Speech by Bas Braham, President, Burgmann Residents’ Association (BRA), on the occasion of Move-In Day, Saturday 5 February, 2022
Hello new residents! We are blessed to be here on Ngunnawal and Ngambri land. I pay respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and in particular I acknowledge any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people here today.
To our new residents, my name is Bas and I am the President of BRA - the Burgmann Residents’ Association. On behalf of the leadership team, welcome. It's so lovely to see you all here, with your wristbands on - COVID negative and feeling positive.
New Residents - I have some good news for you. By coming to Burgmann, you’ve made your first major decision of your university life.
It's an important, and yet from experience - a fairly arbitrary decision in the moment.
And in my humble opinion, you’ve made a very good first decision.
So why is that? What makes Burgmann unique? Not fine dining, or large rooms, or a Mediterranean climate, but good, strong communal values, and people who care about lifting each other up.
We’re about to welcome you into a culture founded on inclusiveness. Your RAs will form tightly-knit floor cultures where everyone has a chance to express themselves, whilst our events are carefully manufactured to include all residents. At Burgmann we don’t haze our first years, instead we champion a non-hierarchical culture. Wherever you’re from, whatever you study, and whether you’re an undergraduate, postgraduate, living in the Homer or Barassi Wings, or The Village, we are dedicated to helping you have a safe and enjoyable time.
So, what does that look like? Well we have a lot of fun here, as you’ll come to know in the next few weeks. Whatever your scene is, we have an event for you. Our events range from the stage, to the AFL field, to the chessboard, to the dancefloor. In the past, the last two have overlapped.
Everyone is welcome, and I encourage you to get involved, try new things, and put yourself out there. In my experience at Burgmann I have only ever regretted those times when I decided not to participate in something.
Now I remember when I was in your position, two years ago. I was nervous. And I’m sure you are too. Perhaps you’re nervous about what college during ‘covid’ will look like, so let's talk about that.
ANU has generously supplied us with 100 000 RATs. We’re also expecting some of those Rapid Antigen Tests at some point. Just joking - only ducks.
In all seriousness, if anyone knows how to have an enjoyable college experience whilst living with Covid - it's us. It's our third year here - Covid has been around since we arrived, and we’re all still coming back for more. Adversity breeds solidarity and my experience here has been living proof of that.
Perhaps you’re worried about the demands of maturity that moving out of home can impose. You might get lost, lose your key, miss breakfast, let your room get too messy. Two pieces of advice here. First - you have a team of dedicated resident leaders to help - ask us for help, that’s what we’re here for. Second - remember that we’ve all been there. At times I’ve been more disorganised in this building than you could possibly imagine. If you ever get locked out, chances are I’m locked out as well - and we can call for help together.
The leadership team is big - Residential Advisors, Gender and Sexual Education Advocates, Burgmann Residents Association, App Media Managers, Sub Committee Chairs, Bar Staff, Burgmann Academic Network Coordinators. That’s why we use acronyms. We have big plans for the year ahead. Bar nights, forums, new programs, revamping the BAR, new positions. We’ve been working hard since last year to provide for you the best year possible. But to be honest, we can’t tell you exactly what Burgmann will look like in 5,6, or 7 months from now.
In a few weeks, some of you will be voted into our leadership team as sports and arts whips. Others will join teams, clubs and working groups at college. And all of you will be a part of our ongoing discussions on what should change, and what should stay the same.
We can’t tell you what Burgmann will look like in 5,6, or 7 months from now because it will be just as much up to you, as it will be up to us. Perhaps our constant willingness to change is what makes Burgmann most unique, and your decision a good one.
From now, all we ask is that you be yourself. We can’t wait to meet you.
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