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Colleges at ANU: Burgmann vs John XXIII

By mlwhite - 29 August 2011 18

I’m looking at studying at ANU next year and trying to decide between applying for Burgmann College or John XXIII College.

Which is better?

Pros/Cons of each?

I’ve heard some bad things about John XXIII but it seemed nice when i toured it.

Thanks

What’s Your opinion?


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18 Responses to
Colleges at ANU: Burgmann vs John XXIII
jim_shoes 10:56 pm 29 Aug 11

Henry82 said :

Well i’ll go check some of my “comments” and then i’ll come back. In the meantime….

>our O-Week program for example had more sober than alcoholic events.
All hosted by Johns? and not just a copy/paste from ANUSA/ANU o-week guide?

>We’re also the only college I know of that actually polices underage drinking
dragging kids off to the side on o-week, then forcing them to sign an agreement that they won’t go to events isn’t “enforcement”

Would really rather this doesn’t descend into some fight here, but it seems whoever’s giving you your information isn’t particularly correct. None of our O-Week events were ANU/ANUSA, everything was run by the RA. If you want a break down – Sunday was trivia, Monday was a ‘flashback party’ in our common room, Tuesday was a Red Frogs coffee crawl around Civic, Wednesday was twilight golf, Thursday a scribble party, and Friday was ice-skating. Virtually all of those nights also had ‘pit stops,’ with hot chocolate and biscuits, etc. provided in our senior common room for people just to chill out. This was the same situation last year and I believe the year before that, too.

Our enforcement of under-age drinking extends far beyond anything I’ve heard from any other colleges – on the first night out when two underagers were found in a bar, they were taken out and advised to go home, and action was taken the next day, though I’m not sure to what extent as it was off college grounds. If anyone is found drinking on college underage, it’s a zero tolerance approach, and that’s why they’re ‘dragged off to the side’ from day one, because they obviously don’t want to have to kick people out.

Again, I’m not trying to sling mud on any other residences here – they’re free to do what they please. All I’m saying is that a whole lot of the crap that Johns gets is unwarranted and untrue, especially considering that many other residences tend to ‘get away’ with behaviour that Johns would be crucified for.

Henry82 10:30 pm 29 Aug 11

Well i’ll go check some of my “comments” and then i’ll come back. In the meantime….

>our O-Week program for example had more sober than alcoholic events.
All hosted by Johns? and not just a copy/paste from ANUSA/ANU o-week guide?

>We’re also the only college I know of that actually polices underage drinking
dragging kids off to the side on o-week, then forcing them to sign an agreement that they won’t go to events isn’t “enforcement”

creative_canberran 9:06 pm 29 Aug 11

In general I get a better vibe from Burgmann people than those from Johns.

jim_shoes 8:47 pm 29 Aug 11

As a current Johns resident, some of the comments in this thread are a bit disheartening. There’s no doubt that Johns has a big social scene, but at the same time we endeavour to organise similar non-alcoholic events – our O-Week program for example had more sober than alcoholic events. We’re also the only college I know of that actually polices underage drinking – residents can and have been expelled for drinking underage before, whereas I have been out in clubs with underage residents from other residences and no one has said a word. So while there are plenty of social events organised by the RA, there are always other options.

And yes, first years wear bibs with their names on them during O-Week, and by the end of the week, absolutely everybody knows the names of all the first years. For the first years themselves, it removes that awkward “Hi, I’m xxxxx” that everyone goes through when meeting 130 new people for the first time. Johns residents are proud of their bibs – mine’s still hanging up in my room right now. Also, a lot of what Henry82 said – about college having to choose from a list of names last year, and most of the senior staff leaving, is untrue as well. Our deputy-head of college left halfway through last year to move overseas, but other than that, no senior staff members have left since I’ve been here.

I’m not denying that Johns has had a few issues recently – two residents got expelled recently for a prank gone way too far – but the place has come a long, long way in the last couple of years and I’ve loved my time here. There’s always something on, there’s a great community spirit, and we’ve got a great mix of people – we’ve won the interhall sports shield the last 10 years in a row (and looking pretty good for 11), and are currently second place in the arts shield.

As for Burgmann, I’ve got a fair few mates there and it’s a pretty cool place. Personally I find the corridors a little claustrophobic but I’m sure you have done a tour so have seen how everything looks. Burgmann and Johns are quite similar though, not least because they’re not actually owned by ANU, only affiliated with it, so they have more control over their budgets, sponsorships, events, etc. Honestly, chances are that whether you go to either place, you’re going to have a good time, enjoy yourself, and be glad that you chose Johns over Burgmann, or vice versa. For the record, if you’re not going to go to either Johns or Burgmann, I’d definitely recommend Bruce next.

Clown Killer 4:41 pm 29 Aug 11

I was at Burgmann and Bruce Hall. Both were good in different ways. Had a lot of mates at Johns – and what others have said was certainly true back then (late 80s). Johns was very blokey (hell, I think even the girls stood up to pee). Burgmann was good fun, but a bit insular – in the sense that a lot of in-house staff was arranged by the ressies assoc. on the bright side, you didn’t have to look far for a party. Bruce Hall was great fun.

MrMagoo 3:54 pm 29 Aug 11

Kramer said :

I married a hot Burgmann chick – enough said

😉

I married a John’s lovely and we’ve been together for 17 years and married for 11. We are still in close regular contact with a lot of the guys and grls she lived with and they ar all normal well adjusted people.

crackerpants 1:59 pm 29 Aug 11

Which is better? Neither. Bruce is the only way to go.

Kramer 1:50 pm 29 Aug 11

I married a hot Burgmann chick – enough said 😉

Henry82 1:32 pm 29 Aug 11

@JB religion doesn’t play a part in the colleges any more, occasionally it’s mentioned at formal dinners, but it’s not enforced, it won’t give you priority entry either.

Johns has been getting some real bad publicity lately, and they’ve been doing there best to distance themselves from the actions of the students. The fact of the matter is the events organised by the RA do encourage people to play up, and the fact they have (in the past) been able to choose students through interview. Last year however they got to choose from a list of names, stopping them from picking the more extrovert/outgoing types and getting a more mixed bunch. The head of hall hasn’t really been running the place (imo), he’s had a long move between his old position, and has had a string of heart issues, both resulted in him being away from college for long periods of time. Also, most of the senior staff have left in the last year or so.

I have a few friends at both colleges. Imo, if i was to choose my time again (in a catered college), i’d preference bruce > burgmann > ursula > Johns in that order. Johns is not conducive to study, imho bruce and burgman have a good mixture.

Burgmann is reasonable, i gather you’ve toured it too. The rooms are the biggest on campus (imo) in terms of usable floor space. I think every college except B&G say’s they’re the biggest in some way or another. All johns beds are king singles, where in every other college/hall they are single beds.

A few years ago, burgmann was in SEVERE financial difficulty after blowing all their money on a fancy postgrad wing. At the time alot of people were critisizing the cutbacks made on the undergrads. I can’t comment on if this is still relevant.

Having said that, a college is what you make of it. If you want to get involved, you can, if you don’t – nobody can force you.

If you want to ask unofficial questions, you can email me. “(myusername)email@gmail.com”

LSWCHP 1:32 pm 29 Aug 11

My girlfriend of the time lived at Johns for 5 years a long time ago. It was full of arsehats.

I don’t think much has changed.

amycatwiz 12:05 pm 29 Aug 11

As an ex-ANU student who lived on campus I can give you my opinion. I have spoken to people who stayed at both colleges as well.

Johns. Well when I took the tour, it seemed really classy – but after living nearby I soon changed my mind. It is well known for its drinking culture and sporting teams i.e. tends to be jocky. This doesn’t mean that everyone there is like that, I have heard people who aren’t so in to the drinking culture complain. They make first-years wear bibs with their names on them around for o-week. You may also recently have seen things in the paper about the ‘pigs incident’ – not to imply that it happens all the time, but as soon as ANU students hears about things like that (stupid pranks) they tend to assume it happenned at Johns (which is usually correct). Also, a number of years when I was at ANU they would stand out on an island in Sullies and yell out “show us your tits” to passing girls. If you’re in to drinking and sports, Johns is probably the go.

As for Burgmann – haven’t really heard a lot of complaints – though I think someone said you don’t really get to know your neighbours unless you make the effort so it can be a bit isolating.

Personally I stayed at Ursies (Ursula Hall) – reknowned for being the “nerdy” college – but it was perfect for me. People to go out drinking with if you want – but also a number of people that don’t drink so there are good alternatives. You get to know most people in the college because it’s small, and the social events are fun and not always drinking-oriented. Also – seperate male/female bathrooms which I hear is a rarity.

So really it just depends on what kind of a culture you want. Also – I think your friends and the people you meet have a huge impact on college life – as long as you make friends even a bad experience can become not so bad.

Good luck!

ramblingted 12:00 pm 29 Aug 11

I went to both. John’s was full of drunks and rugger buggers, and Burgmann was full of god botherers and future Prime Ministers….mind you, things might have changed since ’75/76…

Tequila Mockingbird 11:51 am 29 Aug 11

John XXIII throw the better parties and tend to be more hungover at early lectures (and, I’d like to add that they also seem to take on students based on their outstanding physical appearance).
You can still study in peace and quiet though, there is heaps of library space on campus for when you plan to read a book between rounds of Flip Cup and Goon of Fortune.

Burgmann…. never heard too much about it. Must be for squares.

johnboy 11:40 am 29 Aug 11

For a start one is catholic and the other anglican, so that might have some bearing….

Tetranitrate 11:25 am 29 Aug 11

Apply for both and ensure you have the preferences and everything down for others. You many not get your first choice – last thing you want is to end up at unilodge.

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