UOW HuGS celebrates its 1st birthday! A reflection on 12 months of achievements

Today marks the exciting milestone of the UOW Human Geography Society’s (HuGS) first birthday!!

I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the past 12 months, recap our events so far, share the experiences of some of our members and of course to thank everyone who has helped make this idea a reality!

It’s good timing to be writing this post, on the back of our most recent event: A Fashion Revolution Evening – which was a huge success! With over 90 people in attendance including students, staff and community members, I know I wasn’t the only person who walked away from the event feeling inspired by the positive vibes and engaging conversation – oh, and of course feeling stoked with my new threads from the clothes swap!

The initial idea for HuGS stemmed from my own experience at UOW as a human geography undergraduate. I enjoyed all aspects of my studies academically, but there was a lack of opportunities to connect with other geographers. This changed as I progressed through honours and into a PhD and discovered the AUSCCER tribe existed. But after talking with other postgrad students I found that others had had a similar experience of lacking a communal sense of identity. So we set out with the aim to increase the sense of community within the school with the establishment of HuGS!

We have come a long way since then – with overwhelming amounts of support and interest from both students and staff alike.

We have run networking and meet-and-greet style events such as our launch morning tea and recent BBQ (including a retro bike give-a-way!).

Our official launch morning tea was attended by staff, postgrads and undergrads from the School of Geography and Sustainable Communities. Sophie-May gave an overview of the clubs goals and lucky door prizes were drawn including donated books, keep cups and drink bottles.

Our official launch morning tea was attended by staff, postgrads and undergrads from the School of Geography and Sustainable Communities. Sophie-May gave an overview of the clubs goals and lucky door prizes were drawn including donated books, keep cups and drink bottles.

We started the session this year with a geography welcome BBQ. Activities included jenga and ring toss games. One lucky student took home the major prize which was a bicycle! There were also other prizes given away including vouchers, keep cups and HuGS merch.

We started the session this year with a geography welcome BBQ. Activities included jenga and ring toss games. One lucky student took home the major prize which was a bicycle! There were also other prizes given away including vouchers, keep cups and HuGS merch.

We’ve organised social events including regular unibar gatherings, trivia nights, unicentre cup and an end of year masquerade ball.

We’ve organised social events including regular unibar gatherings, trivia nights, unicentre cup and an end of year masquerade ball.

This year HuGS entered a team in the unicentre sporting cup. We played volleyball, Oztag, soccer, table tennis and the mystery sport which was human hungry hippos! It was a great day filled with lots of laughs and a chance to meet other geography students across different levels.

This year HuGS entered a team in the unicentre sporting cup. We played volleyball, Oztag, soccer, table tennis and the mystery sport which was human hungry hippos! It was a great day filled with lots of laughs and a chance to meet other geography students across different levels.

The Social Sciences Masquerade ball was our biggest social event in 2015. We collaborated with the Illawarra Public Health Society to host a fun night at City Beach Function Centre – with a three course dinner, drinks and lots of dancing! This event will continue to be an annual social gathering for all students interested in the social sciences/geography.

The Social Sciences Masquerade ball was our biggest social event in 2015. We collaborated with the Illawarra Public Health Society to host a fun night at City Beach Function Centre – with a three course dinner, drinks and lots of dancing! This event will continue to be an annual social gathering for all students interested in the social sciences/geography.

Additionally we have run intellectual engagement events where we have collaborated with local community groups and academics to start conversations that matter – on topics such as food waste, researcher self-care and the fashion industry.

HuGS collaborated with a local NGO Hidden Harvest to host a food waste awareness evening. The event consisted of a delicious meal made from ‘rescued’ food which would have otherwise ended up in landfill, followed by a screening of the documentary ‘Just Eat It’ a food waste story. We had over 100 people attend this event and engage in the food waste conversation.

HuGS collaborated with a local NGO Hidden Harvest to host a food waste awareness evening. The event consisted of a delicious meal made from ‘rescued’ food which would have otherwise ended up in landfill, followed by a screening of the documentary ‘Just Eat It’ a food waste story. We had over 100 people attend this event and engage in the food waste conversation.

Our most recent event was a Fashion Revolution evening held at Project Contemporary Art Space. This event coincided with Fashion Revolution week – a global movement which aims to increase awareness about the environmental and ethical implications of the fashion industry. Our event consisted of workshops, talks by academics and a clothes swap. The atmosphere on the night was fantastic with over 90 people attending. This event left HuGS feeling energised and looking forward to further community engagement.

Our most recent event was a Fashion Revolution evening held at Project Contemporary Art Space. This event coincided with Fashion Revolution week – a global movement which aims to increase awareness about the environmental and ethical implications of the fashion industry. Our event consisted of workshops, talks by academics and a clothes swap. The atmosphere on the night was fantastic with over 90 people attending. This event left HuGS feeling energised and looking forward to further community engagement.

 

And on top of this we have established a visible presence on campus through involvement at O week activities, running activities in lecture breaks and by sponsoring students to attend leadership programs. We now have over 250 likes on Facebook and 200 official members and with the support and momentum this will continue to grow.

O-Week

Leadership Program

In the process of reflecting on the past year and making plans for the next stages, I asked a couple of our members to share stories of their HuGS highlights so far.

Rebecca

Rebecca

Rebecca: I first came to HuGS to find people who shared the same interests in Human Geography as me. Coming from school where there wasn’t many people who cared for geography it was so amazing to meet and discuss with people who were equally as interested as myself. Through the club I’ve made some great friendships and connections with people from students, to PhD students and even academics. Through all the events there has been an opportunity to meet students from different years and faculties, which is always a lot of fun, especially the social sciences ball. It has also a great opportunity to draw on the experience of the older members in terms of university subjects and future prospects. Ultimately my involvement has increased my passion and experience in my degree. For the future I’d love to see the club to continue to grow, being an environment where people’s perceptions towards geography are changed and we are involved in projects that have an impact on our local community.

Henry

Henry

Henry: I joined in order to meet like-minded new people. Coming to Uni I knew nobody so getting to know others has been a big deal for me on exchange. [HuGS] really helped me to connect with both lecturers and students, helping me to get better grades in parts but also make new friends – In my opinion probably the most important part of uni. My favourite event is probably trivia, I mean I did help raise like $300 bucks for the club, and have a laugh while doing it!

Lachlan and Callum

Lachlan and Callum

Lachlan (pictured on the left): I joined HuGS because I was looking to surround myself with like-minded individuals. Once I joined HuGS I found exactly that – friendly, welcoming and genuine people. Something that I find most interesting about HuGS is the sense of community; it brings together students and staff which I find really cool! Since joining HuGS I have been presented with plenty of opportunities and experiences that have allowed me to meet some really inspiring people and make plenty of new friends! Joining HuGS has also helped me in terms of my career aspirations, I now have a clearer understanding of what it is that I would like to pursue later in life. In the distant future, I would hope to see the club grow with more friendly, welcoming and genuine people.

Callum (pictured on the right): HuGS has had a great impact on my university experience so far. I was initially quite surprised when the club came to be in April last year. I wasn’t expecting there to be many others studying Human Geography, however, I soon found out there are a number of other current and former students who are just as passionate about the discipline as I am. HuGS has meant that I have been able to network with a lot of great people who are looking into similar career paths. On top of this, it has enhanced the social and academic side of my uni experience alike. My favourite HuGS event over the past year would have to be the Social Science Ball towards the end of last year. After a year of hard work, it was a great opportunity to relax. HuGS got off to a flying start and has grown so much since this time last year – It would amazing to see it continue and enhance the uni experience for others, just like it has for myself and those around me.

Reading these posts and looking back on how far we have come I am filled with a warm sense of achievement, gratitude and excitement. It is apparent that HuGS plays an important role in facilitating the sharing of positive messages and creating an environment where people can meet like-minded people – whether this be through social events or through coming together to have conversations about real world issues with other people who care and who want to make change happen.

Looking into the future we hope to continue to engage with geography students and also to continue to host events that showcase the interesting work that is being undertaken in human geography with a wider audience. It is also my hope that students of all levels can keep being involved in the organisation of HuGS events, gaining skills in leadership and teamwork and having fun along the way!

HuGS aims to continue to foster partnerships with NGOs, other student groups, researchers and external organisations. We would love to hear from you if you have an idea for an event and would be interested in collaborating with the society or if you are interested in becoming more involved. Email smk534@uowmail.edu.au

Last (but certainly not least), a huge thank you to everyone who continues to be involved in helping out with the organisation of events and running of the society. The success and momentum we have gained in the past year simply wouldn’t be possible without you!

With big HUGS,

Sophie-May

Founder and President of the UOW Human Geography Society

Sophie-May

Sophie-May

 

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