St Paul’s is a close-knit community where staff and students alike are here to help you. From the moment you enter Paul’s you will be welcomed and cared for, especially by your Peer Support Leaders who will maintain close personal contact with you throughout your first year. It goes without saying that the Residential Life team, headed by the Warden, is dedicated to your academic and pastoral care. They all take a personal interest in each and every Pauline.
Participation, co-operation and responsible servant leadership are fundamental to the ethos and effective operation of the College.
All residents are members of the Students’ Club which plays an important role in running social and other activities through its elected Committee. There are plenty of ways for you to get involved, mainly through services to the day-to-day life of the community. You are very strongly encouraged to participate in as many College activities as your interests allow and your studies permit.
Like any close family, the College comes together at meal times. The most important of these is Formal Dinner (the dress for which is jacket and tie for men, smart equivalent for women, and academic gown) which links us with an Oxbridge tradition stretching back over 700 years. Formal Dinners are scenes of great conviviality, conversation and good-humoured banter. They are also the best possible way of making friends and finding out what’s going on! Unless you have unavoidable commitments such as late lectures, work or sports training (in which case a Late Dinner is provided) you are expected to attend Formal Dinner which is held Monday to Thursday at 6.30pm.
All other meals are informal, self-service meals. A fully-cooked breakfast is available from 7 to 9.30am; lunch, offering a selection of hot and cold dishes, is served from 12.00 to 1.30pm. Dinner on non-Formal Dinner nights is served from 6 to 6.30pm.
Each year the College calendar is punctuated by key important events: Academic Dinner, ANZAC Commemoration Dinner, Fathers’ Dinner and Mothers’ Dinner, Surreal Sounds, Jazz Dinner Dance, Formal, Valedictory Dinner, and Rawson, Rosebowl and Palladian Cup Victory Dinners.
Other social, sporting and cultural events, both at St Paul’s and at other colleges, occur throughout each semester which you may choose to attend.
St Paul’s exists primarily as an academic community. Paulines are justifiably proud of the College’s academic record, its many notable alumni and the distinguished contribution they have made to public life. To date St Paul’s has produced 29 Rhodes Scholars, three appointees to the High Court bench and two Prime Ministers: Sir William McMahon GCMG CH and Gough Whitlam AC QC. The College has produced over 100 University Medallists, 20 in the last decade. Each year the Weighted Average Mark (WAM) for the College sits well above that of the University as a whole. Around half our students achieve a Distinction or High Distinction average in their examination results.
The most obvious academic benefit of living in College is being able to discuss your work with like-minded, academically ambitious fellow students on a day-to-day basis. It is one of the very best ways of clarifying your own understanding of what you are studying. But perhaps the greatest ‘added value’ which Paul’s will offer you in terms of your academic work, is the Tutorial programme. College libraries are additional valuable resources available to residents. The Senior Tutor monitors the academic progress and results of each student and provides mentoring, advice and support when required. Senior students, usually in their third year of study, are offered mentoring and advice from Old Paulines to kick-start and guide a career.
Essential to the ideal of a liberal education is the pursuit of intellectual enquiry beyond one’s own academic discipline. Guest speakers distinguished in their field are regularly invited to speak to students after dinner. But it’s the informal opportunities to share ideas and debate with fellow students which makes College unique. The unplanned, impromptu conversations at mealtimes, in the Bar, after guest speakers’ talks – or more likely in your room or corridor – make College the stimulating place it is. There is no better way of formulating your own perspectives on the world and your place within it.
At the heart of the College’s formal academic programme are the Tutorials. Tutorials are offered in over eighty of the most common 1st and 2nd year core units of study across most Faculties at the University of Sydney, together with some more generalist tutorials. Tutorials provide invaluable opportunities for you to sort out problems and deepen your understanding of the subject in small groups of fellow students.
At the heart of our tutorial programme is peer learning and students encouraging each other. Up to 60 young people are teaching in our programme, including members of Graduate House and senior members of our undergraduate community. the College also engages recent alumni and university academics. Our students report that ‘coming straight out of high school, [tutorials] really helped us understand … what was required of us to succeed in university.’ Our tutors have shown passion and consistently demonstrate a willingness to help.
Tutors are senior members of College who have previously achieved a High Distinction in their subject. Organised by the Assistant Senior Tutor, the Tutorial programme at Paul’s is the largest and most comprehensive programme of its kind amongst the colleges on campus and, as any current student will tell you, one of the best reasons for wanting to come here.
Starting your university studies is exciting and provides a wonderful opportunity to explore areas of study you love, whether it be a general liberal course of study or something more vocational. However, the move from school to university can also be daunting, especially at such a large institution such as the University of Sydney where you are joining over 75,000 other students. One of the great benefits of living in College is that you are part of a much smaller, familiar community within the much larger and often impersonal University body.
As a member of an academic community, you are surrounded by fellow students with whom you can discuss your work and share your academic journey. Tutors are happy to make time available outside of tutorial times should you need extra help. The Senior Tutor oversees all students’ academic progress and is available to discuss your approach to study, including revision techniques, throughout your degree. The Senior Tutor works closely with the Chaplain to help students who encounter difficulties along the way. The Assistant Senior Tutor is also available as an academic role model and peer mentor throughout your degree.
Social life. Whether it be dining together in Hall, yarning with friends in your room or The Salisbury, the College provides unparalleled opportunities to socialise, meet new people and develop deep and life-long friendships. The social life at Paul’s is one of the key reasons students choose to come here.
St Paul’s participates in the Rawson Cup intercollegiate sporting competition for men (cricket, swimming, rowing, rugby, football, tennis, basketball and athletics) and the Rosebowl competition for women (netball, swimming, rowing, hockey, football, basketball, tennis and athletics). St Paul’s is renowned for the large attendance and enthusiastic support given by its members at sports matches. Social matches in these and other sports – including the time-honoured tradition of Tip (touch football) before dinner – also take place.
The Palladian Cup for intercollegiate competition in cultural and artistic pursuits, dates from the 1990s. Regardless of your previous experience, you are encouraged to audition to represent the College in Oration, Solo Vocal, Solo Instrumental, Solo Drama, Dance, Debating, Vocal Ensemble, Art, Instrumental Ensemble and Drama Ensemble. Medals are awarded annually for best performances in Oratory (Asimus Medal), Singing (Drury Medal), Instrumental Music (Albert Medal), Debating (Waddy Medal) and Drama (Felix Arnott Medal).
Music performed by Paulines is central to the life of the College. Student instrumentalists and singers perform throughout the year at Formal Dinners, in the Palladian Cup competition, and at other major celebrations and events. Keen musicians are encouraged to form groups and ensembles at any time. Singing by the whole College at celebratory events is both heartfelt and stirring, and emblematic of a uniquely Pauline spirit!
The Chapel Choir, conducted by the Director of Music and accompanied by the College Organist, performs a traditional and modern repertoire to the highest standards. Its principal role is to sing Choral Evensong each Tuesday evening and at other significant chapel services such as the annual ANZAC service and the Carol Service. Each semester the Choir also presents a choral recital. In recent years, Purcell’s King Arthur and Dido and Aeneas have been staged at the College as have classical and contemporary recitals of professional standard.
Mummers is the St Paul’s College lively dramatic society. Founded in 1948, it continues to stage productions of high calibre each year, including plays written and directed by undergraduates.
Debates are organised between current students and neighbouring colleges, alumni and members of Graduate House.
Outreach activities are opportunities for students to engage with and serve the wider community, for example, by feeding and caring for the homeless through the Newtown Mission and the Cana Foundation at Christ Church St Laurence.
Entrepreneurship initiatives launched by Paulines have included AIME, a mentoring program for marginalised Indigenous youth; ‘threefourfive’, a pre-tertiary mentoring programme for Year 12 students in remote areas; and ‘FundsFest’ which supports causes such as drought relief through fundraising initiatives.
Deo Patriae Tibi
The College is an Anglican Foundation. The crossed swords on the College coat of arms represent the Apostle Paul, who was beheaded with a sword; and the Maltese cross refers to his shipwreck at Malta before his imprisonment in Rome. The motto, ‘Deo Patriae Tibi’, loosely translates as ‘For God, your nation, and yourself’.
Today St Paul’s is unique amongst colleges on campus in having a full-time Chaplain in residence.
Faith is expressed formally through the weekly services held in the College’s beautiful 1960s chapel. The College is inclusive in its application procedures and welcomes members of all faith traditions, or of none. The wellbeing of the whole of the College and all its members is a microcosm of how religion can enliven a community in which people are at different stages of formal and informal commitment.
The major College service is Choral Evensong which is sung by the College Chapel Choir before Formal Dinner each Tuesday during semester.
There are also regular Bible Study sessions, and a lively World Views and Ethics discussion group which considers important global and local issues one evening each week.
Most importantly, the Chaplain is available to all members of the College community for pastoral care matters.
Other significant Services include the Commencement Service, Academic Dinner Evensong, ANZAC and Remembrance Day Commemorations, Valedictory Evensong and the annual Carol Service.