Plenty of Dubbo faces broadened the smile of Cathy Maginnis at the launch of Orientation Week at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Dubbo on Tuesday.
The head of campus is determined that it should serve the city and surrounding communities.
“It’s lovely to see so many locals here,” Ms Maginnis said after cutting a celebratory cake surrounded by students and CSU supporters.
“We’re trying to get Dubbo and our local communities to come and access the higher education we can provide them.”
In the crowd at the campus off Tony McGrane Place was Katie Hamilton,24, of Dubbo. She was excited and nervous about enrolling in a Bachelor of Social Work.
Among more than 90 new full-time students at the campus in 2017, Ms Hamilton said its presence made her career goal of becoming a case worker more achievable. “It’s a lot easier than having to travel or do it online,” she said.
Kate Lawrence,22, who recently returned from living overseas, is one of the full-time students to have come to Dubbo from other parts of NSW.
With her parents having moved to Dubbo, she grabbed the opportunity to reside at home and study for a Bachelor of Nursing. “I’d actually like to go into medicine,” Ms Lawrence said. “I’ll start with nursing and see how I go.”
Ms Maginnis said enrolments at the campus continued to grow with future nurses making up the largest cohort of new students, followed by wannabe social workers and teachers.
She said Orientation Week gave new students the chance to make friends and learn how to “navigate the university” before classes began on February 27.
Orientation Week, or O Week, includes course information sessions, open forums, a meet-and-greet forum for mature-age students, tenpin bowling, a trivia night and barbecues.
A $2.5 million refurbishment of the learning commons at the campus is partially complete as the new academic year begins. Ms Macginnis told of a “student-centric” campus complete with contemporary learning spaces and furniture.
“We welcome the community to engage and share these spaces with us,” she said. “There will be a new café and courtyard to relax and socialise in, and new areas for support staff to assist students.
“The university recognises the need for flexibility to assist with students' busy lives, so a 24/7 area will be available for students to access to assist them with their learning journey.”
Ms Maginnis also encouraged CSU’s online students, living in and around the Dubbo campus, to use its amenities and support staff.