How we’re navigating 2020 with Burgmann spirit

The penultimate year to Burgmann College’s golden 50th has thrown us so many challenges—unprecedented bushfires, giant hail, and the COVID-19 pandemic. But one upheaval after another has only served to show the strength and tenacity of the Burgmann spirit.

Burgie traditions have kept our community buoyed up and connected through the most trying moments of 2020, while the collective grit and determination of our staff, residents and board have ensured the College’s continuing survival.

Like other small independent not-for-profit residential colleges, Burgmann operates with just a narrow margin of contingency. 

“We had three months’ worth of operating reserve in the bank for any foreseeable crisis—except that COVID-19 was not one we foresaw,” says Greg Mills, Chair of the Burgmann College Board of Management.

The indefinite closure of ANU and instruction to all students to go home if they could safely do so, just five weeks into semester one, thrust Burgmann into sudden financial jeopardy, on top of managing the anxiety and safety of residents.

The extraordinary summer bushfires had already created a smoke hazard that led to residents being evacuated for hours in the middle of the night, and finally closing down the National Youth Science Forum—an important source of revenue for Burgmann during the summer break. Then the giant hailstorm on 20 January destroyed the College’s newly installed roofs.

But all of this seemed manageable when the academic year began - read more here