As freshers begin to pile in for the beginning of uni, so do their lofty expectations of what uni will be like. Informed by teen comedies and stories from Otago students, they begin their hunt for the best clubs and the sickest house parties. The more seasoned UOA students will watch the migration of first years from halls to Bar 101, knowing that the $3 vodka cruisers will not be sweet enough to wash out the taste of a shit time. Likewise, first year house parties will be disappointing when you realise everyone either lives in halls or with their mum, who will not approve of passed out 18 year olds on her front lawn.
At the University of Auckland we struggle to foster a student culture that is on par with other Universities (with the notable exception of Engineers, who have been and always will be, a collection of wankers). AUSA’s biggest event of the year, the upcoming Party in the Park can only cater for 3000 of UOA’s 40,000+ student population, and even then it takes heavy promotion to sell out the event. There is no ‘event of the year’ in the UOA’s student calendar and no must-be place to go get fucked up every weekend. Though Shadow’s bar is an institution, that institution is built on getting day drunk on a Wednesday and sobering up on $2 toasties.
The shining beacons of student culture at UOA are our Facebook pages. Meaningful Confessions and Overheard underpin our true culture: impersonal and often judgemental. Our favourite pastimes are shitting on each other, shitting on other faculties and shitting on other universities (mostly AUT). So no, I can’t say we have no culture, but I also couldn’t say we have much of one either. For all the enthusiasm we have at the beginning of our university experience, we never actually do anything with it to create and sustain a student culture. And before you know it freshers, you too will be a jaded undergrad, watching the yearly migration of the first years to Bar 101, while complaining that UOA has no culture.