8 April 2014
A new ceremony incorporating rich cultural tradition will be held on Wednesday 9 April as a key part of graduation week celebrations for the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
The ceremony, which will include a traditional Welcome to Country, will be held from 5-7pm at the yarning circle and fire pit in the gardens of the Buranga Centre, which houses the University’s Indigenous Services.
Buranga Centre Head of Service Terry Bell said the ceremony would recognise and celebrate the academic achievements of the University’s 19 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduands who would receive their graduation certificates later in the week.
“It’s also a celebration for the family and peers of the students, the wider community of support we have here at USC – and also the wider Aboriginal community,’’ Mr Bell said.
“There are almost 200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled at USC and this event is significant for all of them.
“It’s great for them to see what these 19 have achieved – it motivates all the students and gives them something to aim for and aspire to.”
The ceremony will begin with a Welcome to Country from representatives of the Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi people as the traditional owners of the land.
USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Birgit Lohmann will also be in attendance.
Professor Hill will light the fire in what will be the first time it is officially used for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ceremony.
Each of the graduands will be invited to come forward into the yarning circle to receive a certificate acknowledging their academic achievements and a graduation stole in the colours of the Aboriginal flag.
The traditional ceremony is a precursor to the USC’s four formal graduation ceremonies, on Thursday and Friday, where the 19 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students will be among 800 graduating students.
– David Cameron