St Hilda’s College is an inclusive community that welcomes students from cities and towns Australia wide and countries around the world.
Third year student, and the inaugural College Queer representative, Ciara, has a mindset and strong voice for equality that embodies the Communitas spirit. After visiting a fellow college for a routine ‘Dinner Swap’ event, Ciara noticed there was a gap that needed to be filled within her own community.
Originally from Armidale, NSW, Ciara was thrilled when she arrived at St Hilda’s and was given the space and time to create something she was truly passionate about; a supportive group for LGBTQI+ members within the College to provide a solid support network.
Ciara had big plans for 2020, and some may just come to fruition subject to restrictions. The proposed St Hilda’s Pride Night is an on-campus evening focussed on beneficial conversations surrounding the Queer community. Starting with a rainbow themed formal dinner accompanied by a range of musical acts and entertainment, the night is stamped with success. The introduction of LGBTeas to facilitate informal meetings and discussions over a cuppa and nibbles, and collaborating with the intercollegiate colleges to participate in the Queer group picnic, to allow friendship groups to form, are also on the wish list.
This year Ciara was appointed as one of the ten inaugural College RA’s (Residential Advisors), an outstanding group of students who provide pastoral care support for their year group. The RA training was comprehensive including RSA (responsible service of alcohol), first responder and first aid training, preparing the RA’s with skills to equip them for the year ahead. This training was put into practice during O-Week where the RA’s welcomed a new cohort of students and built a sense of belonging in a few days. Ciara noted her favourite activity during this time was the charity project. Students were given a modest budget and instructions and managed to purchase 1,100 items. These items came together into 56 care packages for those less fortunate. As a new College activity, the positive feedback and the opportunity to make a difference was a highlight.
In Ciara’s mind, her roles as the Queer representative and an RA are simple. Encouraging the College community to engage in healthy discussions, in safe spaces, with strong leadership. Ciara is acknowledged for her efforts at Hilda’s, and further inspires others to share their thoughts.