Night Festival @ University of Melbourne

April 7, 2009 Blog 3 comments

One of the things which truly impressed me about the University of Melbourne was how active its various student organisations are. I do receive daily emails and notices in my student email about various causes to support, talks to attend, concerts to participate in, and groups to join in. Some of the student ECA groups even have job descriptions inked on their websites, complete with the mandatory hours and duties that you need to fulfill.    

Whenever I walk around the campus – either en route to the library for studying or the cafeteria for lunch – I notice that there is a constant hive of activity generated by various student clubs, societies and associations. Apparently, there never is a dull moment here. Having gone out of the education system for quite a while, it was interesting to see how various causes were so actively and passionately lobbied by these idealistic youths.

Last Friday, a couple of us decided to walk to campus to check out the night market organised by various student groups. Apparently, this was an annual activity pitched at raising funds for the various societies and clubs.P1040408
The first thing which struck me were the number of students who participated in this.  It was a carnival of sorts, and the area outside Union House was packed!  Most of the students who attended were international students who lived in the residential colleges or apartments within the neighbouring vicinity.  

Satay and other grilled delicacies helped to satisfy homesick longings for asian delights that don’t cost an arm and a leg.  Thankfully prices here are kept fairly reasonable, ranging from about $2 to $5 per serving.
Some of the home-made signboards were pretty innovative, like this one here.  The dishes prepared by the students were widely varied and covered various cuisines – from French crepes to Taiwanese sausages, Indian roti prata, Chinese noodles, Singaporean peanut pancakes, to fishballs, ice cream, teh tarik and anything your heart desires.  It was almost like a pasar malam back home, albeit in a much cooler environment!
This stall probably won the “best-dressed” contest if such a thing existed.  Hmmm… I wonder why they are using playing cards though – is it a gamble for you to try their food?
Naturally, there were lots of activities happening behind the scenes.  The food preparation area appeared pretty professional, with chillers and coolers, and was very well organised.  In fact, it looked more hygienic than some of the hawker stalls I patronise back home in Singapore.

As the night progresses, I was drawn to the music which came from an open air concert held as part of the festivities.  

Apparently, it was performed by students too, who showed their mettle and demonstrated their ability to rock and roll.  Well, the crowd was swaying to the beat and certainly enjoyed it.
Finally, a shot of the group of us post graduate students, feeling young and alive again!  Haha… well at least it was a good diversion away from the assignments, tutorials, and research projects.
It was gratifying to see student entrepreneurship being displayed at their best here at the university.  I wonder though if it is the same thing for our universities back home in Singapore.  Any comments from anybody?
By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


  1. i remember taking part in the night festival when i was a student at unimelb. one year we cooked nasi lemak, another year we did fried spring rolls.

    we also had to wrestle with the really strict food and hygiene laws – everything had to be cooked on the spot, not beforehand. but at least we could wrap the spring rolls and freeze them a few nights before.

  2. woah..nice to see u are having fun too..heh. Nice to know there there is a tightly knit community in school eh? Wonder if our local universities have such cool activities..

  3. hello Walter!! oh so u graduated from Uni of Melbourne. U purposely flew there for this gathering? Wow! You must have enjoyed yourself very much! So nice.

    I wonder if it’s getting cheaper now to fly to Melbourne by budget airlines. Only been to Perth and some parts in Western Australia..

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