Located in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, Australia, the University of New South Wales (UNSW, or 'New South' for short) is known for its excellent engineering faculty (consistently ranked the best in the country). It's also known for it's large proportion of overseas students, giving rise to the nicknames 'University for the Not So White' and 'University of New South Asia'
Notable research includes: photovoltaics (solar panels) and renewable energy, quantum computing, mining engineering, computer operating systems (in conjunction with NICTA across the road). It's also the home of the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre (Richard Stallman has spoken there), and the Gifted Education Research and Resource Centre.
A Quick Tour of Campus
The campus is a big rectangle, more or less. There's a steep hill separating Lower Campus at the western end and Upper campus at the eastern end.
We'll start at Anzac Parade, at the western end, and walk up the main walkway headed east. On your right is the oval, called the Village Green or 'VG'. On the left is the Blockhouse, home of the student union, and the Roundhouse. The Roundhouse, which as the name suggests is a big circular space, is one of the better concert gigs in Sydney, it's where the big parties go down, and is the location of the Unibar. It's why we have a bit of a reputation as a party uni.
Further up the walkway, we pass the architecturally creative Law Building and the tall, prominent Applied Sciences building on our left. Then we come to the Science Lawn. The Red Centre, as well as having a terrible pun for a name, is actually red; it's where the maths kids hang out. The Australian School of Business is to the north. To the south, the rabbit warren of the Old Main building is where the physics goes down. It has a radio telescope on the roof. Music students can be found in the Webster building, depressed that they didn't make it into The Con and can't afford to go to AIM.
Now we come to the Scientia Steps, a big open set of steps and lawns overhung by the Scientia hall. On the left is Electrical Engineering, and on the right Mechanical Engineering. and the faculty of Computer Science and Engineering in K17 (the building, funnily enough, is referred to by its map coordinates).
To the north of Electrical Engineering is the Quadrangle, now roofed in solar panels, with a large sundial on one side. Climbing the Basser Steps we come to the Central Lecture Block and the Morven Brown Building: upper campus, and liberal arts student territory. Morven Brown is said to have the highest cancer rate of any building on campus; I'm not exactly sure how that works but now everyone is nervous about classes there now.
Now we come to the Library and the Library Lawn, now sadly free of large majestic trees (they were cut down). The fourteen-story Library is the most prominent building on campus. Some say the Matthews Building just north is taller, or perhaps Civil Engineering to the south, but I'm sceptical. Just up past the Library Lawn is the Clancy Auditorium, where big presentations and to-dos are held. Past Clancy Auditorium on the far eastern side of campus is bio and med student territory (Biological Sciences and the Wallace Wurth building), and I do not venture there.
Student Societies and Arc (the student union)
Has been in a decline since the Howard Government's introduction of VSU. Still organises orientation week and three or four big Roundhouse parties a semester. It controls a lot of resources and has things to do with student societies, although many of the larger ones have external sources of funding and are more or less independent.
Orientation week, or O-week, is the traditional welcome for new students at the start of the first semester. Volunteers called 'Yellowshirts' are around to ostensibly help new students out, although at times it seems like a social club for private parties and FAFYing (an incredibly creepy acronym that means 'Fuck A First Year'.
Student societies would be a big part of the social scene here. Most schools and faculties have one, e.g. Lawsoc for law and Elsoc for electrical engineering. There's also one for almost any activity or group you can think of, e.g. Campus Bible Study, Winesoc for wine appreciation, Debsoc for debating, Queersoc (!) is the gay and lesbian society, as well as a bunch of political ones.
Two student publications are put out by Arc: Blitz, the trashy one which exists more or less to hype the next Arc party; and Tharunka (Aboriginal for 'message stick'), one of the oldest student magazines in Australia, which occasionly has actual content. It could be even better, if only they accepted my submissions.
Ostensibly the date of founding of the University. Big festival is held in the Quadrangle, the engineering societies all put on BBQs with free beer, and a party goes down at the Roundhouse. There is a strong tradition of epic practical jokes, although usually people can't think of anything original and just streak nude though first year lectures in Keith Burrows.
I had a Tharunka article with a list of all the pranks that made the newspapers over the years, but seem to have misplaced it. One year an alligator was stolen from a zoo and released into the flooded Village Green. Another year a tv news anchorman was kidnapped and taken to a party in the Blue Mountains. A toxic waste spill has been faked in Wynyard Station with 44 gallons of dry ice and actors pretending to choke to death. Porn movies have been projected onto the the side of a building on Sydney's main streets.
This year, the New College boys painted a zebra crossing directly out the front of the frequently-accessed McDonald's across the road from campus, complete with RTA-standard road paint and 'look left' signs. It caused traffic chaos - apparently Barker Street was backed up for several hundred meters.
But the most famous Foundation Day prank goes like this: A gang of construction workers were digging up the road outside Sydney University. Some students approached them and told them that they should beware of a group of students dressed as police, who were stopping people and questioning them outside the university grounds, as part of a prank, and to not take them seriously. Another student then called up the local police, and informed them that a group of students dressed as construction workers were diverting traffic and digging up the road. The students then retired to the pub across the street to watch hijinks ensue.
UNSW hosts an annual massive Oktoberfest party, which seems to have grown outside of the uni and gotten a bit out of hand recently. Like, 15000 people, can't-get-in-the-doors-after-4pm out of hand. I'm just annoyed because we didn't get in this year because of all the blow-ins from other unis.
There are three big annual sketch comedy reviews: Med Revue, Law Revue, and CSE Revue (Computer Science and Engineering, it's the nerdy one). These a big productions with a lot of students putting a lot of effort in. This is the culture that The Chaser's War On Everything came out. The humour can be crude and pun-heavy but occasionally brilliant. There is always excellent live music. Look them up on YouTube. There's also a New College Revue and play and a few smaller revues by different societies.
Sydney University. Bitches. As well as academic prowess, we like to argue over whether the Roundhouse is a better venue than Sydney Uni's Manning Bar.
To a lesser extent, Macquarie University and UTS.
Seeing as 20% of Australia's population lives in Sydney, many Australian students actually commute from home, and people staying on campus are in a minority. The colleges at UNSW can be classified according to their rules like so:
- New College: No booze The good one, that you want to get into. Because of the ban on alcohol in the dorms, New College students can often be found drinking on the VG.
- Warraine College: No girls The male-only one. Cue many jokes about homosexuality. I crashed on a couch here once and did not actually get raped up the arse.
- Shallom College: No pork It's run by a Jewish organisation, although it's open to anyone, and apparently only servers kosher food.
- Kensington Colleges: No degrees COS THEIR OFF THEIR FACES ALL THE TIME YEW. Rumour has it, you can get your photo taken with a first year girl from Baxter at the start of semester, and by the end she'll be twice the size because of the beer gut.
That's About It
I suppose I better go and actually study now...