It’s Our Birthday!
Since then we have brought you over 300 stories that can be found on these pages. We’ve told you about events from the past year – the University’s as well as our community’s - and these included the inaugural Newcastle Writers Festival, the exciting street party that launched City Evolutions, and the Barton Lecture, one of the lectures in our Public Lecture Series – a capacity event at City Hall with this year’s speaker Malcolm Turnbull, a drawcard at any time but perhaps more so in this, an election year. In February a standing-room-only crowd listened to some of our finest scientists in the popular Science in the Pub community event, and in May we launched our New Professors Talk – with this month’s speaker, Professor Simon Dennis sure to continue what is already a hugely popular series.
When it comes to community initiatives and programs that bring benefits to both the residents of our region, as well as to our students in their studies, just a few of the remarkable programs include The Podiatry Teaching Clinic, the Oral Health Clinic, the Teddy Bears Hospital and the Psychology Clinic, and of course we couldn’t let the ten year anniversary of Newcastle’s unique Law On The Beach program go uncelebrated. We also have great work being done through Teach Outreach, Community Connections, The Science and Engineering Challenge and, of course, the internationally recognised Family Action Centre.
Over the past year we have applauded the successes and work of our students such as Shan Turner, Declan Clausen, Laura Casey and Anthony Samuels - just a tiny selection of our students’ stories. You can find more at Experience Newcastle.
We were also proud to bring you stories from our staff who are doing amazing things in our local communities, as well as communities beyond our region. Just some of these included the work in the Solomon Islands by Dr Liz Milward, Dr Kevin Lyons’ recent tourism award, the Hope Book created by our Equity and Diversity Aim High Team, the important work in melanoma research being done by Dr Nikola Bowden, and the Many Rivers Diabetes Prevention Project, an initiative of which the University is a partner, aiming to reduce the rates of obesity and prevalence of type 2 diabetes in rural NSW Aboriginal communities.
From our wider community we touched just the surface of the wonderful community work all around us and those people who are making a difference to our region such as Kurt Fearnley who gave an impassioned Australia Day Address, the cute and quirky Backyard Bus initiative supporting local artists as well as the Scarecrows for Sustainable Food concept – true grassroots community movements.
The University worked closely with the Hunter Volunteer Centre on the national Timebanking trial. And as we sought to increase volunteering opportunities for our staff and students, community organisations began approaching us for help with finding extra hands for the many opportunities available locally – proving that we are a region with an impressive record in the volunteering space. One of the most exciting of these is the current call-out for the Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games happening in Newcastle and the Hunter in December.
As we discovered the depth of volunteering work undertaken by our staff and students as well as the support given by our many community volunteers the community engagement Office joined with the International Office to say, simply, ‘thank you’, in our first ever Volunteer Recognition Dinner.
And, if that all wasn’t enough, earlier this year we launched Engage Central Coast, bringing the stories and goals of our Ourimbah Campus to you.
Over the year we have sought out our communities where they sometimes gather on social media channels – a place where some of our community members are active and passionate, just as they are in real life. We now have over 1200 followers on Twitter and a supportive LinkedIn group – these are just some of the places where you, our community can have your say and talk to us.
The stories here are just a selection of the inspiring work being done in our community and by the staff and students of your university. Today, as we celebrate a year of telling your stories we want to thank you all for your support as we continue to grow this fantastic region of ours together.