University opens up to community

LIB WILSON
Last updated 05:00 19/05/2014
Professor Garon Smith
HOT STUFF: Professor Garon Smith from the University of Montana shows off a chemical reaction at the chemistry display.

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From banana video game controllers to graduation photos without years of study, a different demographic got a taste of life at the University of Waikato on Saturday.

At the university's first community open day, about 3000 people were welcomed through its grounds jam-packed with activities in a series of themed hubs around the campus.

Hamilton couple Shirley and David Holliday spent several hours taking it in and found the day an eye-opener.

"We came because we never went to university and we just thought we'd come and see what it was like," David Holliday said.

"We had no idea what to expect."

The gym facilities in the sport and recreation hub were a stand-out and Shirley Holliday enjoyed the "lovely" campus - although finding their way around presented a bit of a challenge.

The knowledge and innovation hub drew many visitors to displays including video games controlled by bananas, an electric van and a Lego Mindstorm robot.

Another drawcard was the opportunity for a graduation photo without the study and course fees..

Some university visitors wanted to find out more about study, like Mavra Farooqi who is looking into doing a masters in business and management.

She had a great day soaking up the family atmosphere with her sister and nephew, who attended a storytelling workshop in the performing arts hub.

And university staff also enjoyed the chance to present their work to a different audience and at different levels, vice chancellor Professor Roy Crawford said.

The day was so successful, it could be a goer for next year, he said.

"We always say that the university is for the community . . . This is an opportunity really to get mums and dads and grandparents and so on onto the campus, many of whom live around here but may feel a bit timid about coming," he said.

Crawford said he was encouraged by seeing so many people excited about what it does.

Later in the afternoon, many alumni gathered at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts for a function.

Guest speakers included University of Waikato alumni Zac and Josh Lyon who are planning a campaign to cross the four caps - the North and South Poles, Greenland and Patagonia.

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- Waikato Times

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