Community Engagement - What You Can Do

Action plan

This action plan has been paired with the Business and Industry Interface Framework

Initiatives

  • Become involved in the Good Life Community Cooperative
  • Share good practice examples to stimulate community engagement
  • Record stories to describe the impact of investments into community groups and not-for-profit organisations
  • Join your Campus Environmental Committee
  • Take advantage of CSU's institutional membership of Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability and become an active contributor to this association
  • Foster networks with community-based groups in your neighbourhood (e.g. Landcare, whole foods co-operatives, social enterprises) and act as an information broker between these groups and CSU
  • Source and recommend inspirational presenters to be involved as part of the CSU Explorations Series.

Achievements

Girinyalanha – more than just a 'Yarning Circle'

Vignette: Girinyalanha – more than just a 'Yarning Circle'

"The $50,000 investment from this sustainability grant has brought many multi-dimensional changes to both the physical landscape as well as to stakeholders involved at CSU Orange.  These changes include the physical transformation of an abandoned weed infested, remnant vegetation area which has been transformed into an educational, research and recreational site for use by the CSU community, the Aboriginal and wider community to use.  The campus has physically changed to be more inclusive and safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and staff.

This project has introduced staff and students to Aboriginal culture, knowledge and ceremony with a number of ceremonies being conducted on the site including smoking, welcome to country with local Landcare group gatherings.

Another change has been the expanded teaching and learning opportunities.  There have been changes within subjects, for example an Aboriginal Research subject in clinical science sharing Wiradjuri knowledge.  Also we have introduced the Cultural Change course for staff facilitating the meeting of western science with Aboriginal science.   Aboriginal knowledge is highly valued and practical pharmaceutical outcomes drive learning opportunities in curricula.

However, the most significant change has been the establishment of a practical and functional partnership with the Aboriginal community.  This has been the most fundamental outcome of the project.   It has allowed networking between the local land council workers, CSU, and schools. It has developed cultural awareness sessions and delivered cultural sessions to physiotherapy, nursing and visiting medical students from Sydney.  It has facilitated interdisciplinary learning.

Before this project we didn't have a functional partnership.  We employed Aboriginal people to do the welcome to country ceremonies and it felt tokenistic.

Over the last 18 months (starting late 2014) CSU fostered trust through meetings between Aboriginal elders and the Aboriginal Land Council meetings, learning along the way.  Through that experience, we developed a true partnership.  This facilitated the practical design of the Girinyalanha Aboriginal Nature and Bioscience Park.  The centre piece of the design is the 'Yarning Circle'. Whilst sitting around the circle people can view Mount Canobolas in distance which is a sacred site. 

Now we have the potential to move forward and develop deeper connections between CSU, Aboriginal people and the local non-indigenous community.  We now have the potential to enrich connections between internal university courses, not just nominally, but practically, with Aboriginal people.  We have also enriched connections between Aboriginal community and wider communities, thus establishing the potential for unending opportunities.

For example, two weeks ago, a group of Aboriginal students from Wellington High School came to learn about how we developed the 'Yarning Circle', as they were going to plan one too. We plan to have local astronomy nights highlighting the 'Dark Emu,' the Aboriginal constellation in the night sky.  We are sharing the significance of Aboriginal science, and the site is not quite finished.

Currently, we are building a new pathway down to a water feature, a dam at the bottom of the hill.  We are planning further designs including planting culturally significant plants like Lomandra for basket weaving, bush foods and medicinal plantings like wattle seed.  We are facilitating connections between school children and university students as part of Future Moves.   Additionally there are three scared trees on the site used by Aboriginals thus connecting Aboriginal children to their own presence on the land."

By Cesidio Parissi, Lecturer in Problem Based Learning, School of Biomedical Sciences, CSU Orange in December 2016.

Campus Environment Committees (CEC)

Joining the Campus Environment Committee (CEC) at your local CSU campus will give you the chance to form relationships with like-minded staff, students, businesses and organisations. CEC meetings are a platform for discussion, partnership and skill-sharing. Through meetings, you will help to strengthen sustainability outcomes for the University and our various communities.

Albury-Wodonga AWCEC

Email: hocalburywodonga@csu.edu.au
Phone: (02) 6051 9806 – Wendy Rose Davison, Executive Officer AWCEC.

Bathurst BCEC

Email: tsyphers@csu.edu.au
Phone: (02) 6338 4645 – Tarah Syphers, Executive Officer BCEC.

Dubbo DCEC

Email: mbritnell@csu.edu.au
Phone: (02) 6885 7370 – Melissa Britnell, Executive Officer DCEC.

Orange OCEC

Email: mdrake@csu.edu.au
Phone: (02) 6365 7500 – Margot Drake, Executive Officer OCEC.

Port Macquarie PMCEC

Email: alwoods@csu.edu.au
Phone: (02) 6582 9334 – Alison Woods, Executive Officer PMCEC.

Wagga Wagga WWCEC

Email: pschipp@csu.edu.au
Phone: (02) 6933 2292 – Patricia Schipp, Executive Officer WWCEC.

CEC terms of reference [pdf 23kb]

CEC poster [pdf 1.1mb]

Partnership

We are committed to strengthening our community partnerships and providing skill-sharing and networking opportunities for students, staff and community partners. Ways that we do this include:

  • co-hosting sustainability events
  • promoting initiatives run by local organisations
  • inviting partners to join us for national and University initiatives
  • providing in-kind support for workshop space
  • sponsoring students and staff to attend sustainability conferences.

Find community groups in your area in this community resource document [doc 20kb]. Although the groups and activities are not endorsed by CSU, these are complementary to CSU's sustainability values.

Professional development in sustainability

Whether you're a business, CSU alumni or environmental organisation, providing professional development in sustainability means you're investing in the sustainability leaders of the future. Supporting students through internship opportunities, professional development, lectures and workshops are valuable ways to contribute and we can help facilitate these.

Short film Resources

How can you be involved? Check out the short films [doc 17kb] available