Words || Lachlan McGrath – SRC Treasurer
Conception day is Australia’s longest running music festival kicking off in 1969, since then it has been so many things to so many people, including mass streaking, gnome stealing and in 2003 set the World Record for Most Tequila Shots in a Row (1049). Evidently this festival commemorating our uni’s namesake despite his poor choice of birthday, has ensured that Macquarie has maintained its reputation as a uni like no other.
Unfortunately last year FAME was chosen to replace Conception Day due to the unacceptable amounts of drug and alcohol abuse that meant many students no longer felt that Conception Day catered to a variety of needs. Whilst FAME was only a band aid solution it meant until the uni decided what would happen long-term, the failure of FAME to be ‘an event’ more than something you look at as you walk between classes meant that the need for Conception Day was at the forefront of everyone’s minds. So what is there to do about it?
Myth: The SRC (then SAB) agreed to get rid of it.
Nah mate. The SRC at the time voted against removing Conception Day from the Uni calendar and has never wavered from this position.
So what can we do?
Whilst the FB Page ‘Bring Back Conception Day’ and related petitions seem like great options the truth is the uni will not listen to them. 500 signatures out of 40,000 students doesn’t look like much of an achievement and with no demonstrations or anything other than a FB page it hasn’t amounted to much. The uni isn’t going to listen to petitions unless it affects their bottom line and Conception Day will never be the deciding factor for that, so we need a new strategy.
As of mid-April the SRC have been meeting with the Organising Committee of Conception Day (the big-wigs who organise and run the day) about what the future of Maq’s social calendar should look like. We all agreed that FAME was shit and that we needed something different. On May 3rd the SRC hosted a town hall forum, we got the Organising Committee in a room with whoever wanted to be there to listen to what Conception Day means to Macquarie and why we should bring it back. This was the best opportunity to get the decision-makers to listen to and understand what Conception Day is really about. Instead of getting all 1199 FB Likers or the 500 people who’ve signed the petition we got about 10 non-SRC students. The argument we keep getting from the uni to not go back is that these 10 and those who want Conception Day back are the ‘noisy minority’ and we don’t need to worry too much.
The SRC will be hosting more town halls in the coming weeks in order to get the students who want to be heard the chance to be heard. We are also setting up a permanent Steering Committee made up entirely of students to work with the Organisers in making (whatever it’s called this year) look, smell and feel as much like Conception Day as we can. If we really want to bring back Conception Day we will have to work with the uni and be in the room where the decisions are being made.
I posted the offer to join the Steering Committee on the Bring Back Conception Day page and got 0 responses. If we don’t care about Conception Day enough to turn up to a few meetings we will never get it back. It’s time to stop being the noisy minority and start being the mobilised majority and it’s the only way we’ll get Conception Day back.
The next meeting will be on Friday the 20th May, location TBC
To keep up to date and for more information see the Macquarie University SRC Facebook page.