FNQ lifestyle inspires CQUni student’s Big Idea for lifechanging Picnic

Published:11 November 2020

CQUni Cairns student Agata Adamczewska is completing her Master of Sustainable Tourism Management.

A CQUniversity Cairns student is hoping to change lives with her bespoke picnic plan to support eating disorder survivors.

And the determined changemaker has taking her idea to the semi-finals of national social enterprise design competition The Big Idea.

Agata Adamczewska is completing her Master of Sustainable Tourism Management, after moving from London to study the unique course.

The Polish adventurer has a background in marketing and media, but it’s her personal experience with mental health challenges which inspired her to help others.

“When I got the email inviting students to design a social enterprise, I realised I had been carrying an idea in my head for a long time, and this was my chance to make it happen,” she said.

The 33-year-old pitched her Picnic project proposal to social innovation leaders at CQUniversity, then a panel of sector experts for The Big Idea semi-finals on Wednesday 11 November 2020.

“My social enterprise Picnic would offer clients delicious local food and event styling, while engaging young people recovering from eating disorders, by providing work and work experience in the business,” Agata explained.

“I’ve had my own experience of disordered eating; the lack of awareness is harmful as many people still see eating disorders as a lifestyle, or a choice driven by vanity, nor a serious mental health condition”.

“When you’re in recovery, you’re afraid to go outside and socialise with people, it’s really difficult to overcome fear of sharing food – but Picnic would connect young people within the community and help them to develop, and maintain, a healthy relationship with food”.

Positive use of social media through food and décor styling and photography, as well as beautiful outdoor settings, would also be central to the project.

Designing a business proposal for The Big Idea, Agata thought about her favourite aspects of Cairns living, including the food and the community.

“I love the way that Cairns people are connected to nature, we spend a lot of time outside, socialising and enjoying the wildlife, tropical treats and a cheeky drink under a palm tree,” she said.

“If you’re suffering from an eating disorder, you’re missing out on that – but I hope my Picnic project can offer a chance to reconnect with both nature and other people.”

Agata has juggled her participation around fulltime study and working at the Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns.

“It’s very busy, but think if you’re doing something you’re really passionate about, you will always find time and have fun while at it,” she said.

Agata is one of two student teams representing CQUni in The Big Idea semi-finals, with finalists announced on Thursday 12 November.

This is the seventh year CQUniversity has supported student teams to enter The Big Idea, coordinated by Australian social enterprise The Big Issue, with winning teams in 2014, 2015 and 2017.