you and congratulations to all the incredible students and staff who have volunteered their time to create such a welcoming and memorable O-Week. 

A great range of events and offers has also been organised to welcome staff back to campus. I hope to meet many of you at these events – including the always popular sausage sizzle!

Martyrs’ Day ceremony

Above: Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs and Dr S Janakiraman place garlands on the bust of Gandhi. 

Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of hosting Dr S Janakiraman, India’s Consul General in Sydney, at UNSW to mark Martyrs’ Day. During a ceremony on the Library Lawn, I joined the Consul General, along with Rishabh Patel, President of the UNSW Indian Society, to place floral garlands on the bronze bust of Mahatma Gandhi, commemorating the anniversary of Gandhi’s death and his human rights legacy. The bust was a gift from the Government of India to the people of New South Wales and UNSW. It reflects UNSW’s deep ties with India and provides a constant reminder of Gandhi’s commitment to humanity and the importance of education in shaping a better world.

Middle East – supporting students and staff

I would again like to acknowledge the ongoing and significant impact the loss of life and human suffering in the Middle East is having on many in our UNSW community. 

Over summer there have continued to be many examples where the characteristic kindness and empathy of the UNSW community has come to the fore to support those who have been impacted. With the commencement of the new academic year, I would like to thank those offering support and remind everyone of the importance of behaving in a respectful, considerate manner towards our peers and colleagues at this time, and always.

As I have said many times before, safety is one of my top priorities, and one we are all responsible for ensuring. At UNSW, we want our campuses to be places where students and staff feel supported, valued and respected. We do not accept racism, hate speech or inciteful behaviour. 

Visit SpeakUp for more information.

Australia Day Honours

Congratulations to the members of the UNSW community who have been acknowledged in the Australia Day Honours List 2024, in recognition of their outstanding achievements and contributions across a broad range of fields. The recipients have shown extraordinary dedication to improving the lives of others and are exemplars of the impact of higher education. Read more about their contributions and achievements on the UNSW Newsroom.

Seeking your insights on Societal Impact

As I have mentioned in previous messages, we are developing the University’s first Societal Impact Framework to determine the areas where UNSW can have the greatest impact on society and help us focus our efforts for maximum effect. Everyone in the UNSW community contributes to our societal impact, and we’d love to learn from your expertise as we develop the framework. I encourage you to share your thoughts via the online Societal Impact Framework Survey. More information can be found in this edition of Inside UNSW

UNSW’s Cyber Security Program

UNSW’s Cyber Security Program continues to build and improve our cyber security resilience, including a new mandatory Cyber Security Awareness training module launched in November and changes to Teams, SharePoint and password conditions. As members of the UNSW community, we each play a role in keeping the University secure. If you haven’t already done so, please remember to complete your cyber awareness training. More information about the steps UNSW is taking to build and improve the University’s cyber security resilience is available in this edition of Inside UNSW.

There’s even more to read Inside UNSW…

The UNSW community truly is remarkable. I'm delighted to share some recent accolades, achievements and appointments:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Adry Awan in the Alumni Experience team and the person inside the Clancy costume. I was excited to find this is a new and regular feature of Inside UNSW.

In the next edition of Inside UNSW, I look forward to bringing you a full wrap up of O-Week and other news around the University, including UNSW’s brand campaign centred on the idea of collective progress and the University’s mission to drive positive societal impact. 

Best regards

Professor Attila Brungs
Vice-Chancellor and President