This week our Indigenous students were invited for a personal tour of Melbourne University and RMIT, to make contact with the Koorie support units that offer incredible support services for those thinking about courses at either campus.
At Melbourne University the students toured through the Trinity College accommodation area and learnt so much about living in residence. The Indigenous support group is called Murrup Barrak and they spent a lot of time explaining the support provided to Indigenous students living away from home and family. There are spaces to cater for all personality types.
For those seeking a quiet life of study, with early nights and plenty of solitude, there is a unit of accommodation called “Where Nerds Run Free”—a respected space like the ‘Quiet Carriage’ on a train.
Alternatively, there are a multitude of social groups based on personal interest and an all-round strong sense of community. Trinty College and ‘Melbourne Uni’ in general felt spacious and secure and had a very real sense of history about its architecture and traditions.
RMIT offered a real contrast for students; its campus featuring amazing contemporary and creative design, bustling, noisy and located in a very public space. The Indigenous support service—Ngarara Willim—was also incredibly welcoming and encouraging of our students. It provides a smaller community of support people and services that become like family to those who have to relocate to study. Students were treated to a robotics demonstration provided by the Engineering students.
The Australian Government implements a range of measures to encourage Indigenous students to complete their university studies – because of the wider range of opportunities it provides to participate in the economy and contribute to community life. The target to halve the gap for Indigenous Australians with a Year 12 attainment or equivalent attainment by 2020 is on track to be met – and there has been a surge in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students going on to higher education. (https://closingthegap.pmc.gov.au/executive-summary)