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BCAA President Update | Summer 2021

COVID-19, the most impactful pandemic in a century, continued to deliver surprises in Burgmann’s 50th year. Rather than last year’s shutdown, Burgmann residents went into lockdown at the College. So close to lecture halls and the Burgmann bar and yet so far away, residents studied in their rooms and exercised in pairs. Thankfully the Burgmann spirit shone through with online entertainment and COVID safe activities quickly established to keep the community sane and safe. And as soon the lockdown was lifted the BRA established surely the most tightly packed social calendar in Burgmann’s history; with the Burgmann Ball, Valete and Dawborn delivered in one week in November. I congratulate Isobel Kuo, BRA President and the entire Burgmann community for your resilience and classic Burgmann class over this unusual academic year.

While the lockdowns of 2021 disrupted our 50th birthday celebrations, the BCAA Committee and the College have made great progress in establishing a stronger connection to our Alumni and developing a comprehensive strategy for Burgmann’s next 50 years. The newly created Burgmann Advancement Office led by Amelia Zaraftis has created a terrific engagement programme with a range of communications and updates sent out to our community. The content of the communications demonstrate that we are an active and impressive bunch! We’ve been active on social media (106 social posts) and we’ve been building up our contact lists (if you can help find our ‘lost’ alumni please go to: Lost Alumni | Burgmann College (anu.edu.au).


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Residents gather on the front during the Welcome to Country & Smoking Ceremony, February 2021 (photo credit: Chris Hayes)
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Matthew Lobb speaking at the Foundation Stone Commemoration Event, March 2021 (photo credit: Chris Hayes)

Throughout 2021 the, BCAA Committee has been meeting regularly to help organise the 50th anniversary celebrations. While it is true that the lockdown necessitated the postponement of the 'Back-to-Burg' 50th Anniversary weekend & Gala Dinner, we will use the delay to have an even better event in August 2022. As well as an opportunity to celebrate the successes of the college we are also keen to make sure that ex-residents can catch up with their old mates, so we have created a flexible program of celebrations and reunions over the weekend. So, lock Back to Burg in your diaries, we’d love to see you there. And if you’d like to get involved in the weekend (or any other events you think we should have) please let us know.

While COVID postponed the Back to Burg Weekend, the BCAA and the Advancement Office have been busy working on other events and initiatives to celebrate the college’s half century. We started with a Welcome to Country event (that is a fabulous way to acknowledge that Burgmann is part of a deeper and richer history than our mere 50 years), and then in March we celebrated our founding parents with a commemoration of the laying of the Foundation Stone in March, 1968. At this event, Principal Sally Renouf unveiled Burgmann’s Master Plan for the coming decades with planning for a large multi-purpose 'Burg Space'—akin to a giant Convo Room—to enable the College to undertake a wider range of events, collaborations, discussions and activities for residents and the wider University community.

The Master Plan also prioritised an upgrade to the back courtyard and BBQ area, including the creation of an exit from the bar to the new courtyard (as opposed to the longstanding exit-via-the-window manoeuvre), new seating, greenery and the construction of a BBQ that actually works! This exciting and necessary project inspired us to kick off our 50th anniversary funding raising effort and I’m pleased to say we are close to raising $200,000 towards this important project. Thank you to all those who have made donations.

There is no doubt that over the last 50 years the Burgmann Alumni has proven that they are an impressive and successful bunch. This year the BCAA has established the inaugural Burgmann Alumni Awards to properly recognise our successes locally, nationally and internationally. We have established four awards:

  • Distinguished Alumni Award: for alumni aged 35+,
  • Outstanding Alumni Award: for alumni under age 35
  • Alumni Volunteer Award, for outstanding contribution of a volunteer of Burgmann;
  • Staff Recognition Award, recognising the dedicated service or outstanding contribution of any Burgmann College staff.

The BCAA Committee was delighted to receive such an impressive and high-quality set of nominees. We were inspired by the achievements of all the nominees, not only for the levels of success but also the way they have carried themselves. The Burgmann values of dedication, authenticity, and compassion shone through. Our congratulations to John, Jackson, Betty and Margaret. Click here for further information.

It does seem that 2022 will see our social lives return to something close to normal. The BCAA Committee and the Advancement Office have a great programme of events for the alumni, including face to face events in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra (how novel!). So, keep a look out for your invitations.

I would like to thank the BCAA Committee for their diligent and intelligent assistance over lockdown 2021. We have made great progress improving our engagement with Alumni and to help Burgmann get set for its next 50 years. We have a terrific mix of committee members that cover four out of five of Burgmann’s decades (we’d welcome residents from this century’s first decade). What is great to see is the understanding of Burgmann culture is consistent over the years. If you are interested in getting involved with the Alumni Association or helping out with the overall engagement programme, please get in touch with us.

Matthew Lobb
President, Burgmann College Alumni Association
Alumnus 1989-1991

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