Overhead view of tents and stalls lined up outside the University of Sydney Quadrangle.

University of Sydney launches Welcome Program for 2024

7 February 2024
Baker Boy, Mallrat and comedy festival stars to headline
The annual celebration for students will draw thousands, with gigs by leading Australian artists and an array of big events.

The University of Sydney opens the academic year this week with a Welcome Program for students. With events held across all campuses, 45,000 people are expected to join the festivities.

The University of Sydney Union’s annual Welcome Fest (14-16 February) features live music from top Australian acts including Baker Boy and Mallrat, an exclusive Sydney Comedy Festival preview, student performances, more than 180 club and society stalls, food trucks, an outdoor cinema, freebies and more. 

The program is an opportunity for both new and continuing students to connect with their peers, take part in orientation events and learn about University life through activities and workshops.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, campus life has flourished at the University of Sydney, with an expanded Welcome Program drawing thousands of students to campus.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Mark Scott said it was an exciting time for the University community.

“It's always a pleasure to see our campuses full of students exploring everything the University has to offer,” he said. 

“University is a life-changing experience, in and out of the classroom. During our Welcome Program students have experiences that spark new interests and make connections that can shape the rest of their lives. As well as the fun and celebrations, it’s a time for us to make every student feel at home and give them access to the support they need to thrive at University.”

University is a life-changing experience, in and out of the classroom. During our Welcome Program students have experiences that spark new interests and make connections that can shape the rest of their lives.
Professor Mark Scott, Vice-Chancellor and President

University of Sydney Union (USU) President, Nazanin Sharifi, in her final year of a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws combined degree, said the student community was thrilled to be coming back together on campus.

University of Sydney Union (USU) President, Nazanin Sharifi

Nazanin Sharifi, USU President

“There’s a real sense that things are finally returning to normal after the disruptions of the past few years. The vibe and energy on campus is incredible,” she said. “Most of the Welcome Fest activities have been designed by students, for students. It’s an opportunity for the members of our University community to get to know each other and dive into various aspects of campus life, including hundreds of USU clubs and societies.

“At a time when a lot of students are struggling with the cost of living, USU continues to provide free food and other essential items at FoodHub. At Welcome Fest, attendees can expect free and subsidised meals across several USU food locations. This is part of USU’s wider commitment to support our members.”

Program highlights

Listening to Earth: a Deep Listening Experience
13-16 February, 10am-5pm, 17-18 February, 12-4pm, Chau Chak Wing Museum
Walk into a darkened room, lie down on a gently vibrating bench, close your eyes and listen to the sounds and vibrations of the sea, sand and wind. This sensory installation invites audiences to connect to their environment through sound. It is presented by the University’s sustainability team and created by composer Damien Ricketson, sound artist Diana Chester and artist Fausto Brusamolino.

The University’s Welcome Ceremony
14 February, 10am, main stage outside the Quad
Welcome Fest opens with a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony, an address by Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Mark Scott, a keynote address from Matildas football veteran Elise Kellond-Knight and student performances.

Welcome Fest: Main Stage
14-15 February, outside the Quad
Throughout the festival, the main stage will host live music and performances, including free gigs by Australian favourites Mallrat (14 February, 3pm) and Baker Boy (14 February, 4pm).

Clubs and societies
14-16 February, Welcome Fest stalls, Eastern Ave and front lawns 
There are hundreds of USU clubs and societies to help students make new friends and explore their interests. There is a club for everyone, from anime buffs to chocolate fanatics.

Sydney Comedy Festival preview
15 February, doors open from 6pm, Manning Bar
Before the Sydney Comedy Festival kicks off in April, Manning Bar will host an exclusive preview with a line-up of Australian and international stars. Discounted tickets for University of Sydney students.

Welcome Fest Outdoor Cinema
15 February, 5-9pm, outside the Quad
Watch Hayao Miyazaki’s animated classic, Spirited Away, under the stars at this free screening.

Student support
A range of activities and services will help new and returning students feel at home at the University, providing everything from academic support to wellbeing events and student safety workshops. Staff and senior students will offer help and advice at support hubs. Student ambassadors will be available to guide newcomers around campus. For new students, particularly those from outside Sydney, there are welcome parties as well as city and campus tours.

The Welcome Program runs until 15 March.

Media enquiries

Louise Schwartzkoff

Media Adviser (Central)

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