Indigenous students to thrive in upgraded facilities
Woolyungah Indigenous Centre upgrade officially opens.
The official opening on Wednesday March 6 of upgraded facilities at UOW’s Woolyungah Indigenous Centre (WIC) is expected to act as a future drawcard to Indigenous students inside and outside the Wollongong region.
The opening of the $750,000 facilities will fulfil a vision held by WIC’s Director Jaymee Beveridge since she first took up her post in 2018.
Reconstruction has involved upgrading the internal student and tutor facilities, new computer labs to provide increased access, establishing more of a collaborative learning space, additional quiet study spaces and higher degree research spaces.
The outdoor area also provides an increased area to study along with a fire pit for cultural ceremonies and a modern-day yarning circle. Bistro chairs have been installed facing the outer circle for story telling which academics can also use for teaching. The kitchen/amenities area has also been upgraded.
“Overall the long-overdue upgrade will provide greater connection and particularly help students who are ‘off country’ to be supported,” Jaymee said.
Of visual significance, visitors to the centre will now be greeted by two local dreaming creatures – a 2 metre by 2 metre artwork which has been hand welded with reinforcing steel.
“It provides a landmark that helps people identify WIC on campus,” according to Jaymee.
The official opening opened with a traditional Indigenous smoking ceremony, followed by a Welcome to Country by local elder Jade Kennedy.
While addressing the gathering, UOW’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Inclusion and Outreach) Professor Paul Chandler acknowledged Jaymee Beveridge’s persistent efforts since taking over leadership of Woolyungah approximately two years ago as having made the project possible.
“Jaymee’s leadership and drive have been a breath of fresh air for Woolyungah and current and future Indigenous students will enjoy the benefits of her persistence and hard work,” he said.
The event concluded with a lunch featuring dishes made using traditional Indigenous bush tucker ingredients.
The refurbishment was funded jointly through UOW’s Student Services & Amenities Fee and the Commonwealth Indigenous Student Success Program funding.
A traditional smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country marked the official opening of new facilities at UOW's Woolyungah Indigenous Centre.