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Students should make the most of what Dunedin has to offer beyond just the student quarter, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull told a group of thousands of first-years at Forsyth Barr Stadium yesterday.
Mr Cull who, along with University of Otago vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne and Otago University Students' Association president Francisco Hernandez, welcomed students to the city yesterday, said students brought ''vibrancy and youth'' to the city.
''You come into Dunedin to make a new beginning and you come here as citizens, not visitors and not tourists. You come here as part of our community,'' he said.
Dunedin had plenty to offer students beyond just the student quarter and he encouraged them to get out there and enjoy it.
''The whole city has a huge amount to offer you,'' he said.
While the students may have chosen to come to Dunedin because of the university's reputation, they would also come to grow fond of the city.
''You will leave here ... with an enormous sense of belonging and affection for this place.''
He also reminded students of the benefits of being citizens came with responsibilities.
''Anyone who thinks they can treat Dunedin like a sailor on leave in a foreign port has come to the wrong place.''
It was also important to consider the risks of overindulging in alcohol, he said.
''It can get a bit out of hand at times. The risks are to your personal safety to your health and your financial wellbeing, and those risks are real.''
Prof Hayne was also keen to remind students of their responsibilities while in Dunedin.
''Remember that you should not do anything here that you would not do on your own front door step.''
She also encouraged the students to make the most of their opportunity at Otago University, saying they owed it to taxpayers who paid for most of their tuition.
''You are about to embark on one of the greatest events of your lifetime. In these stands this evening I am sure that we have a future prime minister or two, some world class surgeons and teachers who will inspire a new generation of children.''
Mr Hernandez earlier highlighted the role of students in society saying that they had the potential to make a difference, as could be seen overseas in the role students played in the Arab Spring.
''Society needs us to make a difference, society needs our energy and enthusiasm,'' he said.