Pelicans and marine creatures will form part of a 14-year tradition of Indigenous students marking the start of their journey at Flinders through tile artwork on the entrance to the Office of Indigenous Strategy and Engagement.
The 2016 tile mural is part of a week-long orientation week for Indigenous students which includes strategies for tertiary study and broadened students’ understanding of issues facing Indigenous students within higher education.
The OISE Yunggorendi Student Engagement team welcomed 40 commencing students from this year’s anticipated 300 new and ongoing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to Flinders.
Students came from across the country to participate and get their first taste of the range of services and facilities at Flinders, including the new $63 million student hub and plaza. The intensive program aims to help incoming students to build a network of friends and colleagues, understand study skills, support services and facilities, and affirm Indigenous identities.
Alice Springs student Lissa Gamertsfelder, 24, said she is returning to Flinders to continue tertiary study, focusing on sociology and applied linguistics.
“I want to do something in Indigenous affairs, particularly society’s attitudes towards our culture and language,” Lissa says.
“My mother’s language (Warlpiri) and (central Australian desert) Indigenous culture is very special to me, so it’s great to be able to build up knowledge and information for future generations.”
Lissa said Yunggorendi offers important academic, practical and social support for Indigenous students, making University life more accessible and enjoyable to her and others.
The year’s O Week program included lectures from OISE Indigenous academic staff, field trips to the southern region’s Warraparinga and Tjilbruke cultural precincts, along with introduction to study skills and what to expect at University.
“This topic and orientation program offers new Indigenous students an opportunity to meet each other, familiarise themselves with University life, and importantly develop their critical understanding as Indigenous students at Flinders University,” said coordinator Tristan Kennedy.
Professor Daryle Rigney, the Dean of Indigenous Strategy and Engagement, welcomed the new students. He said the OISE provides an important role in supporting students during their time at University, right through to celebrating their achievements as valued members of the Flinders University Indigenous alumni community.
Flinders is committed to supporting the higher education aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by providing a dedicated and culturally appropriate service with a focus on learning, health and welfare, as well as graduate opportunities. More than 350 Indigenous students have graduated from Flinders since 1970.