Week's activities hailed as success

Otago University Students' Association president Francisco Hernandez (left) and events and...
Otago University Students' Association president Francisco Hernandez (left) and events and communications manager Dan Hendra reflect on a successful O-Week. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
This year's O-Week is being hailed as a massive success, with fewer student injuries and behavioural problems than in previous years.

The week also included the largest O-Week event ever organised by Otago University Students' Association (OUSA), with more than 5500 people going to see Macklemore at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Thursday.

Dunedin area acting tactical response manager Senior Sergeant Jason Guthrie said the events organised by OUSA went ''extremely well, with the level of student behaviour pleasing''.

''Beyond these organised events, there is, however, still an impact on the city, with large numbers of people out and about drinking alcohol.

''However ...despite the large numbers of people in town and at events this week, behaviour has been generally good,'' Snr Sgt Guthrie said.

He said police had done a significant amount of planning and liaison with the student community before O-Week.

Medical directorate acting medical director Dr Brendon Rae, who oversees the Dunedin Hospital emergency department, said the last week had been busy, but most presentations were not O-Week related.

Only a ''really small'' number of admissions - possibly as low as 3% - during the week were alcohol-related, Dr Rae said.

He said there had been an improvement over past years, which he attributed to a ''change in culture at educational institutions, halls of residents and students' associations''.

OUSA events and communications manager Dan Hendra, who was feeling a ''bit jaded'' after a busy week, said Orientation had been a fantastic success, with ''nothing major'' going wrong.

The fact the Macklemore gig went off without a hitch showed OUSA could hold even larger events in future and students could definitely look forward to more big acts, Mr Hendra said.

OUSA president Francisco Hernandez said he had been ''crazy busy'' throughout the week, but was ''very happy'' with how the week went.

''I didn't even get to attend any of the gigs we put on, except as part of the safety team.''

Asked if he felt he was missing out, he said: ''Not really. At the end of the day, it's about serving the students and I have had my time at Orientation when I was a first-year.''

University of Otago vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne said the week had been a pleasure.

''We have had a wonderful week. I have been to almost all of the events and it's been a pleasure to welcome thousands of our students and their families to Otago.''

She said there was less disruptive behaviour than last year.

''The generally good outcome is testament to collaborative work done by the university and OUSA.

''Most importantly, the positive and responsible actions and attitude of thousands of our new and returning students have made all the difference in the world,'' she said.


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