A strong scholarship program that focuses on providing access to students who need it is something that is not only engrained in the St Hilda’s tradition, it is something that is close to the heart of our Principal, James Hardiman.

You can read about James’ motivation for this year’s Annual Appeal below:

Scholarship Awardee: Pearl

Home town: Bendigo

Course: 2nd year Screenwriting, VCA

Hi, I’m Pearl and I am honoured to share my Hilda’s story with you as part of this year’s Annual Appeal.

I’m a second-year VCA student from Bendigo who is studying screen writing. My ultimate goal is to eventually be an Australian-based screenwriter because I think it is really important that we are able to have more Australian voices and stories in the media that we consume.

For me, Communitas is all about a community that aims to treat and see everyone as equal. I believe that this also includes giving those who may not have equal access for various reasons, such as geographic location or financial background, the support to have the same opportunities as those for whom a College experience is more accessible.

College isn’t just about food and lodging. This is such a transitional period in our lives where we are not only studying a uni course but we are learning to be adults. Being part of St Hilda’s is so important because it ensures that we have a social and familial group that we can fall back on to comfort and protect us while we are discovering who we are. College ultimately is a safe haven and it means that all the other new things in our lives aren’t as daunting.

Without the financial support I have been lucky enough to receive, the reality is that not only would I not have been able to attend St Hilda’s but I probably wouldn’t have been able to do my chosen degree. Screenwriting at the VCA is an intensive course with a lot of practical components and there isn’t the option for online study. Without the generosity of others, it’s unlikely that I would have been able to move to Melbourne and so I would have had to pass up my spot at the VCA.

With all that in mind, I can’t fully articulate what it means to me, my sister and my mum that there are people in the Hilda’s community who are supporting me financially to be here. Thank you. What you are doing is so important and you have changed my life.

Scholarship Awardee: Jacinta

Home town: Mildura

Course: 2nd year Arts, majoring in Italian

Hi! I’m Jacinta. Thank you for taking the time to read about my Hilda’s journey.

I am a second-year Arts student from Mildura. I’m majoring in Italian and also studying French and Russian. I hope to use my degree to help me travel and am looking forward to seeing what different opportunities open up for me in international work over the years to come as I further my language development and build skills in the international workplace.

In Latin, Communitas translates to community in feeling which is not too far from what I see it as in practice. It’s everyone showing up for everyone else. Everyone is encouraging of everyone else. You know what everyone is involved in and you are happy for each other; it’s not a competition.

For me, coming to Hilda’s was so important because I was coming from so far away in the country and it meant that I not only had somewhere to live but somewhere to situate myself with practical and wellbeing support while I found my way around Melbourne and the uni experience.

Experiences like being part of the play last year and all the different co-curricular options, like theatre sports, that are available to us have been a saviour to me as I feel like I wouldn’t have enjoyed my uni experience so much if I was only focused on studying my immediate degree and didn’t have something to balance it.

I’ve also met so many people and made so many friends at St Hilda’s that I just wouldn’t have met if I wasn’t lucky enough to live here. Living together it all seems so much more natural; we learn to speak to each other, get along and encourage each other.

Having financial support to attend St Hilda’s has allowed a massive burden to be lifted from my family’s shoulders. Throughout my life, my parents have taught me and my brother that school and learning should be our priority so that we can get good jobs in fields that we enjoy. So having the security of knowing that I don’t have to try and balance part-time work and study has allowed me to focus on not only the academic but the well-rounded education offerings that are now available to me.

I’m so grateful to the donors who supported my scholarship. I hope they know how much it means to me. It’s not just about financial support, its the stress that is alleviated for me and my parents. We don’t have to worry about being able to get payments in on time or whether, as a family, we will be able to do this twice to ensure that both my brother and I get this type of opportunity. Your generosity has given us wiggle room that we wouldn’t have otherwise had. So a massive thank you for giving someone like me an opportunity.

Scholarship Awardee: Harriet

Home town: Hobart

Course: 3rd year Science, majoring in Mechanical Engineering

Hello, I’m Harriet and it is my pleasure to share a little of my story with you as part of the 2023 St Hilda’s Annual Appeal. I’m a third-year Science student from Hobart, Tasmania. I am majoring in Mechanical Engineering and hope to do further study overseas, see the world and then find a job I love in the aerospace engineering field.

For me, Communitas is a feeling. It is a sense of community and feeling like you belong in a place. It’s about a collective experience that is special to you and your friends in an amazing community that your have formed. For those of us who are living away from home and don’t know anyone when they arrive, it’s important to feel that sense of belonging.

It’s so important that young people have an opportunity to live somewhere like St Hilda’s. I watch my peers at uni who aren’t at College while studying and they just don’t seem to have the support and the community experiences that I am lucky enough to have here. The impact of COVID on all of us really reinforced how critical that sense of community is when you are studying.

Being part of St Hilda’s has meant that I haven’t felt the sense of isolation that others who are living by themselves have had. I get to finish a lecture and then know that I have other people around who I can share a meal with, study with and just hang out with every single day. Plus, we get all of the extra academic support through our tutorial program which have been a life saver for me. All of the co-curricular activities that we have access to also means that we get so much more than just a degree while we are here. For me, I even get to work here in the Library. Hilda’s ultimately means that I am part of a community and I just don’t think you get that if you are living by yourself in an apartment.

I am a self-funded student so without my scholarship I would not be here in Melbourne. I would have had to stay in Tasmania and either study online with Melbourne University or study at my local university. Being able to come to Hilda’s has meant that not only have I been able to complete my degree on campus at Melbourne but I have been able to take advantage of all the things that Hilda’s has to offer through its academic support programs and co-curricular offerings. Perhaps most importantly, I have met the most amazing group of friends. I think sometimes colleges get a bad rep because of people’s perceptions around partying, etc. but for me, there is no doubt that being able to come to Hilda’s has changed the trajectory of my life.

I have now lived three years at St Hilda’s and I can’t believe how much I have grown. When I first arrived, I was so naïve and so shy. Now I can strike up a conversation with anyone. I am so much more confident in my academic ability and I have the skills to manage life’s stresses. This is all because of St Hilda’s and I really can’t put into words how much the generosity of those who have enabled me to come here means to me. You really have changed my life.

This year’s Annual Appeal

To be part of St Hilda’s means to embrace Communitas. 

Our namesake, Hild of Whitby, believed that education communities should be accessible to everyone.

While 2023 Melbourne, Australia is a far cry from Whitby Abbey in the 600s AD, we remain committed to the desire for equitable access to education communities.

This year, we ask you to support our annual appeal so that we can work towards our goal of supporting more students and their families.

Because Communitas should be for everyone.

As Pearl, Jacinta and Harriet have explained through their stories, the opportunity to come to our college and to experience the spirit of Communitas is one for which they will be forever grateful.

Our College is in the privileged position of being able to support the next generation as they progress through their tertiary studies, as well as having the opportunity to help transform their lives. We hope, in turn, the students will help change the lives of people in their current and future communities.

Please support this vital Annual Appeal. Because Communitas should be for everyone.