A group of student activists yesterday attempted to disrupt the University of Newcastle’s brand launch at the University Gallery.

The ‘The World Needs New’ campaign was designed to highlight the values of entrepreneurship, innovation and global leadership, according to the University’s media release. “Our students are passionate about using their knowledge, work experience and entrepreneurship to bring about positive change in the world. Our new brand highlights why UON is a place where new begins,” Vice Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen is quoted as saying.

UON ‘The World Needs New’ branding. (Source: University of Newcastle)


However, the rebrand has been met with ire by student environmental activists. “The rebrand is new and exciting but as is typical with the University, the old problems remain the same,” the group stated in a media release.

“We think it’s terribly ironic that the University is brand-washing themselves with humanitarian ethics considering it’s partnership with the very companies who are responsible for human rights abuses on Nauru and Manus,” student spokesperson Tim Buchanan said, in reference to the University’s facilities management contract with Broadspectrum.

“The new branding, which positions the University as a leader in tackling climate change, is deeply problematic seeing as the coal industry uses the University to increase its social license and continue to expand carbon intensive industries within Australia.”

“Life long directors of these coal companies hold some of the most important executive positions at the University and it’s these same companies who actively lobby against action on climate change. Some even flat out deny it”, Buchanan alleges.

Student protest outside of the University Gallery. (Photo: supplied)


Opus understands that eight students appeared at the University Gallery with their own promotional material but were stopped from entering the building by security. The students proceeded to set up their material outside the gallery, displaying large posters that appropriated the ‘The World Needs New’ motif.

At one stage during the event, protesters managed to gain entry to the Gallery and covered the University’s polar bear image with their own about climate change and the University’s alleged links to the coal industry.

The students were quickly removed, and dispersed after forty minutes.