New ambassadors set to inspire changemaking

Published:03 March 2020

The new Change Champion team with Social Innovation Program Managers Steve Williams and Ashley Clarke.

They’re the newest faces of social innovation at CQUniversity – and these Change Champs are ready to inspire the next generation of student changemakers, too.

With diverse backgrounds, and representing a range of CQUni campuses, the latest team of social innovation ambassadors are getting out and about across Orientation to invite fellow students to get involved.

The 2020 Change Champ team members are:

- Rockhampton Bachelor of Physiotherapy student Abeshek Nadarajah, who’s also a Capricorn College resident who moved from Melbourne for his studies,

- Townsville Bachelor of Nursing student Bridie McDade, who last year completed a CQUGlobal Outbound program in India as a New Columbo Plan scholarship recipient,

- Mackay Bachelor of Digital Media student Minnie Brechin, who’s also a small business owner, and an aspiring documentary-maker,

- Brisbane Master of Management for Engineers student Nagendra Kafley, who moved from his home in Bhutan to begin his course, and is passionate about making a global impact,

- Melbourne Master of Information Technology student Chiamaka Ibeme, originally from Nigeria, who also volunteers with Foundation for Young Australians’ social enterprise ylab,

- Brisbane Master of Clinical Chiropractic student Kathryn Yost, who juggles her studies and social innovation role with being a mum to toddler.

CQUni defines social innovation as: “Engaging with our communities to address entrenched social issues”, and already offers a range of projects for students, staff and alumni to get involved, including the free iChange orientation program, the Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation, The Big Idea competition, Social Innovation Workshops, and international exchange projects.

The Change Champs will work with the Office of Social Innovation to support new and existing events and projects across their campuses, including the third annual Festival of Change across 21 August – 14 September 2020.

Director for Social Innovation Lara Carton said the Change Champs team, coordinated by Social Innovation Program Manager Ashley Clarke, had become integral to changemaking at CQUni.

“The enthusiasm and passion in this team is fantastic, and their student perspective is so important for how we get broad involvement in social innovation initiatives right across our campuses,” Ms Carton said.

“Our Change Champs are great examples of CQUni’s potential for transforming communities, and how social innovation can boost students’ experience and career opportunities, too.”

To work with the new Change Champs, please contact the Office of Social Innovation on, and visit to explore coming events on your campus.

It’s a big year for social innovation at CQUni, recently celebrating re-accreditation as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus.

CQUni was named Australia’s first Changemaker campus in 2017, and the re-accreditation recognises three years of diverse program development, as well as creating enormous opportunity for CQUniversity to grow our students’ and communities’ impact for transformative social change.

Mackay Change Champ Minnie Brechin said she was excited to explore how social innovation could transform her region.

“It is crucial that we are proactive in our response to global issues affecting both the environment and society,” she said.

“I hope to inspire students to graduate with a changemaking mindset, and that we all create a stronger, more sustainable future!"