Hot tips for a cool O-week

From 'Speed Friending’ to comedy shows and live music, UNSW O-Week, from 20–24 February, provides the perfect opportunity to discover what university has to offer.

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Try ‘Speed Friending’ and start uni with a new BFF by your side. Photo: Shutterstock

From 'Speed Friending’ to comedy shows and live music, UNSW O-Week, from 2024 February, provides the perfect opportunity to discover what university has to offer.

Arc O-week co-ordinator David Vu recommends visiting the O-Week website to find out everything on offer, but as a start, he has provided a list of eight essential O-Week activities (see below).

“New and returning students can soak up the atmosphere, sign up for clubs and societies, check out the entertainment and pick up lots of free goodies,” he says.

As well as all the fun stuff, students can explore the full range of services and support available to assist with their studies, including UNSW Student Learning Centre workshops. A pamphlet with the full list of services can be picked up at the O-Week help desks.

This year, students can take part in UNSW’s Grand Challenges program, which will feature three key events during O-week.

UNSW will host an ‘Inequality Hackathon’ on Tuesday 21 February at the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre (MCIC) where students can develop ideas to address inequality, access to services and the alleviation of poverty.

On Wednesday 22 February Professor Rob Brooks, Academic Lead of the Grand Challenges, will launch the UNSW Grand Challenges: design for a better world program from 1011.30 am at the MCIC.

And on Friday 24 February students can take part in the Grand Challenge on Inequality Book Club, which will feature guest panellists Peter Van Onselen and Dr Andrew Leigh who will share their thoughts on Thomas Piketty’s leading work on inequality, Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

The book club will be followed by a Grand Challenge on Inequality forum, that will allow staff and students to contribute their ideas.

O-Week will see sporting clubs showcase their skills at a special ‘Day of Play’ on Thursday 23 February, providing sessions for beginners to come and try a wide range of sports.

And for those bursting with start-up ideas, the MCIC will run daily ‘Culture Inductions’, as well as the chance to ‘Meet the Catalysts’ – MCIC's in-house entrepreneurs.

See the full schedule of events here.

David Vu’s eight essential O-Week activities

  1. Get ready for your first week by taking a campus tour with a Yellow Shirt and discover where your classes will be held. Tours depart from the Greenhouse, Village Green, every day at 11am and 2pm. So come at a time in the week that suits your schedule.
  2. Kick off your O-Week with a daring round of ‘Speed Friending’ and start uni with a new BFF by your side. For more cool social events like speed friending, check out the list here: and come along to play and win great prizes. 
  3. Stroll along the main walkway and sign up for Arc Sports Clubs or Arc Clubs and Societies – they’ll  keep you entertained while you're getting educated.
  4. Sign up to some amazing development programs: volunteering will fill you with warm fuzzy feelings and leadership labs will prepare you for world domination. Visit any Arc Stall during O-Week for more information and see the full list of volunteering programs here.
  5. Not as tech-savy as you need to be to create your project? No worries! Find a tech team to make your dream a reality, or at least a working prototype: sign-up for Founderlab and visit the MCIC.
  6. Fill your week with fun and games by trying Sumo Wrestling, bubble soccer, giant slides and the craft corner.
  7. Register for a peer mentoring program. And don't stay silent – ask that mentor questions.
  8. And finally, make a night of it with movie night, comedy night, night food markets and of course the O-Week Party!