Charles Sturt University was established as a university in 1989 to provide access to skills and education in regional Australia. But even before that (for the last 125 years in fact) the research stations, ag and teaching colleges that joined forces to become CSU were providing opportunities for local communities. Our commitment to the communities in our regions continues to this day.
That’s why CSU has launched the Community-University Partnerships (CUP) grant program.
Over to CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann for a run-down on how the program works.
“The university offers $100,000 in grants as an investment in the development of our regions. Members of our local communities are encouraged to apply for the funding to support their local community groups and activities.
“Charles Sturt University has a long and proud tradition of supporting our communities. The CUP initiative is all about the university supporting groups and organisations in achieving their goals.”
Local organisations can apply for a wide range of grants – with funding running from a few hundred dollars up to $20,000 – across five separate categories:
- arts and culture
- Indigenous initiatives
- small community initiatives.
An example of the kinds of initiative that the program supports is the Bathurst Writers’ and Readers’ Festival. In 2017, the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre (BMEC) received a grant from CSU to help put on events for the festival.
Kylie Shead, Creative Producer at BMEC, described how the grant helped them and local people.
“With the support of CSU Community-University Partnership grants, we have been able to bring professional writers to speak at the festival and at the same time keep the Bathurst Writers’ and Readers’ Festival free and therefore accessible for the community.”
An ongoing commitment
The Community-University Partnership grants are just a small part of CSU’s engagement with the communities around our campuses – and further afield in regional Australia.
For instance, we are one of the major providers of healthcare professionals in rural and regional Australia. Our dental and health clinics give our communities access to high-quality, affordable services – and at the same time allow our students to get practical experience and build the skills to take their place in professional practice when they graduate.
We also have a wide range of programs through which we work with community organisations to improve outcomes for local people – from the Future Moves program that delivers interactive activities for students in Years 5 to 12 to working with sports academies to support regional athletes.
Let’s take a look at one of CSU’s initiatives a bit more closely.
The Specialist Integrated Community Engagement (SpICE) program works with communities to develop skills in the rural workforce and so reduce the disadvantages faced by rural, remote and Indigenous families.
Dr Ruth Beecham, coordinator of the SpICE program, explained how it works.
“SpICE aims to improve the lives of rural and regional communities and families across central and southern New South Wales by developing their capacity to solve problems for themselves, by using the skills and knowledge of students enrolled in CSU degrees. Students work with committed local community leaders to develop capacity in schools, preschools, welfare and disability services, NGOs [non-government organisations], Aboriginal development, healing and health organisations in local government areas.”
A regional university helping regional people
Australia’s regional areas are beautiful, bountiful and full of potential. CSU is committed to working with regional and rural communities to release that potential and empower people to thrive.
Want to study at Australia’s largest regional university and make a difference in your community? Check out our wide range of courses and you could be getting started on your dream gig this July.