This year celebrates the 20th anniversary of the University of the Sunshine Coast and for the first time, the University announces two Vice Chancellor and President’s Equity and Diversity Awards. One category is for staff and students, and the other award is made to an alumnus.
These Equity and Diversity Awards recognise outstanding, voluntary contributions both within and external to the University, that have led to improving the lives of others. They serve not only to acknowledge the individual recipients, but also the contribution the University of the Sunshine Coast has made at a local, national and international level through the commitment of its staff, students and alumni.
Equity and Diversity Award for staff and students
The USC SEEDS Program
Bridie Kean is both a University of the Sunshine Coast staff member and USC PhD Student. Bridie manages the USC Sports Elite and Education Dual Stream Program (SEEDS), which is the first dual para-sport and academic program to be offered at an Australian university. This program enables athletes with a disability to combine tertiary studies with high-performance sports training and coaching at USC’s state-of-the-art sports facilities.
The USC SEEDS program promotes an environment in which young athletes are encouraged and supported to achieve academic excellence as well as success on the sporting field. The program also aims to demonstrate the abilities of these athletes and raise awareness of the value of sport for people with disabilities.
The opening stages of the program involved collaboration between USC, Basketball Australia and the QAS Centre of Excellence for Applied Sport Science Research to implement a basketball program. The program offers opportunities for student-athletes with a disability to be coached by National coaches through the support of Basketball Australia, with four training sessions included in the student-athletes weekly schedule.
In the pilot semester, Bridie and student-athletes were engaged in a variety of events that contributed to raising awareness for wheelchair basketball both on the USC Campus and at the University Games. Bridie worked with Sporting Wheelies Disabled Association to host an exhibition wheelchair basketball game at the opening ceremony at the Gold Coast Uni Battle.
This exhibition game gave university students from around Australia the opportunity to try wheelchair basketball. Bridie has also presented at the Australian University Sport National Conference regarding how to create opportunities for university students with disabilities to engage in sport.
Equity and Diversity Award for students
USC Law Student Society
The USC Law Student Association (LSA) commenced in 2014 with the law school and is an entirely student-run organisation.
The Association’s mantra, “building our students, building our profession” typifies the focus of the organisation tot encourages students to make a difference to the legal industry and the community at large.
The USC LSA has regularly been involved in USC initiatives, including Equity and Diversity Week 2015, Imaginarium 2015, Explore USC2015 and Experience USC 2016.
In August 2016, the USC LSA will host its first annual “Women in Law” function, a discussion forum designed to celebrate, hear from and focus on the role of women in all areas of the legal industry.
In 2015, the Association hosted the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner of Queensland, Kevin Cocks, at a public lecture on the role of the commission, the importance of its presence in Queensland, and his experiences in the field.
The USC LSA, as a student organisation, goes above and beyond the expectations of a small student body and repeatedly strives to ensure that the university community, not just Law students, benefits from its community focused attitude.
Diversity Week commendations
The University would also like to mention the following staff, student and bodies as recipients of Diversity Week commendations:
Associate Professor Deborah Heck has engaged with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in a sustained way to develop an ongoing and sustained mechanism for engagement within the university structure. This work commenced in late 2012 and resulted in the establishment of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Sub-Committee.
USC Amnesty International
Amnesty International is the world’s largest independent human rights organisation, and Amnesty International USC is currently the most active university club in Australia. The club’s activities include hosting events both on and off campuses, participating in social media campaigns, engaging with local MPs, and promoting and defending human rights around the world.