In just a few short weeks I will be celebrating yet another amazing trimester with the Griffith Mates. If you haven’t heard of the Griffith Mates before I am sure you would have seen us around on campus. We are the ones with the red and white shirts who you will always find laughing and just generally having a fantastic time.
So, what actually is a Griffith Mate?
We are a diverse group of students from all around the world who speak over 30 languages and volunteer our time to help create events and activities for both domestic and international students. Griffith Mates is an initiative by Griffith International and aims to be an experience that starts from before you arrive at Griffith all the way through to when you graduate.
Your journey with the Griffith Mates can be through a range of experiences and are based on the following phases:
Arrive: If you are an International Student you can opt for a welcome from Brisbane airport from the Griffith Mates, ensuring you have a friendly face from the very start of your university experience. We also set up a vast range of O-Week activities for everyone to get involved in from campus tours to our famous ‘Taste of Australia’ morning tea.
Participate: Throughout trimester we host a range of fun networking events, trivia nights, and feasts for you to get involved in. The best part is that these events are completely free for students, you get to make new friends and there is always plenty of prizes and free food! We also have some fantastic day trips, which at a small cost take you anywhere from Byron Bay to the Sunshine Coast.
Volunteer: We have a range of volunteering opportunities for students to get involved in during trimester. Whether you enjoy going to the beach and helping to keep it pristine or looking after our native forests we have something for you.
Lead: After you have been at Griffith University for a whole trimester you are eligible to apply to become one of the amazing Griffith Mates! Being a Griffith Mate is the most incredible experience. You will make friends for life, gain valuable real-life experience and improve your employment prospects while gaining essential cross cultural communication skills.
Every trimester spent with the Griffith Mates gets better and better. At the beginning of each year the new and existing Griffith Mates attend a training day which is followed by a two-day retreat. This year we headed up to Lake Moogera. Over the two days we participated in many activities including bush walking, raft building, team building, board games, talent shows and generally just a whole lot of fun! After the two days we had so many new friends and were hyped for the coming trimester.
All the action started in O-Week (which is one of the funnest weeks of trimester). The Griffith Mates are lucky enough to be a part of every aspect of O-Week and beyond. Your volunteer shifts during O-Week are diverse and you will always be working with others, making every moment feel like you are hanging out with your friends. Just some of the experiences that you can have as an orientation leader include the international student orientation, helping out in administration, taking people for campus tours, playing giant games, taking new students on twilight tours of Broadbeach and so, so much more.
Another possible position to have as a Griffith Mate is an Event Manager. Being an Event Manager is one of the most amazing experiences you can have at university. The idea may sound daunting to begin with, but once you get working on your event you will find out just how much fun it can be. Before our training day I was so overwhelmed with the idea that the success of an event was resting on my shoulders. But once I had met the people I would be working with and we were given comprehensive training on how to run the event I knew it would be fine. On the event day you have a group of Griffith Mates who help out as Event Assistants and ensure everything runs smoothly. The best part about being an event manager is seeing everything come together. There is nothing better than seeing how much the people who have attended your event are enjoying themselves and experiencing a moment of realisation after the event that you actually did it.
Some of the events you can manage include:
- The Universal Feast (Harmony week)
- International Trivia Night
- Global Connections Night
- Go Green with the Griffith Mates (Sustainability week)
If you don’t think being an event manager is for you there are so many other opportunities to get involved with during the trimester. If you have a passion for volunteering, you can be a student leader at either Beach Care or Bush Care throughout trimester. If you’d like to be a part of some of the events, you can be an Event Assistant (or just come along as a participant). I have been lucky enough to gain real-life experience in my degree area this past trimester as a Marketing and Communications Mate. There are also opportunities for paid work at various times throughout trimester and the possibility to attend workshops to improve your resume. Griffith Mates have the chance to participate in the Buddy Program as a Senior Buddy, where you meet up once a week with a new international student to foster social connections over a delicious free coffee. You will also make friends to last a lifetime.
Lastly, there are so many extra perks of being a Griffith Mate. Over the past couple of years Mates have been sponsored to attend conferences, participate in life changing networking opportunities (like meeting the Dalai Lama, no big deal…) and some have even received scholarships to head overseas to study.
Signing up to be a Griffith Mate is honestly one of the greatest decisions I have made while at university.
The Griffith Mates recruit new student leaders most trimesters so follow Griffith Mates on Facebook and keep an eye out for your chance to apply!
I’ll see you next trimester.