Supporting 'all areas' of student life at St Martin's

Thriving: Michelle Parr, Sharon Smith, Toni Neilson, Amanda Tobler, Meg Thompson with (front) Jeanine Aughey and Barbara Penninga. St Martin's resident Meg Thompson is now working while finishing her degree. Picture: Supplied.

Thriving: Michelle Parr, Sharon Smith, Toni Neilson, Amanda Tobler, Meg Thompson with (front) Jeanine Aughey and Barbara Penninga. St Martin's resident Meg Thompson is now working while finishing her degree. Picture: Supplied.

St Martin's is an independent Anglican residential college that can house 98 residents on the campus of Charles Sturt University at Wagga Wagga.

Susan Bazzana was appointed as the new Head of College in February 2021 after working as Dean of Residents at New College Postgraduate Village at UNSW.

"At St Martin's we pride ourselves on being inclusive with a strong emphasis on the pastoral care of our residents," Susan said.

"We want to create communities where young people can thrive, in what is often their first experience of living away from home.

"We have resident advisors and staff such as myself who live in the community with the students providing that additional level of support and supervision that is sometimes needed to ensure residents are well cared for."

Resident advisors are students from within the community who are trained to offer support to their peers. They play a major role in creating the positive community life that living in a residential college offers students. They organise social and cultural events and can assist other students in a variety of ways.

Current resident and Bachelor of Social Work student Meg Thompson has lived at St Martins for four years and was an advisor last year.

"Advisors are welcoming, approachable and keep the community together," Meg said.

"The transition from high school to a completely new area can be daunting but here you make friends fast and it's a family environment.

"I highly recommend it, I thought I'd move but stayed to be in that environment."

Meg said it's not just a safe and social living environment at St Martins but there's also support for study and employment to help prepare residents for "all areas" of life.

This support proved vital for Meg who now works full time as a case manager for Community Services #1, a new service which will be rolled out across the region from July 1.

"There's a lot of resources available to us where you can do resume work or talk about assignments, it's a thriving academic community. It gives people the tools they might not have had," Meg said.

At St Martin's residents each have their own bedroom in a cottage that can house a total of eight people. Residents share the kitchen, lounge and dining room and the bathrooms in the cottage.

Furniture is provided and utilities and internet access are part of the weekly room rate so there is no need for families to spend money on these additional expenses.

St Martin's will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary in 2022 with all alumni welcome to attend the anniversary celebrations currently being planned.

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