St Martin’s College is welcoming new students studying at Charles Sturt University Wagga Wagga campus and students studying medicine through UNSW at Wagga Wagga Campus. St Martin’s College had its origin in the Riverina Diocese and the Canberra-Goulburn Diocese in 1992 and has since grown to a 98-bed college (12 x 8-bedroom cottages, a 2-bedroom flat and the chapel) that surrounds the centrally-located Fairfax Community Centre (affectionately known as ‘the Fax’). Community, inclusion of all, support, care and excellence are at the heart of all the College does.
2020 has been a difficult year for all people. The College saw its numbers drop on 30 March 2020 from about 80 students to 10 students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the decision on the University to close its campuses and go on-line for all of session 1 and all of session 2 (for most students). It is ‘return to normal’ for the University in January 2021. And more than 40 returning students are looking forward to that. So how did they manage 2020?
Meg from Milthorpe, in her third year of a four-year social work course, writes:
‘I have had the pleasure of being a Residential Advisor at St Martin’s College in 2020. Though this year was difficult we continued to host events, whether virtual or in-person, with students, according to restrictions and guidelines. The current pandemic did not limit the spirit of the St Martin’s community as we all worked to adapt to ensure we could still connect with each other.
‘St Martin’s is such a warm and inclusive community where students can make lifelong friends. It is an environment that fosters growth whether that is socially, academically or professionally.
‘What I value most about St Martin’s College is the family environment. This enabled me to make a smooth transition into university life and has given me the opportunity to make many lifelong friends.
‘The advice that I would give to future students is to immerse yourself within the community and step out of your own comfort zone! This will allow you to have many opportunities opened up to you as well as give you the chance to make your university experience the best it can be!’
Romy, a Vet Science student going into Third Year, commented:
‘Despite the lack of people on campus, the few that stuck around during COVID became the many, and life went on. I think we probably spent more time with other college students than normal, given that we were all confined to our rooms for online lectures and there were few other excuses to leave the house than to play some backyard cricket with the neighbours.
‘Being on campus is a no brainer, especially in first year, because you only have to walk 5-10 minutes to your lectures. Within walking distance there is also the pool and gym too for the sports enthusiasts. Life at Martie’s is great because you get to know the other students really well, and you’ll probably spend a lot of time in each other’s cottages sharing dinner and studying together in what can feel like a family home.
‘I value the shared space that we have within the college, including the outdoor and indoor area of the Fairfax Centre, which we can use at our leisure to study/relax/cook or just have a nap.’
In the summer break, the diverse interests continue. Josh and Seb are out doing contract grain harvesting over summer and two others are doing grain receivals at the grain silos. Others are in retail – Bunnings, Boost Juice etc. Some are working in Vet clinics. Nursing students are finding work in Aged Care. A few students have returned home to farms, a few are doing catch-up placements because of COVID-19 restrictions (in places like piggeries, dairy farms etc) and our performing arts students have put on a production. Animators are finding work on projects and our international PhD students are continuing their diverse research work in exotic areas including dung beetles, micronutrients, and environmental sciences. One of our undergraduate Social Work students has just presented at a National Health Conference (by zoom) on a new initiative in TeleHealth.
St Martin’s is a vibrant community that unobtrusively encourages faith and whole-person development in a supportive and pastorally-rich environment.
Check out the website at www. stmartinscollege.org or take the aerial drone tour of the College at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Oe HHwpl6NbPOO8M8obvpqqtXdNB XCAJ_/view?usp=sharing
Applications are on the website and are now open for 2021.
by Bill Anscombe