CQUniversity wants to change the world for the better – and through social innovation its students, staff, academics and the wider university community are all driving that transformation.
On August 1, CQUni’s Townsville Campus played host to The Festival of Change (FOC) – a multi-campus event that celebrated and brought to life changemaking both at CQUni and within our community.
Festivities featured CQUni students, staff, academics, alumni and stakeholders that are making a difference, and promoted opportunities for engagement, learning and collaboration.
The FOC included a Changemaker market stall that showcased local businesses that are committed to social innovation such as Sage Circle (re-useable shopping bags and keep cups), Artisan Vegan Culinary Nutrition (vegan, raw food, dairy and gluten free cooking classes and food-drying classes), iNQ (innovation centre offering co-working space, offices, mentorship and events) and of course, BDmag.
An initiative dreamt up by CQUni’s Office of Social Innovation, the FOC also featured a keynote presentation by Orange Sky Australia (OSA) co-founders and 2016 Young Australians of the Year Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett.
In October 2014, these two best mates had a crazy idea to put two washing machines and two dryers in the back of a van, and wash and dry clothes for free.
OSA is now helping to positively connect people experiencing homelessness through free laundry, showers and conversation and Nic and Lucas’ presentation, The Power of a Conversation, focused on just that.
To a live audience of close to 100 people as well as dial-in audiences from across CQUni’s diverse national footprint, the duo spoke about the powerful and also sometimes gripping conversations that have shaped the lives of not only their journey but that of Orange Sky’s.
They explained that the average household does 36kg of washing every week and their Orange Sky laundry vans facilitate over 200 times that amount each and every week – for the homeless and disadvantages…and for free.
OSA’s launched Kaz – their first van for Townsville – earlier this year and CQUni is a proud sponsor of the vehicle.
CQUni Townsville and North West Queensland Associate Vice-Chancellor Kari Arbouin said the partnership was one she was honoured to be a part of.
“CQUniversity is strongly committed to Social Innovation and we put a huge focus on building on our long-term strategy of engagement and ‘giving back”, Ms Arbouin explained.
“We continue to be a leader within the social innovation space by not only being Australia’s only Ashoka U-accredited Changemaker Campus, but also by offering a number of Social Innovation opportunities to our staff and students and this collaboration is an extension of that. We now have a number of our staff registered as Orange Sky volunteers and I’m extremely proud of that.”
Following Nic and Lucas’ presentation, CQUni students were given a unique opportunity to participate in special FOC workshop, run by YLab – a consulting, learning and digital storytelling enterprise that brings fresh thinking to complex social challenges.
“YLab’s ‘Finding Your Purpose’ workshop gave our students the chance to explore what ‘purpose’ really means,” Ms Arbouin said.
“Participants were encouraged to reflect on what drives and inspires them, and to develop ways to pursue their social change career and personal aspirations.
“Overall, CQUni’s inaugural FOC was a huge success.”