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Festival of Change inspires and innovates

Published:09 August 2019

Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur Leanne Kemp at CQUni's Townsville campus.

Students, staff and stakeholders from across CQUni’s footprint collaborated on projects, attended forums and debated important topics as part of the second annual Festival of Change (FoC).

Hosted by the Office of Social Innovation in conjunction with the Engagement and Campuses teams across the regions, close to a thousand participants attended more than 30 activities over the three-day festival that ran from August 6-8.

At the panel discussion on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Klomp encouraged students to “bang on his door” if they’ve got ideas about improving sustainability and social impact at CQUniversity.

The discussion, moderated by Director of Social Innovation Lara Carton, also featured United Nations Association of Australia Executive Director Lachlan Hunter, and Student Representative Council Chair Rhianna Wood, and was hosted at CQUni Rockhampton North and streamed live across 10 campuses.

Professor Klomp enthusiastically described every individual’s potential for driving change, and the initiatives he’d already seen around campuses – but admitted he’d like to see more.

“Sometimes it might feel like we’re only doing a tiny little thing, but A, that influences others, and B, don’t underestimate how you can influence up, by telling the Vice-Chancellor!”

This year’s FoC also featured a presentation by Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur Leanne Kemp who inspired guests with her speech about entrepreneurship and the need for greater innovations as the world heads into a more uncertain future.

Systems thinking workshops were held in Melbourne and Sydney, delivered for students in partnership with YLab, the social enterprise arm of the Foundation for Young Australians.

A professional development workshop was held in Noosa, delivered by Dr Tobias Andreasson, Associate Director of Social Innovation, who designed a session for academic staff to assist them in supporting targets to include social innovation skills into the curriculum and at CQUni’s Rockhampton North campus, staff and students got their hands dirty in a community garden hands-on activity that was organised by Nikhil Mungilwar from the University’s Directorate of Facilities Management’s Sustainability team.

Throughout the festival, social procurement morning and afternoon teas were held across the campuses which highlighted easy opportunities for staff to buy from local social enterprises. The initiative supports the University’s goal to increase its social procurement spend by 50 percent over the coming year.

“Staff were given spot prizes of Who Gives a Crap toilet paper and tissues, and ThankYou products for coming up with easy-to-implement opportunities for increasing their own involvement in social procurement activities,” Ms Carton said.

In Mackay, an Indaba was held with a focus on ‘bright youth futures through the eyes of technology’, which was well-attended by members of the local council including Mayor Greg Williamson.

Change Champion for Mackay, Mignon Viljoen was delighted with the turnout of nearly 50 community members to engage in the conversation.

The 2019 FoC culminated in a Lunch and Learn session with Social Innovation Engagement Committee member and CEO of SecondBite, Jim Mullan.

Mr Mullan spoke about his own path to becoming an international leader in the social impact sector, and the opportunities for Australia to address issues of food insecurity.

“Jim has been a strong supporter of the University’s social innovation agenda, and in 2018 was the recipient of a CQUniversity Honorary Doctorate recognising his work,” Ms Carton said.

Ms Carton said this year’s festival was a great success and looked forward to bringing it back in 2020.

"We know that the CQUniversity community – staff, students, stakeholders and alumni - want to be part of the solution for their communities and the FoC has again helped them see the myriad of ways in which that is possible."