6 July 2016
Monash Residential Services (MRS) has a steadfast commitment to advancing the educational and extracurricular aspirations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students living on campus, which was clearly highlighted during this year’s NAIDOC Week activities.
Together with the Yulendji Indigenous Engagement Unit, MRS facilitated a panel discussion for staff on the topic: Thriving at University – engaging Indigenous students in campus life. Panelists were Robyn Oxley, the Indigenous Academic Support Co-ordinator at Yulendj Indigenous Engagement Unit at Monash University; her Yulendj colleague, Inala Cooper, the Senior Advisor for Indigenous Strategy and Communication at Yulendj; Emma Fletcher, Manager of Residential Support at Monash Residential Clayton; and second-year Education student Jyden Brailey.
This event comes off the back of a pilot leadership program developed by MRS for students who are the recipients of the Indigenous Residential Leadership Scholarship. Comprising seven tailored seminars and mentoring guidance over the course of a year, students are equipped with the skills and values to be leaders of influence across a wide range of contexts.
Trisha Prpich, Director of MRS makes the case that her team, ‘have seen an increase in the number of Indigenous students living on campus year on year, and are committed to furthering this as it adds to the richness and diversity that is already very much alive in our residential community. Engaging Indigenous students in campus life is fundamental to shaping a vibrant, thriving University experience for everyone involved.’
MRS has also actively invested in staff cultural competency over the year, ensuring that residential support staff are compulsorily required to complete the online Introduction to Cultural Safety training and many others encouraged to complete the Cultural Competency training developed by the Yulendji Indigenous Engagement Unit. Such efforts, as highlighted by Trisha work towards creating an environment where, everyone feels safe to be who they are.
Underpinning these efforts is of course the regular celebrations and acknowledgment of days of Indigenous significance that is alive and well across all Halls of Residence and for the large part, led by residents within the community.
MRS is excited to continue making bold progress in this area.