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Making a difference starts in Gladstone for innovative CQUni students, leaders

Making a difference starts in Gladstone for innovative CQUni students, leaders

Published:16 March 2017

Ten students will travel to Gladstone for CQUni's third Social Innovation Studio.

They’re tomorrow’s leaders who want to change the world. A group of passionate CQUniversity students are starting by making a difference in Gladstone.

Travelling to the resources hub from across the country, the students will spend eight days participating in CQUni’s third annual Social Innovation Studio at the Gladstone Marina campus, working with the community to drive big ideas for the region’s future.

Arriving on Friday, 17 March, the local and international students from a wide variety of disciplines will team up with Gladstone changemakers to grapple with many of the challenges faced by the fast-changing regional city.

Locals including high school students, industry and business leaders, and community groups, will work with the participants as they develop ideas for Gladstone-based innovation, and pitch them back to the community.

And with practical experience in everything from dance to native bees, and international business to building bridges, the CQUni students hope to learn a lot – and leave their mark on Gladstone, too.

Local mum, dance teacher and CQUni student Christine Buxton said she was passionate about community resilience.

“I’m new to Gladstone, but growing up in a small mining town, and then living for nine years in the Northern Territory, I’ve definitely seen the importance of creativity to regional communities,” she said.

Studying her Bachelor of Education (Secondary), Christine is hoping to learn techniques for social innovation that she can pass on to the next generation.

Social Innovation Studio Gladstone project manager Ashley Clarke said both student and community participants stood to gain from the experience.

“The studio is an opportunity to learn and apply social innovation, leadership, collaboration, design and entrepreneurial talents, to create lasting social impact,” she said.

“Participants will be challenged with the task of facilitating engagement with the community, working on live projects, and applying human-centred design approaches to produce unique and innovative ideas.”

The experience will culminate as teams of students pitch their ideas back to the community – in a dynamic public event at CQUni Gladstone Marina on Saturday, 25 March. All are welcome to attend the session and share their feedback, from 4 pm until 6 pm.  

It’s the third time CQUni Gladstone has hosted social innovation experiences, with previous incubators in 2015 and 2016 delivering a creative range of ideas for the community.

This month’s event follows CQUniversity’s support for local entrepreneur group Startup Gladstone, formed to empower local people to grow smart, successful and tech-savvy businesses.

Associate Vice-Chancellor for Gladstone Region Professor Owen Nevin said CQUni was a natural fit for driving creative innovation in regional Queensland.

“We have a long history of strengthening local economies, especially through research and development, and now we’re also equipping our students to approach their careers with innovative techniques to transform their communities,” Professor Nevin said.

Social Innovation Studio Gladstone is supported by a wide range of local businesses, including Central Apartment Group, Queensland Energy Resources, Queensland Rail, 1800 Smiles, Savour the Flavour, and ConocoPhillips.

Earlier this month, CQUniversity was officially inducted into Ashoka U, an exclusive international network of universities committed to social innovation and impact.

To follow the events of the Social Innovation Studio Gladstone over the coming week, keep an eye on #CQUniSocialInnovation and #SISG3 across CQUni's social media platforms.