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Higher Education News from the Collegiate Way

These news items about residential colleges, collegiate houses, and the renewal of university life are posted for readers of the Collegiate Way website. For more about residential colleges and collegiate universities please visit the main Collegiate Way page.

Basser College at UNSW: Hogwarts Down Under?

— The residential college idea is becoming familiar to more and more students by way of the magical world of Harry Potter, as noted on these pages before. Just as the collegiate way of living is global in its reach, so also is the reach of the Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, and students from many countries around the world are taking note of and delighting in the parallels.

[Basser College arms]This past week I came across a weblog post by a Malaysian undergraduate who has just entered the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. She is studying medicine as a member of Basser College, one of a group of three UNSW residential colleges that are known collectively as the Kensington colleges.

I’ve officially been “down under” in Sydney for 3 weeks and 1 day as of today… Though 22 days may seem a short period of time to many people, the journey I’ve travelled so far has been a medley of ups and downs. But I’ve come to realize the marvels of a newly discovered equation and that is:

Basser + Medicine = Hogwarts

Some of you may be scratching your heads by now or pry open your mouth exclaiming, “Huh?!” at this seemingly ridiculous equation. But don’t get fooled as I lay down for you the evidence…

Let’s start with Basser College, the residential college I’m currently residing at, in case you didn’t already know. Basser College is one of the 3 Kensington Colleges (like how Gryffindor is one of 4 houses in Hogwarts). We all share facilities including the bathroom; and like how head boy and girl in Hogwarts get bigger rooms and private baths, the tutors here get their own flats and private showers as well. There’s of course the ever familiar common room but we label it as The Birdcage here in Basser. And the striking similarity to Hogwarts would definitely be the dining hall which we share with the other 2 colleges: Goldstein and Baxter. We’ve got long benches flanking long tables plus the portraits of the 3 founders (of course, they’re each named Basser, Goldstein and Baxter) plus the badges and banners of each of the 3 colleges.… There’s also the annual cup and board of honour…

Residential college officers and friends who haven’t yet tapped into the Potter connection are missing out on a wide variety of clever associations and, um, magical opportunities for collegiate life throughout the year.

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© Robert J. O’Hara 2000–2016