Basser College, University of New South Wales

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Basser College
UNSW Basser College arms.jpg
Motto Scientia
Motto in English
Established 1959
(named for Sir Adolph Basser)
Parent institution
University of New South Wales
Head Isabelle Creagh
Undergraduates 132 (1959-2011)
66 (2012-2013)
166 (2014-present)
Postgraduates 6 Residential Staff (1959-2011)
2 Residential Staff (2012-2013)
5 Residential Staff (2014-present)
Affiliations Sister college:
Goldstein College, Philip Baxter College, Fig Tree Hall, Colombo House and UNSW Hall.
Website The Kensington Colleges

Basser College, University of New South Wales is a residential college at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Basser College and its two neighbouring Colleges, Goldstein and Phillip Baxter, are collectively known as the Kensington Colleges.


Basser College was founded in 1959, ten years after the opening of the University of New South Wales (UNSW), making it the oldest residential college at the University. It was built to accommodate students from rural areas, enabling them access to the same education as local, metropolitan students. The College is named after Sir Adolph Basser (1887-1965), a Polish entrepreneur and philanthropist who contributed significantly to the cost of the College's construction.[1]

The College's foundational structure was designed around two central courtyards: Girls' Quad and Boys' Quad. The names echo the separate living arrangements in the College after female residents were first admitted in the 1960s; a practice which has since been discontinued. The majority of the rooms were divided into alcoves of four, with two front rooms and two back rooms. Typically, the back rooms were larger and allocated to returning residents or 'seniors', whilst the front rooms were allocated to first-year residents or 'freshers'. These alcoves were thus affectionately dubbed 'alcove families', with two males and two females constituting each group.

Basser College's original building was the only college on Kensington Campus for which every room had the convenience of a wash basin. Residents generally stayed in Basser for two or three years before ending their college tenure. A student had to remain at College for two and a half years, in order to be named Honorary College Valedictorian.

Basser College celebrated its 50th anniversary with a 'Back to Basser' day at the College in August 2009. The original building was last used in the 2011 Academic year and was handed over to a construction company in December 2011 to be demolished and replaced as part of UNSW's major student accommodation redevelopment.

Student life[edit]

Basser College offers a range of sporting, cultural and social activities planned and coordinated by a student leadership team. The leadership team, known as the 'House Committee,' consists of:

  • The Social Director, in charge of weekly events and parties.
  • Male and Female Sports Directors, who organise Inter-College Sports Association competitions.
  • The Cultural Director who facilitate the annual play, musical groups, exhibitions and excursions to cultural venues in Sydney.
  • The Arc@UNSW and Communities Director, who coordinates and promotes charitable activities as well as functions as the chief external liaison to the UNSW Student Union and Alumni of Basser College.
  • The Operations and Communications Director, who is charged with the dissemination of college information and maintenance of Student Club operated amenities.

Each individual Director is charged with the operation and management of a succinct portfolio of Officers of the House. Each Officer is appointed to complete a specific role within the college, i.e. the organisation of the annual Basser College Ball.

The House Committee is in turn overseen and directed by the Basser student Executive, consisting of a Treasurer, Secretary and President. The Executive works with the Dean of College to ensure that the rules of the College and the responsibilities of each resident are upheld and maintained respectively. The current Basser College House President is William Cook.[2] The current Dean of Basser College is Mr James Hardiman.

Basser College also hosts an annual 'Parent's Weekend' where parents are invited to experience the students' College activities. Basser residents also participate in an annual fundraiser event 'Spring Fever', a live comedy and musical event designed to raise money for a charity of the student bodies' choosing.

Academic support is available to every resident in College by UNSW support staff. Senior College residents can also earn the title of 'Academic Mentor' on the basis of exemplary academic performance. Academic Mentors are charged with the responsibility of assisting their faculty peers.

Three meals per day are provided during session at the nearby Goldstein Dining Hall which is shared with the other Kensington Colleges - Philip Baxter, Goldstein and Fig Tree Hall. Accommodation packages also include fortnightly cleaning and WiFi.


The redeveloped Basser College opened in Semester 1, 2014. It accommodates 160 students in a mixture of rooms with either en suite or shared bathroom facilities. Basser has expansive common and study areas as well as a roof top garden. The College will share landscaped garden spaces with Philip Baxter, Goldstein College and the newly established residences Fig Tree Hall and Colombo House.


External links[edit]