Indigenous Connections at USQ opens window on uni life

Mikayla Shea from Lockyer District State High School.
Mikayla Shea from Lockyer District State High School. Bev Lacey

LEARNING to play a didgeridoo is not the easiest task in the world, but after a lesson at the University of Southern Queensland, St George student Ned Jones thinks he might have the hang of it.

The 14-year-old from St George joined 300 fellow indigenous students at USQ's Indigenous Connections event.

High school students from all over south-west Queensland travelled to Toowoomba for the event which gave them the opportunity to experience what university life was all about.

Nanango State High School student Eden Farrar spent her afternoon making traditional women's dance sticks with friend Alex Fitzpatrick.

The girls decorated their sticks with feathers and other traditional materials.

"We're having heaps of fun," she said.

USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas said the event was all about letting indigenous students know that attending university was possible for them, regardless of where they came from.

"Coming to university is scary for anyone who doesn't have any family experience in tertiary education," she said.

"We'd like them to feel like university is something that they can succeed at."

Professor Thomas said she believed it was important to engage young people in higher education while they were still progressing through high school.

Alex Fitzpatrick and Eden Farrar from Nanango.
Alex Fitzpatrick and Eden Farrar from Nanango. Bev Lacey

It was one of the most important community programs run by the university every year.

About 300 students took part in activities such as traditional art, making dance sticks, dancing, playing indigenous sports and didgeridoo lessons.

Students also took part in talks with USQ academic staff to get a taste of what happened in university classrooms.

The two-day event, which is in its fifth year, is being held at the Clive Berghofer Recreation Centre.

Indigenous Connections

  • Where: Clive Berghofer Recreation Centre at USQ
  • When: Today from 9.30am to 2pm
  • What: A chance for indigenous students to see what university life is like.

Topics:  indigenous connections toowoomba usq

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