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CQUni initiatives to inspire new generation of changemakers

Published:20 June 2018

The Changemaker Strategic Initiatives and iChange launch heard from songwoman Maroochy Barambah, iChange student presenters Urusha Kansakar and Leslie Lowe, and VC Prof Scott Bowman, with many of CQUni's social innovators and supporters attending.

CQUniversity is determined to change the world for the better – and with a new suite of social change initiatives, the innovation leader is inspiring and empowering the next generation of changemakers.

At an event packed with some of Australia’s biggest social innovators across business, social enterprise and not-for-profit, Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman has revealed CQUniversity’s new Changemaker Strategic Directions, and plans to establish the research and project-focused Centre for Changemaking.

Prof Bowman also officially launched iChange, an Australia-first program introducing university students to social innovation history, practice and opportunities.

The inspiring online course, piloted for commencing CQUni students in Term 1 2018, is now available and free for all CQUni students and staff, inspiring and empowering participation in real-world social change.

The Changemaker Initiatives launch event, at CQUniversity Brisbane on Tuesday 19 June, 2018, affirmed CQUniversity’s role as an Australian leader in social change, and celebrate a range of achievements already made.

Prof Bowman said CQUniversity was excited to be blazing new trails in social innovation for higher education.

“Our commitment to driving social change through innovation isn’t just about our research, or about opportunities for our students – these new announcements mean we are embedding social innovation across all our operations,” Prof Bowman said.

The initiatives also include a range of Indigenous partnerships, support for local and international development projects, and a commitment to establish a Social Procurement Strategy across CQUni.

“Whether it’s how we deliver learning and teaching across our 24 national sites, or how we support our communities from Karratha to Yarrabah, or even how we book event catering here in Brisbane - we’re driven by the knowledge that our innovative approach is changing the world for the better.”

The Changemaker Initiatives are underpinned by CQUni’s new Social Innovation Strategic Directions - five broad areas of focus, clearly linked to UN Sustainable Development Goals. These are: Bright Youth Futures, Healthy and Connected Communities, Partnership with First Nations’ Peoples, Sustainable Regional Development, and Looking After Our Planet.

Prof Bowman said all social innovation work across CQUni would be rigorously assessed to understand impact and community benefit, as the new Centre for Changemaking focused on internal and external social innovation.

CQUniversity Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Engagement and Campuses) Prof Pierre Viljoen said the announcements follow CQUniversity’s long-running commitment to social innovation, including student and community projects, and establishing a social innovation mindset as a graduate attribute for all students.

“Social innovation is a natural extension of our CQUni value of giving back, and we’re proud our work to drive social change has been recognised with a Changemaker Campus designation by Ashoka U,” Prof Viljoen said.

Ashoka U is an exclusive international network of universities committed to social innovation, entrepreneurship and impact, and in 2017 CQUni was the first Australian university accepted to join the global organisation.

The event also heard from Jim Mullan, CEO of SecondBite, a national social enterprise dedicated to surplus food redistribution.

Mr Mullan, who's worked alongside CQUni's social innovation team for several years, said the new initiatives would have particular impact for regional Australia.

“Regional students are going to return to their regions with the ability to change not only their own lives, but the lives of those around them," he said.

The Changemaker Initiatives launch MC was Social Innovation Director Lara Carton, who especially congratulated iChange program manager Robin Dick, students Urusha Kansakar and Leslie Lowe who presented the iChange program content, and all the CQUni staff, students and supporters who contributed to the compelling content.

For more about CQUniversity’s social innovation agenda and activity, visit cqu.edu.au/socialinnovation.

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