22 December 2023; Aaron McNaughton

The link between regular physical activity and emotional wellbeing, as well as improved academic performance, are comprehensively documented. Regular physical activity improves student wellbeing and academic success through improvements to physical and mental health, confidence, self-esteem and reduced social isolation.

A broad range of programs and activities were conducted at the University in 2023. Over 20,000 students, staff, alumni and community members participated over 681,000 times, from our sporting clubs and fitness services to lunchtime sporting competitions and pop-up activities across our campus. This is a recap of the participation activities from 2023; you can read about each program below, with links to find out more about each one on our website.


Fitness Staff completed over 2,687 appointments with 460 Introductory Sessions for new members, 600 Training Programs and 1627 Body Composition Scans. Small Group Training attendance was a strong performer with 2,867 visits across Semesters 1 and 2 and 3,500 visits across the year. There were also over 4,970 total users across the year on the Mywellness App with a range of Fitness and Wellness opportunities for the University community to engage with us remotely as well as enhance the experience within the fitness facilities.

In addition, virtual programs and classes were launched through the MyWellness App and through TV screens running throughout the facility to provide fitness members more flexibility in working out.


The Pool had its most successful year to date with over 71,282 visits, exceeding 2022 and 2019 participation numbers by 126%. This was due to several factors: return to normal operating hours in 2023, additional hours allocated to club hire, the success of the Water Safety Program with 2009 participants, and continuity in Propulsion Aquatics learn-to-swim and squad programs. A new water testing machine was also employed to ensure water quality was kept at optimal levels and within regulatory standards for all swimmers.

Group Fitness

We had 21,083 participants in Group Fitness throughout the year, an increase of over 6,000 visits from 2022. During 2023, Group Fitness classes were also extended to off-site locations to engage staff and students at different faculties. These programs were run as part of staff or student wellness initiatives and encouraged participants in their return to campus activities.

College Sport

There were 7,437 participation opportunities for residents to participate in throughout the year. This is up from the 7,192 opportunities in 2022. Many sports, particularly finals (including Tennis, Netball, Soccer and Football), carnivals and the rowing regatta on the Yarra River drew vocal crowds to cheer on their respective teams. There were approximately 9490 spectators across all College Sport events in the year.

Campus Sport

Lunchtime social sport competitions were held in both Semester 1 and Semester 2, with the most popular sports being mixed volleyball, futsal and netball. Both netball and futsal were consistent, each providing four separate competitions throughout the year to engage students and staff. Futsal and Basketball continued to grow into Semester 2 with more teams engaged

Mixed Basketball and Volleyball have both grown with strong competitions in each semester, with Badminton starting for the first time in Semester 2. New activities like Lacrosse, Spikeball, and Pickleball have been implemented as informal competitions to begin, with the hope of building them into the full program in future.

Casual Venue Hire

Numbers continued to grow from the record numbers of 2022 and 2019, with an increase of 21% across the board.

Badminton and Tennis were the most popular once again, with Futsal having a 127% increase on last year.

Active Campus

Over 10,000 students participated in the program, in activities including free play and recreation rooms.

View our Active Campus recap here.

Water Safety Program

A record number of 2009 participants graduated from the program. 78.5% of students were female, and 93% represented the international student community at the University. This year, additional initiatives were taken to make the program more inclusive and accessible to certain student groups. For instance, women’s only classes were run, and private lessons were provided to a student who was wheelchair-bound.

A Student Swim Squad was also introduced in 2023 following the success of the pilot program in 2022. 46 unique students participated in the squad program across 2023, with many of these participants indicating that they were grateful to have had the opportunity to further their swimming capabilities in a social environment at the University.

Sport Beyond Parkville

This year, progress from last year was consolidated and built on, with the Rural Health and Dookie programs following the success of 2022 and expanded offerings at Werribee and Southbank. With 4 mixed netball teams from Dookie and Rural Health, approximately a third of Rural Health students taking up gym reimbursements, engagement at rural and regional sites has been high. New activities run for the first time in 2023 include free drop-in group fitness classes run at the Southbank campus, a visit from MU Sport to Dookie and Southbank, and the provision of soccer equipment for Werribee to enable lunchtime casual sport.

Alpine Lodge

There were less than ideal snow conditions on Mount Buller, unfortunately leading the lodge to be closed earlier than expected on Friday 8 September. That said, it was still a fantastic season with all beds filled every weekend and weeknight bookings were high. Even with the shorter snow season, occupancy sat at roughly 85% overall. While the number of student bookings had a slight decrease, there was a large increase in external booking groups and individuals, demonstrating the appetite for such venues from the wider community.

Community Sport

Tin Alley Netball reached 43 teams registered in the Autumn season and 40 for the Spring Season, totalling 83 across all competitions and 9,710 playing opportunities in 2023

Sporting Clubs

There were 44 sporting clubs with a total of 6,936 members. Student participation in clubs increased overall with 4,206 student members comprising 61% of all members (up by 6% from 2022). 111,709 participation opportunities were provided over the year in a variety of local, state, and national competitions including recreational activities in exciting environments and instructional sessions such as courses in martial arts and other self-disciplines.

Melbourne University Sport has also provisionally affiliated two new clubs, Judo and Triathlon in 2023 and seeks to support them in attracting more members in the future.

View the Clubs section of the Annual Report here.

Intervarsity Sport

528 student-athletes represented the University across 70 competitions, winning 8 national university titles.

For further details on intervarsity sport, read the Winged Victory review from 2023 here.