|I met with a group of our students this week; one of my first physical engagements in a long time. We all managed the event well and they gave me a lot to think about. Similarly, a lot of one on one catch ups with staff provided another view of the local terrain and the issues that people are concerned about. As ever I gain so much from their willingness to bring ideas to the table and share in the problem solving. The more the merrier.
It has also been a week rich in discussions and updates about various projects which are running (including the Boilerhouse, the design of the UNE 21+ digital site, UNE Tamworth, UNE Taree, UNE Solar Farm and the development of Yarm Gwanga – to name but a few). Despite the continuing and unfolding pressures of distributed and remote working, each team is progressing so very well and developing new ways of working. The latter is a conversation which is boiling up and over, as the reality of waiting for vaccines and managing ‘place’ converge – we are all cogitating on the design and utility of our various functions and how to progress in a world now governed by 2 or 4 metre engagement squares and an onomatopoeic digital tool kit.
With our best problem-solving hats on, we managed to roll out the Earle Page Politics Lecture with both real and virtual attendees this week. An honoured UNE alumnus, Chris Bowen MP (Shadow Minster for Health) reflected on his time as a student (in Indonesia!), as well as addressing questions about community and health in a COVID affected society. The breadth of his discourse and engagement were very impressive – we expected no less. The fact that Earle Page’s granddaughter joined the event as a virtual guest made it extra special.