CQUni conference builds leaders of our nation's future

Published:02 November 2017

CQuni students attend the 2017 Student Leadership Conference in Mackay.

Mackay rolled out the welcome mat on 31 October to November 1 to almost 100 students from across the country for the CQUni Aspire student leadership conference.

The theme of this year’s annual event was Become a Changemaker: Social Innovation in Action.

Highlights included presentations by guest speakers Naomi Arnold (CQUni alumnus and award-winning business and life passion coach) and Tara Diversi (entrepreneur and CQUni alumnus), Wayne Horwood (from Headspace, a national youth mental health foundation) and students Ellise Leahy (Education), Lydia O’Meara (Medical Sciences, Nutrition), and Tenille Da Rin Perette (Business).

Naomi Arnold said she hoped students would find their own way to contribute to creating social change based on their platforms, passions and uniqueness.

"We can create change in so many different ways, and I think it is much more powerful and sustainable when we take personal responsibility for combining self-awareness with social awareness, and taking action in a way that aligns with our strengths, personality and sphere of influence," she said.

In her presentation, Tenille Da Rin Perette (of Mackay) described her CQUni student experience as “phenomenal”.

In March, Tenille and fellow student Lydia O’Meara (of Cairns) took part in the Ashoka U Exchange social innovation conference in Miami, USA.

At the Exchange, CQUniversity was inducted into Ashoka U, an exclusive international network of universities committed to social innovation and impact.

“This experience showed us first-hand how social innovators are changing lives across the world; it was incredibly enlightening and empowering,” Tenille said.

“I’ve been amazed by all the opportunities for regional students, and I’m a firm believer you only get out of it what you put in to it – so I’m investing 120 per cent,” she said.

CQUni Aspire participants also took part in a range of leadership and teambuilding workshops, one of which was the Hands On Project to assemble 40 prosthetic hands that will be donated to landmine victims.

Bachelor of IT student Scott Gibson, who also sits on the Student Representative Council as the Central Highlands Representative, described this experience as a “highlight”.

“We made a tangible difference to a person’s life,” he said.

Hand kits were provided by Rotary Australia World Community Service, and funded by Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal and CQUni.

Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal Pty Ltd (DBCT P/L) Chief Executive Officer, Steve Rae, said sponsoring the Hands On Project component of the CQU Leadership Conference had benefits that extended far beyond the workshop.

“We were are able to assist our next generation of leaders learning and development, while at the same time ensuring someone overseas receives a life changing gift.

“Future leaders need to be compassionate, embrace innovation and understand corporate social responsibility. A workshop such as this has the ability to change someone’s perspective, help them to think outside of themselves and realise the difference they can make when working with a team on meaningful projects.”

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Scott Bowman said CQUni was proud to deliver a student-focused event specifically designed to support student success and leadership aspirations.

“I believe that CQni is Australia’s number one university for nurturing leadership qualities among students; it is our vision that this annual conference will assist students to continue building their networks, and identifying how they can make a difference,” he said.