The 2022 academic year started off with a bang at the William Cooper Institute as we welcomed 356 students, the largest First Nations student cohort Monash has ever had. Orientation was an action packed week full of First Nations representation and programming including a visit from First Nations Icons Stan Grant, Cathy Freeman and Eddie Betts.
We began the week with our Wominjeka events which included attendance from our local Elders who welcomed our students onto campus and invited them to participate in a smoking ceremony. We then enjoyed a fantastic array of first nation performers including Djirri Djirri, Culture Evolves, Dj Pgz, Madi Colville Walker, Kungari Entertainment, Benny Vee and Brothers In Arms Dance Crew. This event was also catered for by first nations catering companies Cooee Cafe and Mabu Mabu.
Our next event was the Koori Market, we partnered with Ngarrimili to present a fantastic assortment of Indigenous companies and artists showcasing their products. This event was a great example of how First Nations businesses and talent were at the forefront of the Monash O-Week this year. Some of the 16 First Nations artists and businesses included Yarli Creative, Wattleseed Nutrition, Briar Blooms and Balgarra Designs. Students also had the opportunity to hear from change-maker Bianca Hunt founder of AGNT BLAK, an agency that exclusively represents First Nations talent.
We ended the program with the highlight of our week, our guest speakers Stan Grant, Cathy Freeman and Eddie Betts. The Indigenous student carnival began with a private Q and A session for our First Nations students with sporting Icons Cathy Freeman and Eddie Betts. We then had the honour of listening to Stan Grant present his talk on "It's Not Black and White: Conversations On Sovereignty And Belonging". Stan's impactful talk was then followed by a moving interview with Stan hosted by William Cooper Director Jamil Tye. The carnival was actually the biggest student event the William Cooper Institute has had post COVID. The rest of the day included jamming to tunes from Indigenous DJ Rivity Rascal, and chowing down on free popcorn and coffee carts.
We look forward to more opportunities to showcase Indigenous excellence whilst focusing on engaging with our students, providing them with a robust program and holistic support in 2022 and throughout their journey here.