Community service projects proposed by students at Avondale see staff dig deep
The quality of proposals pitched by students for new community services has inspired staff members at Avondale to more than double donations for the projects.
The Faculty of Education, Business and Science invited its students to present proposals for projects that would potentially meet needs in the community. The best projects would receive funding from a pool of $2000.
The idea came from Jason Hinze, a lecturer in the Discipline of Education. He wanted to support students who wished to serve the community but did not have the resources to turn their dreams into reality. “Fundraising can be an onerous task and sometimes good ideas—and dreams—die in the process,” he says. Faculty Dean Associate Professor Kevin Petrie saw the potential in providing students an opportunity “to do something now rather than having to wait to put their service dreams into action.” He invited his staff members to provide funding for the pool. They responded with $2000 in donations.
Three groups of students presented their proposals during a faculty forum this past semester. While a select group of their colleagues deliberated, staff members donated even more money, taking the pool to $4500.
Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Teaching student Sophia Husband proposed buying craft supplies and stationary for her STORM Co team to give to children in the northern New South Wales town of Toomelah. Husband is a veteran of the short-term adventure mission ministry, serving for the past seven years. She shared, as part of her pitch, stories of the positive impact STORM Co is making in the community. She received $2000.
Ashlee Bennetts and Callan Bolst, also arts/teaching students, proposed purchasing a fridge to store leftover food from the cafeteria on Avondale’s Lake Macquarie campus. The food would go to families in need. “I was shocked to discover there were families going without food in my postcode,” says Bolst. He and Bennetts received $1500.
Bachelor of Business student Daniel Lavaiamat proposed purchasing six water purifiers for his sustainable water purification project in Papua New Guinea. Project participants sell the purifiers, with the profit from each sale covering the cost per unit. “Not only do families get clean drinking water, they now have a vehicle to earn an income.” Lavaiamat received $1000.
The enthusiasm with which the students presented their proposals and their passion for the projects impressed Petrie and his staff. “Each project is so different yet so practically focused on the needs of a particular group of people,” he says. “The students fully believe, and convinced us, there’s an opportunity to make a significant difference.”
Pitch perfect: Proposals for new community services pitched by Avondale College of Higher Education students Daniel Lavaiamat, Ashlee Bennetts, Sophia Husband and Callan Bolst piqued the interest of staff members in the Faculty of Education, Business and Science, including Dean Kevin Petrie and lecturer Jason Hinze. Credit: Erin Rozgonyi.