aa

Western’s Bachelor of Entrepreneurship student takes on the world of VR with resilience and creativity

Third-year WSU student gets a head start in the gaming development industry through his entrepreneurship degree. ...

Alex Figar: “if I really wanted to work in the industry there was I good chance I’d have to create my own opportunities”

3rd year student Alex Figar is the Founder of Big Island Games and Co-Founder of Games Go West. Through the Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (Games Design and Simulation) he’s currently developing several games including Interstellar Exploration, Poly Planets and a VR Co-op Game. 


Alex’s product closest to launch is a board game called Volcanic Vacation.

“The reason I went with the Bachelor of Entrepreneurship was because I was aware of how hard the industry was to get in to and that if I really wanted to work in the industry there was I good chance I’d have to create my own opportunities,” says Alex.

This degree at WSU is an innovative approach to training the next generation of high impact entrepreneurs by providing knowledge and developing practical skills. Over the last year Alex moved into the games industry, specifically working on virtual reality and augmented reality projects

“At the end of high school, I knew I wanted to do game development, however when looking at different courses it was quite hard to find one that I wanted to enrol in. Most university game development courses looked pretty similar and had a lot of graduates who couldn’t find work due to the competitive nature of the industry,” he said.

The program aims to guide students through all phases of their entrepreneurship journey: from forming a team to helping with pitching their ideas to potential investors and developing strategies for obtaining funding. For Alex, it allowed him to discover how to build his own opportunities in a competitive industry.

“I do believe that I wouldn’t even be considering starting my own game studio right now had I not done the Bachelor of Entrepreneurship. Learning not to be scared of failure is probably the biggest change. Failure is part of learning and in the past, it has stopped me from ever finishing anything,” says Alex.

 


An exclusive preview of the early prototype of Interstellar Explorations from 2018. Source: Alex Figar

As part of the Bachelor of Entrepreneurship students learn about product development, legalities and ethics, financing, operations, funding and start-ups, and growth and exit strategies. They also gain access to real-world placement opportunities in incubators, technology parks and innovation centres. For more information on Alex’s projects check out his digital portfolio.

 

 

aa

Lithgow Campus: Reimagined for 2021

What happened to the Lithgow Campus and where is it now?...

Lithgow Campus: Reimagined for 2021

What happened to the Lithgow Campus and where is it now?

The Entrance of the Lithgow Campus Indicates its History

Photo Courtesy of WSU

 

Do you remember the Lithgow Campus? Did you know that it closed? Do you know that it’s back? Many students remember the Lithgow branch of Western Sydney University as The College, but this simple campus has had a world class revamp.

 

The Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra Lithgow Transformation Hub is the newest addition to the university’s portfolio of campuses. It is designed to allow for collaboration between the Lithgow Community and Western Sydney University. It is located in the Charles Hoskins Memorial Institute building on Mort Street and has opened to the public in May of 2021.

 

“Lithgow is only 1hr 15 mins by car from our Penrith or Hawkesbury campuses or a two-hour train ride from Penrith.”- Deb Barton

 

A photo from the opening of the Western Sydney University Transformation Hub

Photo by Sally Tsoutas via WSU

 

Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover AO mentions the meaning of the campus, “In Wiradjuri language, Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra translates to ‘Workmanship together, side by side’ – a fitting name for the Hub, given its intent to create a space where the Lithgow community can continue to come together with the University, share knowledge and resources, and work together towards a sustainable and thriving future.”

 

Associate Professor Crabtree-Hayes states the future for the hub, as they mention “In the Hub, we envisage a space where local students can come to use our state-of-the-art technology or Wi-Fi, or find a co-working or study space; while professionals and business-owners can use the Hub for their conferences, gatherings, meetings, events, residencies, exhibitions or pop-up labs.”

 

© OpenStreetMap contributors

 

Deb Barton is the manager of the the Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra Lithgow Transformation Hub.

 

“Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra is a Wiradjuri term which broadly translates to Working together side by side. This reflects the purpose for the Hub which acts as a place for the Community, Governments, Business and Industry to come together to explore the range of possibilities for the region as it starts to make the transition to a low carbon economy.” says Barton.

 

She additionally mentions that the goals of the hub include: “Gateway to Wiradjuri, education for life, health and wellbeing, and the Lithgow Sprint.”

 

The Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra Lithgow Transformation Hub is Located in Lithgow

Photo Courtesy of WSU

 

Many students wondered about the campus’s disappearance and re-appearance. Deb Barton informed W’SUP News that pathway courses stopped at the end of 2018, and that there was community consultation as to what they wanted to see operating out of the space in 2019. The opening of the Hub was delayed due to COVID-19 but was eventually able to open in early 2021.

 

Student may also be wondering “Why choose Lithgow?” Deb Barton informed W’SUP that there were opportunities for the University to continue add value in Lithgow and it has the space that leant into the concept of Transformation. Although Lithgow is a regional community, it has recently started to economically align itself with Western Sydney. There are also many academics already working and researching in the area.

 

Barton assures readers that “Lithgow is only 1hr 15 mins by car from our Penrith or Hawkesbury campuses or a two-hour train ride from Penrith.”

 

Exterior of the Lithgow Campus before it was turned into the Transformation Hub

Photos Courtesy of TKD Architects

 

When asked what she would like students to know about the hub, Barton said: “We would love for students to engage with us as Ambassadors to raise aspiration for people of all ages in the Lithgow region about the value of undertaking tertiary education.

Alternatively, we would like students to consider coming to Lithgow for their work placement activities or considering the area as part of research they are undertaking.

If (university) students are in the area – call in and say hi, we would be happy to show you around.”

 

Deb Barton would also like to re-enforce that the campus is also accessible to the wider community. “The Hub is a safe and welcoming space for all community to come together. For any students living locally and studying on-line we have some computers and spaces available for quiet study or to connect face to face with other people.”

 

If you plan to travel to the campus, secure parking is available on sight. Additionally, Lithgow Train Station is nearby, with the 200 Bus taking you directly to the campus.

 

The Lithgow Hub is currently seeking expressions of interest for collaborations. It is currently located at 154 Mort St, Lithgow NSW 2790 and the contact number is (02) 6354 4505.

 

Editor’s note: Thank you to Deb Barton for her interview and for all her work with the Lithgow Campus.

aa

Sebastian Florian Guzman: “We shouldn’t have to waste in our economy, that’s what got me inspired behind this university”

Sebastian is a WSU student studying a Bachelor of Economics. At 23 years old, he is inspired to educate the university student body on the dangers of ...

Sebastian is a WSU student studying a Bachelor of Economics. At 23 years old, he is inspired to educate the university student body on the dangers of microplastics, and the several projects behind further investigating it’s effect on the environment. Interviewed by former W’SUP editor, Dania Roumieh, Sebastian shares his research on microplastics to raise awareness of the several ways microplastics affect organisms and the environment.

What was the inspiration to join the Sustainability Education team?

“As an economics student, you’re always involved with these concepts, that everything is limited. So, we like to study, ‘how can we use these resources in the best possibly way’. So, from that principle, I’ve been interested about sustainability. I had the opportunity to do these units about circular economy, which is related to sustainability.

Sebastian at WSU (Credit: Sebastian Florian Guzman)

Circular economy says that everything should be reused – our clothes, plastic bottles, everything should be reused. We shouldn’t have to waste in our economy, that’s what got me inspired behind this university”.

How are microplastics impacting our environment today?  

“Microplastics are small particles of plastic, less than five millimetres in size. They aren’t visible to the naked eye. You find these microplastics in cosmetics too. It affects us all because when micro-plastics are going to rivers or oceans and small plants too. The small fish eat this, and the big fish eat the smaller fish, right?

Figure 2: Sebastian during his project (Credit: (Credit: Sebastian Florian Guzman)

When animals eat these microplastics, it affects their body. So, when the microplastics are in the ocean, they absorb chemicals that you can find in the environment. So, the microplastic enters the food chain, and we will end up consuming.

It not only affects the fish in the ocean, but the consequences of those microplastics have in our body is a huge issue. Like when we wash our clothes, we put it in the washing machine, and this is like one of the biggest principal resources of microplastics. We can find microplastics in our clothes because of the synthetic materials like nylon.

Once our clothes are in the washing machine, these fibred from our own clothes go into the waterways and all end up in the oceans. How can we fight this problem or avoid these problems? It’s not that difficult. We can use bag filters for our washing machines, they’re a little bit expensive but worth it”

Figure 3: Research in progress (Credit: Sebastian Florian Guzman)

What do you say to the WSU student body regarding this project?

“I would like to tell everyone to educate themselves about microplastics because I know that many people have never heard of this before. I studied and read up on all these facts, and researched microplastics with the university. It’s a very important topic to discuss and research about”

Figure 4: Sebastian and his research team (Credit: Sebastian Florian Guzman)

 

aa

COVID culture: Which zoom student are you?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have slowly seen a COVID Culture come to life. A key aspect of this new way of life is Zoom meetings, which ha...
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have slowly seen a COVID Culture come to life. A key aspect of this new way of life is Zoom meetings, which has been a strange new experience for all of us. There are so many types of Zoom students, but which one are you?

The icebreaker

Easily the most important member of the class. There’s absolutely nothing worse than when the tutor puts a question to the group, but ten seconds of awkward silence ensues as no one knows the answer, or simply not brave enough to turn on their mic. But then, luckily the icebreaker steps in to save the day, knowing just what to say to keep the class flowing.

The virtual background maestro

There’s always one. Every class has that one meme expert who finds new ways to raise the tutor’s eyebrow every lesson with comical, virtual backgrounds. Some personal favourites of mine include The Office interview room and the distracted boyfriend meme.

The slow wi-fi victim

This one is always painful to watch. Their camera lags, their microphone cuts out, their voice begins to sound like a robot. It’s worse when the tutor’s connection is poor, and no one has the guts to say anything, so the class just sit in silence *queue the crickets*.

The ghost

One of the greatest mysteries in every class. A student who is there, but both their camera and microphone is turned off. To top it off, there is no profile picture. They’re just a name, or sometimes only an initial, lurking in the shadows.

The late riser

I think we’ve all been there at least once or twice (or a few times). You were up late last night smashing out assignments and now have an early morning class. You set yourself ten alarms but that’s still not enough to get you up. So, you attend class laying in the comfort of your sheets while rocking your best bed hair and pyjamas.

The foodie

Comparable to that one person who brings hot chips on a train carriage. Every now and then you’ll be sitting in a Zoom class, starving as you think about what you’ll be eating afterwards. Then, to rub salt in the wounds, another student unashamedly whips out a gourmet lunch. Just cruel.

The early bird

There’s nothing quite as nerve-racking as when you jump onto your Zoom tutorial a bit earlier for a change and no one else has signed in yet. You are overcome with questions and self-doubt. “Do we have a week off? Did I click the wrong link?” But then relief washes over you as the early bird swoops in to ease your nerves.

The pet parent

An absolute must for brightening the mood in a long, early morning lecture. It’s just so wholesome when a class is interrupted by a dog or a cat curling up next to a student mid-class. “Hey mum, can I do a Zoom with you?”

aa

Uni tips and tricks: for all of you first years

Ah, autumn. The season of change, with your cool weather, jumpers for days and the reminder that Easter is right around the corner. And a new year of ...

Ah, autumn. The season of change, with your cool weather, jumpers for days and the reminder that Easter is right around the corner. And a new year of university to be kicked off.

Students can finally sign our campus names on the WSU rants page rather than ‘Zoom Campus’. But if you enjoyed the forced online learning, you do you. Those who have a cat or needy pets understand the pain, and therefore, online does not work for us.

But back to the topic at hand – the point of this article is to welcome the first-years or students who have transferred from other schools to Western Sydney. And what better way to welcome them than to teach them how to cheat the system?

Yes, that is right! You can cheat, although not academically, at uni.

But how, you might ask? This article will guide the new children into saving what little money they have (cause let us face it, we’re ALL poor), and making the most out of their new academic life.

Campus Life: Photo taken by Tileah Dobson

Free breakfast

The student council offers free breakfast for students throughout the semester on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. You can grab some toast, cereal or cheese toasties between 08:30 am – 10:30 am. However, their locations differ for each campus.

Hawkesbury campus

Chatwells L2 Café (Building L2)
Piccolo me – Building K4 (Stable Square)

Kingswood campus
Piccolo Me – Building T, Campus Library
Three Cows – Building O, Food Hub

Campbelltown campus

Jamaica Blue (Building 2)

Bankstown campus
Chartwells Coffee Shop – Building 1
Oliver Brown – Building 1

Parramatta South
Chartwells Bakehouse (Building ER)
Chartwells Boilerhouse (Building EKB)
Oliver Brown (Building EG)
Piccolo Me (Building EA)

Liverpool
Academic Café (Ground floor of the campus)

Parramatta City
Chambers Coffee Shop (1PSQ)
Piccolo me (1PSQ)

If you have any questions regarding this freebie, you can contact the student experience officer, Larissa Baker through her email.
Note: Free breakfast is not available during mid semester break (April 27-29)

Student Parking

For those who prefer to drive to school, there is student parking available. They run from the 1st December each year and are available to be purchased in early January. The prices vary depending on which permit you purchase:

  • Pay and Display one-day parking permit at Parramatta South – $9
  • All other campuses – $7
  • Half Year General Yellow parking permit
    student – $47
  • Annual General Yellow parking permit
    student – $94

Now, if you want to save coins where you can, you’d be better off not purchasing a permit and not driving to campus if you can. Despite paying the permit, you’re not guaranteed a parking spot. This then makes you question why to bother in the first place, then you get mad at yourself, and the uni and life in general.

It’s a sad spiral down to madness. And it’s your first year, and you have the rest of your degree to become madder than the hatter. But fret not, there is another solution:

Shuttle buses/student opal cards

The uni offers free shuttle buses for students who travel via public transport. You can track where the bus schedule is, the route it takes and how long until it arrives through the Shuttle Tracker on the Western Sydney Uni app.

Yes, it may take a little longer to get to school if you take the shuttle bus but think of the money you’ll save! And you can meet new people whilst you wait for the bus to arrive.

Apply for a student concession card and opal card for reduced rates.

However, please note that at the moment, wearing a facemask on shuttle buses is mandatory. Since we can’t exactly maintain social distancing on them, be a pal and cover it up.

Western Sydney Uni App: Photo by Tileah Dobson

Western Sydney University’s App

If you have a smartphone device, download the free Western Sydney Uni app. This little thing can make it easier to find all necessary information. From the shuttle bus, to clubs, directories and even check your student email. It’s convenient and most importantly: free.

Textbooks

In your first year, online textbooks are free. Save your money and don’t buy any of them. After your first year, then you can try and borrow the textbooks from the library or download Adobe Digital, a free software, that enables to you download the textbook for free. Catch is, it’s only available for 24 hours and then gets deleted. But you can download it again afterwards.

Or, if you do want to buy the textbook, by a second hand one from https://studentvip.com.au/wsu/textbooks. They buy textbooks from graduating students or students who don’t need them anymore and sell it cheaper. A great way to commercially support one and another while not letting your wallet cry too much.

WesternLife

A great little hub that offers a variety of services. From checking in on your mental health, joining clubs, assisting online students and updating you on all upcoming events at the university. Take advantage of this service, you won’t be disappointed.

Queer room

A safe place established by the Queer Collective for students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or other sex/gender identities. A great place to make friends in this inclusive environment and there is one located on every campus.

Bankstown
1.1.212

Campelltown
4.G.07

Hawkesbury
K4.G.100

Parramatta South
EB.3.16

Parramatta City
1.1.37

Penrith (Kingswood)
N.G.12

Women’s room

The women’s room is maintained by the Women’s Collective, and provides a safe space for all the ladies to use as a study room, breastfeeding, meetings or women’s events. There is a women’s room on every campus. The lovely ladies at the Women’s Collective also engage in events to support those who have experienced violence – sexual, mental, physical or emotional in nature. Also, free pads – because who says no to that kind of freebie?

Bankstown
2.G.08 (via 2.G.12)

Campelltown
2.2.05

Hawkesbury
K4.G.74

Parramatta (South)
EB.G.16

Parramatta (City)
1.1.33

Penrith (Kingswood)
N.G.13

TalkCAMPUS

Another free app for you. University life can be overwhelming and often leave you feeling like you’re drowning or overwhelmed. Especially if you’re moving from being the big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a very large (and often confusing) pond. Never sacrifice your mental health for a grade. Yes, you’re at university to get a degree and open your career path. But at the end of the day, you still need to look out for the most important thing in life: Yourself.

TalkCAMPUS is a 24/7 app that allows students to chat with each under anominity. It’s a great way to vent to someone who’s been in your shoes and support fellow students. It’s even avaible in 25 languages for our international students.

Student Discounts

What comes with the title of a student, are the discounts. Find whatever discount you can and use it. Spotify offers student discounts, UNiDAYS offers exclusive deals for students, as does a variety of food outlets. Don’t be afraid to ask if there is one.

These are all of the tips and tricks that many of us wish we knew in our first year at school. So this is us from 2nd year and above passing down our nuggets of wisdom to you, the fresh batch of students. Welcome to Western Sydney University!

aa

Dear Minister, HECS is a necessity

Open letter to the Minister for Education, the Hon. Dan Tehan MP...

Open letter to the Minister for Education, the Hon. Dan Tehan MP

Dear Mr Tehan,

The recent legislation to axe the student HECS loan for students who fail 50 per cent of their units in their first year of university is an ill-judged decision. Most students in Australia rely on the benefit of being able to complete a higher education without the added pressure of paying their fees simultaneously.

Hence at a time where many are affected financially, with no foresight as to when the situation will ease, a decision like this can be a catalyst for increased worry and anxiety.

Choosing your course and commencing university can already be a hard step for many. Some are fresh out of HSC, some are mature age students who have children and spouses to care for, and many are international students who are just finding their feet in a newly foreign country. First year students do not need to be on edge of fear of having the rug pulled from under them.

In your media release, it is mentioned that the changes are to ensure whether a student was “academically suited” to their course on an ongoing basis. For myself, this takes me back to when I was in school and I had to remain in what my teachers confined me to based on my performance.

The truth is, if I had chosen to change my course in my first two years of university, I know I would have regretted it. My grades were nowhere to what they are now, but it is passion that has allowed me to excel, not my IQ. University shouldn’t just be about what you’re smartest at, but what your biggest passion is. It is the beginning of a journey that is aimed at taking you to your prime location; your career, and we should be uplifting students to do what they love. Not punish them for their shortcomings.

We understand that there have been some ingenuine students when it comes to the seriousness of their enrolment, but how great is this number compared to the majority of resilient students who are defying all obstacles to complete their degrees. Through this legislation, the Department of Education is stigmatising failure, rather than creating an open space for students. Ministers and universities need to address the core reasons behind it.

If I may, I would like to respectfully, on behalf of the many upcoming hard-working and resilient students, ask that you rethink this legislation. We are at a point where two in five school leavers enrol in higher education. We hope not to see a regression in this and continue to see an increase in university alumni across Australia.

Warm regards,

A university student