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Still leading the nation in social innovation

Published:30 January 2020

CQUniversity has achieved re-accreditation as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus.

At CQUniversity, every student is equipped and empowered to be a changemaker.

And CQUni's programs that support students, staff and community to find innovative and sustainable solutions to complex social problems are now globally recognised for their impact.

From January 2020, CQUniversity has been re-accredited as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus, after becoming Australia’s first-ever University to achieve the title, at the end of 2016.

Ashoka U, an exclusive international network of universities committed to social innovation, enterprise and impact, has just 45 members world-wide, and CQUniversity remains the only Australian member.

Our re-accreditation recognises three years of diverse program development at CQUniversity, designed to equip students, staff and community members to drive positive change in their world.

CQuniversity Vice-Chancellor and President Nick Klomp said the successful re-accreditation reflected CQUni’s inclusive and empowering approach to education, and commitment to global leadership.

“This achievement is a natural progression from the University’s long-held vision to be Australia’s most accessible, supportive and engaged university,” Prof Klomp said.

“Continuing our relationship with Ashoka U, and all its change leader members, creates enormous opportunity for CQUniversity to grow our offerings for life-changing education in Australia, and around the world.

“We’ve developed our curriculum to ensure every CQUni student graduates with a social innovation mindset, and the skills to create positive social change within their profession and we continue to build practical partnerships and initiatives that supports students to use those skills to benefit their communities.”

Since 2017, CQUniversity has developed a range of social innovation programs, including:

  • Australia’s first whole-of-institution social innovation orientation program, iChange is freely available to all CQUniversity students and staff, and has helped kickstart hundreds of changemaker journeys,
  • Social Innovation Workshops, held across regional Queensland, have supported diverse student cohorts to design solutions for community partners, across homelessness, community development and social enterprise sectors,
  • Partnering with Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council partnership, to establish an education, enterprise and research hub in the Indigenous community,
  • Catalysing Regional Ecosystems, which sees CQUni partner with Queensland Social Enterprise Council to support regional enterprises through education and network initiatives.

In the past three years as Australia’s only Changemaker Campus, CQUni has ignited and accelerated more than 5000 changemaker journeys.

CQUniversity’s Office of Social Innovation has been driving the University’s social innovation strategy, designing a range of initiatives for students, staff and community members to engage with social innovation.

These programs have been developed with community input, and delivered with partners including United Nations Association of Australia, Engineers Without Borders Australia, Roseberry Qld, Social Traders Australia, The Foundation for Young Australians, SecondBite, The Big Issue, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Orange Sky Laundry,  Seven Women Nepal, Welcoming Intercultural Neighbours, Creative Recycling Gladstone, disability enterprise Agapi, Study Abroad/Global Mobility Scheme, The Social Deck, and more.

In November last year, the Office of Social Innovation hosted the Sustainable Futures speaker tour, featuring US sustainable business expert and Sharpe-McNally Chair of Green and Socially Responsible Business at College of the Atlantic, Professor Jay Friedlander.

The tour included 12 workshops and lectures across Melbourne, Brisbane, Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Mackay, and more than 200 people attended to learn strategies for growing enterprise and income, while supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

CQUniversity’s 2019-2023 Strategic Plan: Our Future Is You outlines clear plans to further embed social innovation in curriculum, as well as supporting for-good enterprise with social and Indigenous procurement growth targets.

To explore more CQUniversity social innovation initiatives and opportunities, visit cqu.edu.au/socialinnovation.