On the first of this month I had the great pleasure of participating in the unveiling of a new mural in the Tjilbruke Student Lounge in the Yunggorendi Building.
This space is a very important place on our campus where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are welcomed from across Australia and have a place to hang out, form connections and access dedicated student support.
The mural is ambitious in scale and rich in significance and brings life, colour and meaning to this important space.
I was particularly delighted to meet the artist, Elizabeth Close, who also happens to be a Flinders alum. Elizabeth has been able to express a common message of belonging through her art for our students and I am grateful that Flinders University and our students will benefit from her passion and talent for years to come.
I was also pleased to welcome a special guest to campus, Uncle Lewis Yarluburka O’Brien, who has honoured Flinders University by accepting the important role as our Senior Elder on Campus here at Bedford Park.
A Kaurna Elder, Uncle Lewis has a long affiliation with our University and I am absolutely delighted that he is now joining us in this capacity.
I also acknowledge Uncle Richard Fejo and Aunty Pat Miller AO who are our valued Elders on Campus in the Northern Territory and welcome them to these equally important roles. I was delighted they were both able to join us online for this important event.
In June this year we launched our University’s Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan. This was a milestone in Flinders’ history, one that makes an important contribution to the national journey towards reconciliation, and reflects the important role and responsibility of universities to foster knowledge through research, education and contributions to engagement, discussion and policy.
When we launched this action plan we highlighted it was but one step in an ongoing journey to advance our University as a place of inclusion, equity, respect and unity.
This vibrant lounge upgrade is part of this journey, a small part within a bigger picture. We hope it will invoke a sense of unity and belonging in the students who use it, and heighten their feeling of being valued, respected and supported at Flinders.