With over 200 registrations for the cross-campus event, the SRC showed their Christmas spirit again by bringing back the old tradition of Secret Santa. However, while Parramatta made a solid start, Campbelltown ended the year with a bang, bringing students together one last time before the new COVID-19 variant got out of hand (again).
The $10,000 celebration was funded by the SRC alongside the gate money in the form of $5 entry tickets supported two fun-filled days of fantastic food, gift-giving to attendees, on-campus laser tag, socializing, games and more! So definitely a bang for your buck, considering the gifts alone were $30 each.
Cameron Chesters (VPA of the SRC) was inspired to host the event simply because he wasn’t aware of any other Christmas events happening at Western. WSU Staff and the SRC showed their support, so the team went with the idea, organized and then ran it – literally.
“Tiffany, Rob, Vicky, and myself were probably the biggest contributors from the SRC to the event I would say. But we have at least 6 SRC members contributing to the event at various stages… We gave away about 200 presents to students including putting some aside for the international students arriving on Christmas Eve which was a very nice initiative brought to us by Michelle Gillard from Peer Programs,” said Cameron.
For Bakar Mohamad (newly elected VPU of the SRC), the Secret Santa event allowed students to finally interact with people in the flesh.
“I met people from a range of schools, had some exciting convos and exchanged gifts… Being a little extroverted, that’s kinda my vibe! The food served was pretty good, catering for all different diets plus the desserts! There were some great activities from giant Jenga and connect 4 to laser tag and volleyball,” he said.
“Overall, the event was so refreshing! It brought together students that hadn’t interacted in over a year. It brought rise to a matching game of identifying others based on their zoom profiles, more challenging than you’d think! It helped us, as the SRC, to connect with students and show that we are a student board in the university, there to cater for the students,” said Bakar.
Despite highlighting her favourite moments of the event being a never-ending affair, the First Nations Representative, Tiffany Sharpe, said that the moment when the SRC and Student Community team came together, to create a magical Christmas party for the students at Western Sydney University had to be her favourite. After two years of lockdowns and virtual learning, the teams were able to shed light and share the joy with the presence of cultural diversity.
“I encountered many students that I’ve only spoken with over zoom and social media. There were a group of ladies, that I made friends with over the year. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to meet them and get to know them more in person,” said Tiffany.
“The moments to remember are the good times of fun, laughter, and friendships that blossomed. These memories were created, and I am glad to be a part of it,” she said.
Finally, for Sharmin Saba (SRC Residential Rep) this was the first face-to-face event after months of lockdown, adding that she also got the opportunity to meet other SRC reps for the first time.
“I would say all the social interactions I had were absolutely amazing…When I was helping out with the event, I had multiple interactions with the attendees. We were talking about our university experiences, our hobbies and interests and so on. But one conversation that stood out to me and became the most memorable experience was when a few attendees mentioned how happy they felt to see me there despite being from a different faith. I could see from their happy expressions that they genuinely meant it. This was the very first Christmas event I ever attended and I felt grateful to the kind and welcoming words I received from the attendees which made me feel inclusive within the community,” said Sharmin.
While the Christmas pudding was a hit or miss, the Secret Santa event was a huge success. SRC have had students ask how they can help and volunteer for the next event and look forward to hosting it again next year – possibly with some assistant elves if anyone has costumes!
Published: W’SUP News