Last week’s Welcome Festival saw a serious departure from 2016’s infamous O-Week heatwave and the drier weather of previous orientation weeks. Those that attended the festival were, however, undeterred by the relentless torrent. Flocks of wide-eyed first years waited in long lines, stocking up on free merchandise, collecting tote bags filled with stationery and other mementos. Honi can now reveal who was behind the most popular tote bags at the 2019 Welcome Festival.
Over one hour, Honi tallied the brands and quantity of tote bags which passed the Honi stall on the centre of Eastern Avenue. The total sample size was 300.
There were, of course, limitations to this sample. The total dataset may not be entirely representative, capturing students who traversed Eastern Avenue, but not the Gadigal walkway. No measures were taken to ensure students would not be counted twice.
In addition, the quantity of tote bags given out is not exactly an exhaustive illustration of a club’s popularity. Several of campus’ largest clubs, including the Sydney University Law Society (SULS) and Sydney Arts Students Society (SASS) did not provide totes in 2019.
This year’s Welcome Festival played host t0 56 corporate stalls. Among them, fresh off the heels of the Banking Royal Commission and a recent history of exploiting low youth financial literacy during the Dollarmites scandal, was the Commonwealth Bank (CBA). CBA took the lead amongst all the corporate stalls with 35% of tote bags bearing the CBA’s trademark yellow.
Westpac and the Bank of China as well as a foreign exchange investment and trading organisation, ECN Trade, were also in attendance, no doubt to provide students with the necessary funds to own property by talking to the suited ambassadors at the PW Realty and Landstar Australia stalls.
Taking the bronze in the pool of corporate tote bag providers was Student Super, an organisation headed by Andrew Maloney, who also runs StudentVIP and the Lost on Campus app.
Across the Manning Road divide, and on Eastern Avenue, student representative organisations including the SRC passed out the most tote bags with 91, far exceeding the USU’s 27.
Behind the SRC was USyd Women, a group recently formed by Gabi Stricker-Phelps (Shake Up) and Crystal Xu (Panda) who were both elected Wom*n’s Officers in a historic breach of the Wom*n’s Collective’s autonomy.
China is the largest source of the University’s international student community. Naturally there has been a commensurate rise in Chinese student services. Amongst the corporate stalls were the Australian Chinese Overseas Student Association, Australian Chinese Student Association and the Australian Federation of Chinese International Students.
With Welcome Week now over, it remains to be seen whether these clubs and corporates will continue to resonate with first-years or whether the pressures of semester will reduce these mementos to memories of a stress-free, pre-semester dream.
Here’s the full breakdown:
Most popular club totes
SRC – 91, 46%
USyd Women – 63, 31%
SUPRA – 11, 6%
FMAA – 8, 4%
UNIT – 5, 3%
SUBSKI – 4, 2%
Medsoc – 4, 2%
Greeksoc – 4, 2%
Evangelical Union – 3, 1%
Wildlife Society – 2, 1%
Most popular corporate totes
CBA – 174, 35%
First Day / Gao Jia Ma Gua – 76, 15%
Student Super – 51, 10%
IKEA – 44, 9%
Unilodge – 43, 9%
One Stop Online Chinese Shop – 33, 7%
USU – 27, 6%
U Sleep U Die – 18, 4%
Compass Global Education and Immigration – 15, 3%
Central Park Mall – 11, 2%