When journalist Fien Van den Steen decided to go back to study to fulfil her mission to "inspire sustainability," she began searching for a university that offered opportunities for students, from their very first semester.
She found what she was looking for at UniSC, with the incredible opportunity to attend the international Green Summit in Thailand – offered as part of the Students as Partners Sponsorship Scheme – and in line with Fien’s Bachelor of Environmental Management.
"When I was doing my research, I saw that UniSC had this opportunity in their portfolio," Fien said.
"It's all the opportunities, besides your coursework, that actually make your degree and give you the student experience you actually want to have."
UniSC Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) Professor Denise Wood AM said these kinds of schemes provide students with opportunities to gain international perspectives and form valuable networks relating to their disciplinary areas of study.
“We’re a recognised international leader in sustainability, so supporting our students to collaborate and learn with other environmentalists from around the world is consistent with the University’s values and commitment to nurturing graduates as future leaders and change agents,” Professor Wood said.
“Furthermore, as the only university in Australia whose footprint encompasses three UNESCO-recognised biospheres, having green ambassadors as part of our community is invaluable.”
Fien's journey to UniSC began with her desire to make a more constructive contribution to environmental issues after spending seven years reporting on them as an investigative journalist worldwide.
Leading the UniSC Enactus club helped Fien secure a spot at the 2022 Green Summit along with fellow PhD student Carmine Buss.
Attending the Green Summit allowed Fien to gain valuable knowledge and insight into environmental issues affecting the planet, such as pollution and climate change and what we can do to help.
She noted the significance of attending the event in person, saying that it was unlike anything that could be achieved online or via Zoom.
"When you go to a summit, one thing is the content, but so much more is about everything that happens between the sessions."
"You really have a dynamic in the room; somebody makes a statement and you see other people reacting a certain way and that was so valuable, because all these issues are global problems, so you need to understand what's playing in different countries."
She said that having open conversations with delegates from all around the world allowed her to understand different perspectives on global problems.
"We all have so much in common, despite the fact they were from different countries and different backgrounds, but we all have this common goal, which is making the world a better place."
"Often we feel when it comes to these environmental issues that we can't do anything, like my actions don't matter, but it's always better to do a little and do something than not doing anything at all."
When asked about her advice for students considering such opportunities, Fien encouraged them to make the most of it, and "always go".
Bachelor of Environmental Management
Become an environmental manager with this course where you’ll learn how to minimise human impacts on the environment, manage resources sustainably, and conserve and restore habitats, biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Bachelor of Environmental Science
Help businesses and governments make informed decisions about how to manage natural ecosystems in this undergraduate course on environmental science.
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