Alex: You know the Qantas ad on telly with the children singing ‘I Still Call Australia Home’, it gives me tingles every time. Whilst having pre-dinner drinks at AusBiotech08 in Melbourne, from above came the Australian Girls Choir singing ‘I Still Call Australia Home’, everyone promptly stopped their chatter to gaze upwards and admire the voices who were filed on the up and down escalators (rather like the Qantas ad) and on a landing above everyone- see pic. A kiwi next to me whispered- I wish I was Australian right now. Ahh t’was a proud Aussie moment.
A volunteers program provides students to help behind the scenes at the annual AusBiotech conference, in return students receive conference registration and a dinner invitation. As Co-chair of the SA branch of the AusBiotech Students Association (ABSA) I took this opportunity to help out and gain some event organisation experience. There were 30 volunteers from around Australia working from Sunday to Wednesday with 7:30am starts every morning and 1 day off to attend sessions. My roles involved helping out on the AusBiotech stand, general information provider and being personal assistant to Anna Lavelle (CEO AusBiotech). We were worked hard, and at times I felt there were opportunities where we could have been attending sessions – these are my only grumbles. No stomach grumbles- the food was amazing!! Fresh smoothies in the morning, sashimi, roast lamb and prosciutto carved before your eyes, giant strawberries to hot-choc dip, the food certainly did not disappoint. As for the conference- there were 142 booths of friendly people and of the sessions I did manage to attend – well, watch for the exciting biotech coming out of Canada- particularly the functional foods and nutriceuticals from Manitoba