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Todd White at Willem Yaluk College, Waurn Ponds

16 February 2021

Meet Todd as he moves into the amazing new student digs at Waurn Ponds

Waurn Ponds is home to a fourth residential college and some brilliant new student facilities, following the recent opening of Willem Yaluk College.

Meaning ‘River home’ to the local Wadawurrung people, the new college has 320 bedrooms across 32 two-level townhouses, linked together with new recreation spaces – creating a sense of village, community and connectedness.

The Town Hall holds up to 300 residents for larger events, while the Village Green, adjacent to the new reception building, is the perfect place for residents to gather. 

Marion Bayley, General Manager Geelong and Head of Operations, is thrilled to see this particular project open in time for new and returning residents in 2021:

Waurn Ponds is known for its open spaces and low-level buildings, so this design was intended to maintain the small-town and village community ambiance. This new build is a wonderful and much-needed expansion, allowing us to accommodate and support more students to live on campus.

Getting to know the neighbours

We were on hand to meet one of the first residents of Willem Yaluk College, Todd White, as he settled into his new home.

Todd WhiteHi Todd! Where are you from and what course are you studying?

I’m from Warrnambool and I’m a second-year student studying a Bachelor of Health and Physical Education. 

How would you sum up your 2020 and what did you learn from such a challenging year?

Despite lacking many opportunities to socialise with friends and family, I was able to put my time and energy into different areas of life that may not have been possible if COVID didn’t have such a big impact. I learnt that to get through the pandemic it was important to stay connected with those we love, whether through Zoom or Facetime, and also recognised the importance of supporting local business as they are the hearts of our communities. 

How are you feeling coming back to uni, especially with the blend of online and on-campus study?

Last year I didn’t get the full experience of having classes on campus, so I’m excited to be able to get that chance this year. From the short three-week experience I had at the start of 2020, I noticed the campus resources and facilities were amazing. The library has an abundance of books that cater for all subjects, the equipment in the laboratories assisted us students in our learning, and if you’re feeling a bit peckish there is the option to get food from the cafe near Student Central. 

What made you choose Deakin?

Deakin appealed to me more than other universities as it takes great pride in ensuring all students get the greatest educational experience possible, equipping us with the skills we need for the future. The location in Waurn Ponds is also a bonus – only a 15-minute drive into the city centre and a 20-minute drive to the beaches if you enjoy a nice day out along the coast. 

Residential students at the Town hall on Waurn Ponds CampusWhy did you decide to live on Res and what are your first impressions of your new home?

Living on Res is a great opportunity to meet so many people from all walks of life, and from this experience you get to make lifelong friends. The culture on Res is very welcoming and inclusive to everyone, and they aim to promote the RESPECT values for all to live by.

Getting to live in the new Willem Yaluk College buildings is very exciting, and I’m sure those moving onto Res will agree it’s a great place to be part of. 

Do you have any worries about living communally, even in a COVIDSafe environment?

The great thing about living on Res is, no matter the circumstances, the Campus Life team will always try to create a safe, nurturing environment. Even though we may be living communally with other people, our safety is most important. The COVIDSafe environment means we can continue to thrive academically and create everlasting memories with one another. 

Interested in living on Res? Places are filling fast!

Applying for on-campus accommodation at Deakin is easy. Our step-by-step guide will help you through the process and give you the best chance of snagging a spot. 

There are still places available at Burwood, Geelong and Warrnambool, so if you haven’t got your Trimester 1 accommodation sorted yet, secure your spot now.

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