A group of 200 Griffith students and some staff will make their way to St Lucia on Saturday for a never-to-be forgotten opportunity when they will share a room with President Barack Obama for one of his Brisbane speeches this weekend.
Manager of the Griffith Honours College Dr Jeanne McConachie has had the unenviable task of managing the allocation process after the United States Embassy contacted the Office of the Vice Chancellor with a limited offer of tickets earlier this week.
“This has been the most amazingly popular event. Nobody could have predicted the popularity of this speech. It has been absolutely phenomenal,” Dr McConachie said.
The Griffith group will board a bus on Saturday for the short journey to the University of Queensland campus, where the world’s most powerful man will address a global audience.
The group was assembled in two stages and at very short notice during the week. Tickets are non-transferable. Students IDs were checked when collecting the tickets and will be again at the door of the event.
“If the US embassy called us with an offer of more tickets, we’d be ready to go at two seconds notice. Unfortunately that is not likely to happen,” Dr McConachie said.
“With such a limited number of tickets available for Griffith University students, it was just not possible to offer a ticket to everyone who would like to attend.”
Jeanne McConachie said careful consideration went into the selection process to ensure students from all university faculties had the chance to secure the precious tickets.
Key groups across the university were consulted including Griffith International, Student Services, Student Success, Campus Life, Gold Coast Student Guild, Griffith Sports College and the School of Government and International Relations. Nominations from each of these areas were plentiful.
G20 Scholars, PKU Asia Century Fellows and the MBA team which finished third in the G20 Global Business Challenge were all also nominated, as were many student leaders from all disciplines.
“We also sought out students involved in community engagement, volunteering and leadership groups,” Dr McConachie said.
The vetting process meant that each student selected then had to attend a US Embassy office in Brisbane CBD to collect their ticket.
“When I went to pick up my own ticket there were students there dancing around King George Square with their tickets,” Dr McConachie said.