Challenging the status quo seems to be the current invitation thrown out to Australians, particularly the young.
It was the defining message at CSU’s Wagga campus commencement ceremony to herald another year in Australia’s learning capital.
Head of campus Adrian Lindner borrowed from the words of Swiss philosopher Jean Piaget to tell incoming students the two goals of education were, firstly, “to create people who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done” and, secondly, “to form minds which can be critical, can verify and not just accept everything they are offered”.
Lindner also reminded them that the 19th century poet and clergyman, Robert Aris Willmott, described education as the “apprenticeship of life” and CSU was there to help them make a significant contribution to their chosen discipline and in society both nationally and internationally.
Chancellor, Lawrie Willett, prompted students to practice the ideal of Captain Charles Sturt, after whom the university is named, to work “for the public good”, at the same time outlining the increasing quality of graduates, staff and facilities that is making CSU Wagga one of the nation’s most sought-after learning facilities.
Indicative of the academic staff standards is a pharmacy lecturer who is also a professor of cardiology at Macquarie University; a multimedia lecturer who received an Academy Award for his work on the movie Happy Feet; and a biochemistry lecturer who received the 2012 Young Scientists Award from the Federation of Asian and Oceania Biochemists and Molecular Biologists.
It is the quality of the Wagga campus’s facilities that is most imposing. The newly commissioned $46 million National Life Sciences Hub, which takes its first students this year, has been given a five-star Green Star rating representing excellence in sustainable building design.
The library was recently refurbished and now provides a 24-hour learning facility incorporating the library, study spaces, computer labs, researchers’ rooms, parents’ rooms for students with small children, a café and a mix of group study and multimedia spaces.
Then there’s the 24-chair dental teaching clinic which received two awards in last year’s Australian Steel Industry NSW and ACT steel design awards.
Wagga people should never take for granted what the CSU campus has done for the city or what it will do in the future.
Residents get a chance to reciprocate on March 21 when the annual Town and Gown academic procession takes place down Baylis Street, a tradition in many university cities and towns the world over.
After the parade, parents and year 10-12 high school students can visit the educational displays in the Victory Memorial Gardens, featuring tertiary opportunities while enjoying the music of the Kooringal High School band.
It was Piaget, who as director of the International Bureau of Education in 1934, said, “only education is capable of saving our societies from possible collapse”.
CSU is certainly playing its part.