Even Higher Education: PARSA to Offer Campus Hot Air Balloon Rides

Update: While Observer received explicit confirmation from PARSA’s events director that undergraduate students could ride the balloon, PARSA has since said this statement was incorrect, and rides will be “limited to postgraduates and their families” due to “limited capacity”. We apologise for this inaccuracy.

PARSA will launch a hot-air balloon outside Chifley this Saturday, and all students can take a trip above campus.

PARSA has hired the balloon as part of their ‘Big Day’ event on Saturday. Between 11AM and 1PM, groups of four students will take flight in the (tethered) balloon for six-minute trips; taking off from Chifley Meadow.

Zyl Hovenga-Wauchope, PARSA’s O-Week Events Director, said that getting approval for the balloon was surprisingly easy. “Although F&S [Facilities and Services Division] have a bit of a reputation for being difficult”, Hovenga-Wauchope explained, “they’re really lovely people who just want to make sure everything is running safely.” After a site visit from the balloon company, a risk management plan and a meeting with F&S, the dirigible was cleared for take-off.

Hovenga-Wauchope said that PARSA were considering charging a “nominal fee” for a visit to the clouds, with some of the additional cost covered by advertisement on the airship. He also confirmed that the balloon in question would not be the infamous Skywhale, whose 2013 flight over Canberra received what can generously be described as a mixed reactions. Hovenga-Wauchope confirmed all students, undergraduate or postgraduate, are welcome aboard.

Along with traditional entertainment such as live music, a jumping castle, face painting; the Big Day will feature a singularly unusual attraction: a Pet Rock™ zoo. “Pet Rock[™] zoo is happening because of ethical concerns for the welfare of animals at petting zoos, as expressed by members of the university,” Hovenga-Wauchope explained. He said it will be a ”craft activity” where students can create pet rocks “a la 90s style Pet Rocks[™] with googly eyes.”

Correction: Clarified “additional costs covered by signage” to “some of the additional cost” as not all costs are covered by signage.