Bridie Kean - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Bridie Kean

USC Associate Lecturer, Public Health; Australian Wheelchair basketballer

Diversity is important to me because I grew up in a school system that didn’t offer much for people with physical disabilities in areas that I cared about, which was sport and getting involved in activities with other kids. That was disappointing, but what’s great now is that I’m working at a uni that values diversity and it’s prioritised and commitments are made to ensure there’s opportunities for everyone.

When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time in and out of hospital, which meant I had to grow up very quickly. That gave me a unique perspective on the world and made me realise everyone deserves equal opportunities. My experiences were broadened again when I travelled the world with the Australian Paralympic basketball team. That really helped me realise I should never take for granted the opportunities I’ve been offered. I think those experiences have given me a unique perspective on life.

Diversity is such a broad term. To me, it means recognising and celebrating everyone’s backgrounds and experiences and journeys because that’s what makes the world a richer place. Diversity to me is not about acceptance; it’s about a celebration.

One way we can celebrate diversity is by speaking with each other and learning from each other’s experiences. University’s a great place to do that and I think that’s what diversity is all about.