Week-long university camp all the more appreciated after tough year

Visiting school pupils celebrate yesterday during a project report-back session at a Hands-On at...
Visiting school pupils celebrate yesterday during a project report-back session at a Hands-On at Otago summer camp. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR
Secondary pupils from throughout New Zealand have felt an "extra spark of joy" about taking part in the latest Hands-On at Otago summer camp, after earlier Covid-19 restrictions.

The University of Otago’s 32nd and latest annual week-long camp ended yesterday with 393 visiting pupils giving a series of lively three-minute research reports.

Many pupils used videos, often taken with cellphones and adeptly combined with music, to report back, through 35 project groups, to fellow pupils at the university’s 500-seat main St David lecture theatre yesterday morning.

During the camp, pupils undertook research in the mornings in a wide range of disciplines, including surveying as well as English and linguistics.

And in the afternoons, pupils tried briefer "snack"activities, which enabled them to sample a broader range of subjects.

Organising committee convener Dr Judith Bateup said that the cancellation of many events last year because of Covid-19 restrictions had added to the fun of taking part.

"There was an extra spark of joy about being able to congregate in a large group.

"They’re just throwing themselves into everything,"she said.

A record 750 pupils had applied for the school, which could only accommodate 400, but many pupils could reapply for next year, she said.

Charlotte Alston, a senior pupil, of Wellington, said she had enjoyed the mix of fun and the opportunity to learn more about future educational options available at Otago University.

"It’s very interesting. I met a lot of new people," she said.

Organisers said that four new research projects, including music production, engineering, oral rehabilitation and accounting, were offered this year.


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