Published on 18 July 2014
Harry Potter fans among the 1,600 new students arriving for Semester 2 Orientation at the University of the Sunshine Coast are in for a special treat.
They can watch and take part in fun matches of Quidditch – a fanciful, high-flying sport made famous by J.K. Rowling’s popular book series and subsequent movies – on Tuesday 22 July and Thursday 24 July.
While brooms remain compulsory equipment, and chants and spells from players and spectators are welcome, USC’s wizards and witches will be required to remain more “grounded” than their fictional counterparts.
“We haven’t yet found a way to make the brooms fly, so we’re making do with what we’ve got,” USC Quidditch League president and Bachelor of Science (Honours) whiz Alise Thomas said cheekily.
“We run around with broomsticks between our legs and use our free hand to throw soft spiky rubber balls and volleyballs. If you happen to drop your broom, it’s the equivalent to falling off … just a little less painful.
“The ‘Snitch’ is also different. Instead of a magical golden ball flying around, we have a tennis ball attached to a ‘Snitch runner’ who runs away, hides, and plays tricks on the Seekers so it doesn’t get caught.
“The rest of the rules are pretty much the same as at Hogwarts.”
Quidditch matches will be held from 2-3pm on Tuesday 22 July – the biggest day of O Week, called the New Semester Fiesta – as well as from 6-7pm under lights on Thursday 24 July.
The New Semester Fiesta is open to all first-year students at USC and will feature ‘Amazing Race’ style contests at 11am, noon and 1pm, and a carnival from 5-7pm featuring the Carl Wockner Band and free food and drink. On Wednesday, students can take part in frisbee and futsal games in the afternoon, enjoy live music from 3-5pm and an Aussie outback trivia event from 6-8pm.
USC’s Student Guild will stage another fun carnival on Thursday starting at noon with inflatable fun activities, free food and chai tea, followed by live music from 4-8pm. This carnival will include the night Quidditch matches.
— Terry Walsh