Local perspective handy as Gladstone gets innovative with CQUni

Published:25 June 2015

CQUniversity Psychology student Janene Arnold-Hancock will bring a local perspective to the Gladstone Region Social Innovation Incubator project.

Born and raised in Boyne Island, CQUniversity Psychology student Janene Arnold-Hancock has travelled the world and moved away for study – but she’s always ended up back in the Gladstone Region.

“It gets a bad rap, but Gladstone really is an incredible area to live – and it’s got great opportunities for work, and for enjoying the outdoors,” Janene said.

Janene is one of 13 students participating in the Gladstone Region Social Innovation Incubator over the next two weeks, to complete CQUniversity’s Community Engaged Learning course. 

The students will meet Gladstone industry, business and community leaders, and grapple with many of the challenges faced by the fast-changing regional city, before developing ideas for social innovations that could help tackle them.  

“There’s only two students from Gladstone doing the course, so I think it will be good to have an insider’s perspective in the mix,” she said.

“And I am biased – I really want to see Gladstone grow and provide opportunities for locals outside of industry.”

“Those changes won’t happen without strong social innovation and local leadership.”

Janene rates her favourite social innovation in Gladstone as the fitness equipment parks and cycling paths, and said she’d like to focus on driving initiatives to improve mental health.

“I’ve always wanted to work with teenagers, and there is a huge need for more mental health support – suicide is a huge problem in the region,” Janene said.

“And there’s so many ways you can improve mental health – building new ways to connect with your community, and growing civic pride.”

Following the two-week Social Innovation Incubator process, Janene will do her final term at CQUniversity next term, before tackling honours next year.

“I really want to be a clinical psychologist, so it’s a hard road of study – but it’s a service that we really need more of in Gladstone,” she said.

Janene is already helping change her corner of the world, volunteering as a CQUniversity Student Ambassador.

And she hopes the Gladstone Region Social Innovation Incubator will give her new opportunities to support the local region.

The participants will meet with a huge range of leaders from government, industry and the community, and will leave behind a number of ideas for potential future development.

One project to be chosen by an expert “Dragon’s Den” panel as particularly worthy of implementation, and CQUniversity’s International Directorate has donated $5000 to kick-start driving this idea to a reality.

Locals can follow its progress on social media, by following the hashtag #InnovateGladstone on Twitter and Instagram.