Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Agora: The Spirit of Community

Photo taken from La Trobe University Alumni Website

AGORA, is Greek's central spot of the city. The word 'Agora' itself means 'the gathering place' (wikipedia).

This was the reason why the central spot in my beloved La Trobe University is called 'Agora', which was told by the Vice Chancellor on my orientation day a new student..  The place was meant to serve as the central spot of the campus, where students gather and interact, information is shared and minds are connected.

Naming it 'Agora' really fits the spot, as it really becomes a place where students pass information around, share their thoughts, create connections and build friendships. As I remember it, anything can happen in our Agora, and there is always something happening there..

Some good things are totally expected and welcome.. discounted books, international cultural events with traditional culture displays and/or food stalls, and club members walking around offering information and memberships..

Other good things are unexpected, but they are always welcome as nice surprises.. free barbeques, free drinks, free finger foods, free art performances..

The rest, are the things that we do to make us and our friends happier (because we are mostly in a happy state already anyway).. sitting down under the big tree, singing and playing the guitar, street dancing, chatting, taking pictures, making new friends, eating lunch, or even playing jokes on friends.. :-)

La Trobe University really put a great effort in making sure that our Agora is a 'real' Agora in a lot of sense.. There is an elevated round grass area, right in the centre of the space, surrounded by a large square area with little steps towards the establishments. Students can sit or lie down on the grass while studying or catching up with friends. Cultural performances are also performed there. Some of the performances I had the chance to see being performed there were, the choir, capoeira (guest from Brazil), mime artist, magic show, and various music performances.

Around the square, there is a movie theatre, a bookshop, a hairdresser, variety of food shops, the post office, atm's and the university merchandise shop.. Towards the end of my study, a new cafe was added upstairs, and I knew that other renovations and additions were coming up.

I know that our Agora now looks very different to the way it did when I studied in La Trobe. However, this morning, I found a video that made me smile, knowing that doesn't matter how different our Agora might look, it still carries the same missions, to bring the students together, and to spread happiness and joy to everyone just by being there..

I've made friends in our Agora, I've seen my friends sing and dance there, I've shared my thoughts and feelings with good friends there. I've also seen performances and cultures that opened my eyes and experienced things that helped me grow..

I've been trying to attach the video here, but still no luck.. :-( .. Here is a link to the video in youtube.. ;-)

Well.. the event recorded in this video is not real and it certainly didn't happen when I was there. However, I don't doubt that our Agora could do something like this for real (maybe a real one can happen in the future).. As I said earlier, anything can happen in Agora, and there is always something happening there.. Fun, happiness, friendship.. add some love to it.. it will surely go the distance.. ;-)

Well done, Agora ;-)