If you’re moving out of home for the first time, College is a great way to make the transition to independence. Meeting people is easier while caring staff are there to help out. You’re within walking distance of class and won’t have to worry about cooking meals or household chores – so you can concentrate on your studies and make the most of University life. Find the right college for you
St Hildas College: Layla Maloney (Gumbaynggirr/Koonganji/South Sea Islander Descent)
St Hilda’s is a college centered around community. The size makes it adequate for everyone to know each other, but also small enough to have space. It has a reputation around the crescent as being competitive at sports and very engaged with communal activities (celebration events/dinners, ball, social events hosted by college). Most of the students are rural Victoria, but there's a lot from interstate and a good number of overseas students.
The students really set the vibe and influence administration in how they want College to be run in terms of academic support, social events and accommodation.
Currently, there's low numbers of Indigenous students at St Hilda's, so it would be great to have more and more mob come through. In 2016, they had the first Indigenous student and I was the second. The College is making a strong effort to learn how to support us and what it means to have Indigenous students. Recently, our new principal – Brenda Holt - put in an Indigenous Allowance for the students here.
St Hilda's does renovations annually. The buildings are modern. In first year, you have a room with a sink connected to another room and share a bathroom with the people on your floor. Second year, you get a shared bathroom with one of your friends. Third year, you get a massive king with an ensuite and kitchenette. Post- Graduates have apartments on ends of the blocks. Food caters for every dietary requirement. There's always a chef on duty. The food is usually above average. During SWOTVAC and mid semester breaks they spoil students with brunches, morning teas and really great food. There's also a pancake machine at breakfast (most days)
Janet Clarke Hall: Eleanor McCormack (Trawlwoolway) Vice-President of the JCH student club
Janet Clarke Hall is a wonderful and welcoming academic college at the University of Melbourne. We are a small college with only 96 students with 8 residential tutors.
While we are known for our strong academic reputation, we also participate in sports, cultural events, and leadership.
The best thing about Janet Clarke Hall is undoubtedly the College culture - with such a small population we are basically a family. We are without cliques or hazing, we value respect and friendship. With a group of highly motivated and ambitious young people, you are bound to make friends for life.
I would recommend this college to Indigenous students because our student population is incredibly diverse and open minded. This year we have 6 Indigenous students and have done activities for NAIDOC week with the rest of the student population. The college has been incredibly supportive of our push for more Indigenous events at college. Although not exclusive to Indigenous students, financial support is available with over half of our population on a scholarship or bursary.
The college is comprised of a single building which fosters community and makes facilities more accessible. We have 3 meals and afternoon tea every day and 24/7 access to the college library and tutorial rooms. We have a heritage listed tennis court and included membership to the university gym - which is elite athlete friendly. Our rooms are all similar in size and relatively large.
Queen’s College: Ethan Savage (Kaantju/Girramay/Badu/Japanese)
Queen’s College is a supportive, dynamic community where individual’s from all walks of life come together to study and connect with each other. The students at Queen’s are some of the most passionate people you will ever meet - from award-winning debaters, football players, artists, and all-rounders, everyone is driven to succeed and achieve their best. There is never a day where you don’t have someone to hang out, relax, or chat to and this contributes to a great sense of pride held by every single resident at Queen’s College.
The best thing about Queen’s is our autonomy as a student cohort from the administration of the College - this is known as the Sugden Tradition. Introduced when Queen’s was first established in 1887, the student club is run by the students for the students. We take immense pride in this tradition as it gives us the opportunity to organise and run events that are directly for the residents and can positively benefit our community.
I would most definitely recommend Queen’s College to Indigenous students - the College has recently revamped our Reconciliation Action Plan and has created a culturally safe space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Our Reconciliation Action Plan ensures support for Indigenous students, whether this be financial, pastoral, or academic, to allow Indigenous students to achieve the best that they can, all of the time. We also have a dedicated Indigenous Student Support Officer - a fellow resident at the College who students are able to go to for support if they ever feel stressed, homesick, or wish to just have a chat. On top of this, the Indigenous students at the College feel extremely supported by each other, non-Indigenous residents, and the administration of the College. We create spaces for dialogue between Indigenous and non-indigenous people and everyone is welcoming and supportive of our rich culture.
Queen’s College has over 250 residents meaning that we have a lot of space. Rooms vary, but every room has enough room to store all of your things, a bed, and a desk. Residents are able to decorate their rooms as they wish and this really helps with being away from home. We have an extensive library collection that is available 24/7 and a great kitchen where all meals are provided for. With hot breakfast every day of the week, lunch and dinner have that great homely taste to them. We also call our building ‘the Castle’ - it includes a tower that looks out over the city and surrounds that is very picturesque. Students are able to access this area to study and relax. Also, the main building which houses roughly 200 students is all connected, meaning that there is no need to walk outside to visit your friends and other areas of the College.
Trinity College: Will Smith (Wiradjuri/English)
Trinity is filled with wonderful people, amazing facilities and so many avenues to social and academic pathways. Trinity is like a 300 person share house where everything is shared. From our dining area, to our bathrooms, from our clothes to our stories. Most of the people at trinity are like minded individuals who want to do well academically, but also, create a lasting and sustaining social network for their time spent at university.
The best thing about trinity is its social networking. Being at Trinity has allowed me to make a numerous number of friends that I think will last for long time, even after I’ve left University. As a very social person, the ability to join different sporting teams, societies and other groups is great so I would say those are the best things about college. Also, the fact that you are in the heart of the city and on the door step of the university makes life pretty easy too.
I would absolutely recommend Trinity to future Indigenous students. Currently, Trinity has the largest cohort of Indigenous student. In addition, there is an Indigenous support officer role at Trinity that supports all the indigenous students. The wonderful TAMM (Indigenous Student Support Officer) does an amazing job at organising cultural activities, information sessions and other extracurricular activities that allow us to bond and have fun away from University. Trinity is also very culturally understanding and the mob we have is always around and willing to say hi and have a yarn.
Trinity offers a lot of support for Indigenous students. As I mentioned, TAMM does a fantastic job at supporting the Indigenous mob. She is always around to read of essays, have a chat about anything and organises plenty of meet ups and activities for us. In addition to TAMM, all the other Indigenous students at college are always around willing to offer support or have a chat about anything.
The first-year rooms are pretty small; however, I don’t think a larger room would be necessary as it has everything you need. A pretty large desk, a sizeable wardrobe, a bed and a mini fridge. Honestly, the second and third year rooms seem great, but my room even as a first year is big and humble enough to house me. In terms of food, it’s consistently good. Breakfast and Lunch are fantastic as you always have the options of a normal meal (for the lack of a better word) and the vegan/vegetarian meals. Also, the salad bar has a huge variety of salads for a sandwich and there’s always fruit hanging around. Finally, all the buildings are beautiful. With a mix between old and new architecture, day and night trinity really comes to life, so wherever your situated to live, I’m sure you enjoy your room and more importantly your time at trinity.
Ormond College: Patrick Mercer
I remember how it felt to go from high school to university. I went from an environment I knew to a completely different planet – a new city and lifestyle with fresh opportunities, responsibilities, expectations. For me, I’m not sure how I would have fared without the support of a college community around me.
Having been a student at Ormond College for 4 years, I can attest for its vibrant, supportive community. It is a community driven by a mantra of “making a disproportionate difference”; it is a community that truly fosters and develops the talents, passions and leadership of its members.
Ormond is the largest residential college at the University of Melbourne and is equipped with the services and facilities to bring out the best in its students. Students are entitled to regular tutorials with knowledgeable, helpful academics, and the College boasts two well-resourced 24-hour libraries. Weekly forums, led by tutors and passionate students, cover a range of topics, such as poetry, science, current affairs, women’s and men’s business, economics and philosophy.
Uni can be a stressful and challenging time – at Ormond, you can surround yourself with an excellent support network, made up of counsellors, chaplains, academic support staff and student leaders. Ormond also has an Indigenous Program, led by the Freemantle Fellow, Sofia Rios, who does an excellent job of supporting Indigenous students and ensuring that the College upholds its Reconciliation Action Plan. Ormond has a vibrant Indigenous cohort and is a culturally supportive environment in which non-Indigenous students are encouraged to explore the true history of Australia, and take part in reconciliation efforts at College, at University, and in the wider community.
Ormond buzzing community offers endless opportunities to explore your passions, try new things, hone your skills. Regular social events, such as balls, dinners and smokos (parties), as well as the Junior Common Room (equipped with its own bar and café) will help you make friends in no time. If you enjoy sport, Ormond both has successful and competitive teams in sports such as AFL, Rowing, Squash, Basketball, Netball and Rugby Union, as well as “Magoos” social sides for those looking for a more relaxed competition. For musos, Ormond has a number of music practice spaces, including a fully equipped band room, and regular opportunities to perform, such as at open mic nights, and the annual Rockoff and Pickenfest events. Aspiring writers are encouraged to contribute to the Ormondian, the College’s magazine, and Ormond Papers, an annual, peer reviewed journal put together by Ormond students.
My experience of Ormond has been that it is a community where you are supported to become the person you want to be – given every opportunity to be your own person, and to develop qualities that will serve you beyond your University years. I hope to see you mob in 2019!
Medley Hall: Shanysa McConville (Eastern Arrernte)
Medley Hall is the smallest of the University of Melbourne's residential colleges. Located approximately 10 minutes from the Parkville campus, this college provides students with a home perfectly located between the university and the CBD. Location is one of the best things about Medley. You can go around the corner to the beautiful Carlton Gardens, pop one block over to Lygon Street for amazing food, or walk 5 minutes into the city and be at Melbourne Central.
Despite housing less than 100 students, Medley Hall has a large Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population who form the 'Black Griffins'. Indigenous students can choose to engage with this group, who provide regular catch-up sessions to offer support, inform students of upcoming events, and run social events such as Black Comedy screenings. Medley is a great place to network with fellow Indigenous students, many of whom have travelled interstate to attend university. This network provides lots of support, especially for first year students who are adjusting to living in a new environment.
The main building of Medley Hall houses majority of its students, who are spread over three floors. Individual rooms feature a single bed, desk, chairs, and cupboard with lots storage space. The longer you remain in residence at this college, the larger the room you are allocated. There are five communal bathrooms on each floor, as well as small kitchenettes (featuring a table and chairs, fridge, sink, microwave, kettle, and crockery). This year Medley Hall opened a new building across the road, Cydelia House, which provides housing for 15 graduate and Indigenous undergraduate (2nd year +) students. This is a space for more independent students, who are focused on their study and can opt in to events in the main building.
The kitchen is located in the main building and provides 3 meals a day, with cereals and milk left out at all times. Medley is renowned as the 'vegetarian college of the University of Melbourne'. Meat is only served at dinner twice a week, with any leftovers served for lunch the next day. Despite this environmental decision, majority of the college is not vegetarian. The adjustment to a vegetarian diet can be a smooth transition, however there is a student kitchen in the 'games room' should you feel the need to cook any extra meals.
Medley Hall provides a spacious music room, featuring a grand piano, for students to practice their musical talents. There is also a small library, study rooms, printing facilities, pool table, ping pong table, games room, bike shed and laundry. Medley also has a tutoring program, bringing in external tutors most weeknights for select classes taken by students. There are also events throughout the year run with Janet Clarke Hall to give students a chance to network with the smallest college from the crescent.
I would recommend Medley Hall to Indigenous students who are looking for a homey environment in a smaller college away from the busy social schedule provided at other residences.