Summerfest ’24 – The biggest event of the year just got bigger

Image 1—Students at the entrance of the SummerFest venue Photograph by: Ibrahim Muan Abdulla

SummerFest 2024 concluded on March 1 after a successful two weeks of events and activities spanning the University of Melbourne's three campuses in Parkville, Southbank and Burnley.

SummerFest took off on February 19. The first week highlighted the commencement ceremonies, club expo and festivities on the Parkville campus. During the second week, SummerFest activities shifted to the Southbank and Burnley campuses. It concluded with the Start of the Uni Party (SoUP) and the inaugural afterparty at Bond Melbourne.

In an interview with Farrago, the President of UMSU Disha Zutshi highlighted that having students from Burnley campus join us in the SummerFest activities was very special.

However, the highlight of this year’s SummerFest is the SoUP held at the University from 5:00pm to 11:00pm and the afterparty, which took participants to Bond Melbourne and continued until  three o’clock in the morning.

SummerFest received a great response from students and different student bodies participating in the events. Disha stated that the Clubs Expo hosted over 200 clubs at the University of Melbourne over three days.

“It is a great opportunity for new students enrolling at the University of Melbourne to make friends and allows for a smooth transition into Uni,” she says.


Image 2 – Students gathered to watch a play. Photograph by: Ibrahim Muan Abdulla

Image 2 – Students gathered to watch a play. Photograph by: Ibrahim Muan Abdulla.


The expo boasted various clubs ranging from sporting and course-related clubs as well as spiritual, cultural, political and special interest clubs. In addition to the different clubs recruiting for members, UMSU hosted several events offering arts and crafts, host tours, free food, and games.

“The expansion of SummerFest activities to the Burnley campus this year saw a great response from students keen to know more about the different events and opportunities they have,” says Disha.

“As the student representatives, we want to let the student body know that every student feels included and welcome. The student unions represent the students: undergraduates, postgraduates, and all students studying at the University of Melbourne.”

While the Summerfest concluded successfully as a bigger event than ever, an event of such scale requires extensive planning and the contribution of numerous people.


Image 3 – Students gathered around club stalls. Photograph by: Ibrahim Muan Abdulla

Image 3 – Students gathered around club stalls. Photograph by: Ibrahim Muan Abdulla.


Disha highlighted that the SummerFest vision came true because of the combined efforts of multiple departments.

“Having trained and certified staff working throughout the event, with contributions from different departments of UMSU and student representatives working together,” she says.

Like all years at the SummerFest, this year was met with soaring high temperatures during its first week. The fourth day saw temperatures rise above 38 degrees and state-wide fire bans being put in place.

“UMSU prepared for the event, keeping an eye out and having backup plans to ensure in case something happens, no resources were hindered and we were prepared to make the necessary adjustments,” says Disha.

“With the rising temperatures the club expo and events were shifted to indoor venues at the Sidney Myer Asia Centre, Market Hall and the Student Pavilion.”

Despite the high temperatures, SummerFest this year recorded large crowds of students.

And it seems to have succeeded in paving the way for newly enrolled students to settle in and kick off their journey at the University of Melbourne.

When inquired about the future SummerFests and whether the change will be effective to hold SummerFest activities on Burnley campus in the future, Disha responded that it will always be in the interest of the student union to ensure every student feels included and to maintain an inclusive campus.

However, she stated that SummerFest varies each year, given that the themes and unique vision for Summerfest differs on account of the new UMSU president elected each year.


Image 4 – Students playing Formula 1 racing. Photograph by: Ibrahim Muan Abdulla. 

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