VC's Update - Indigenous reconciliation, farewelling Union Court and more

19 May 2017

Many of us have great memories of Union Court and it's my hope the new development will provide a space for many more great memories to be made.

Hi everyone,

On Friday next week the University will come together to celebrate Reconciliation Week.

We also have the chance to mark two significant milestones in Australia's reconciliation journey: 50 years since the 1967 referendum and 25 years since the historic Mabo decision.

On Wednesday night Hon Linda Burney MP, the first Aboriginal woman to serve in the House of Representatives, delivered a landmark public lecture at ANU in which she spoke about the importance of the 1967 Referendum in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were first counted as Australians. In her lecture Ms Burney urged Australians to support the call for constitutional reform to fully recognise Indigenous Australians. Her lecture is available as a video on the ANU website.  

The University will host a number of events and activities during Reconciliation Week from film screenings to Indigenous Heritage Trail Walks around campus to public lectures which I encourage you to get along to. For more information visit the ANU Reconciliation webpage.

I'd also like to invite you to join with me and representatives from ANUSA and PARSA next Thursday 25 May from 12pm as we bid a special farewell to Union Court. Union Court has been the heart of the ANU experience for several decades. It's a space where we have come together to grab a bite, enjoy the company of friends or study in the sunshine. Many of us have great memories of Union Court and it's my hope the new development will provide a space for many more great memories to be made. Come along, make your mark and say your final farewells to Union Court as we know it.

I met with parents from the University Preschool and Child Care Centre last night after the discovery of elevated lead levels in soil samples from the centre's courtyard. It was disappointing to find out that another childcare centre had been affected this week. Events of the past two weeks have uncovered gaps in the University's maintenance of its childcare centres and I have made a commitment to parents that all child care centres on campus will be maintained to a standard that parents have every right to expect.

This week I had the pleasure of welcoming around 35 new employees to the University. Our newest staff will be working across the University in areas such as the sciences, population health and medical research, through to the technological and administrative areas like ITs and the Colleges. Welcome again to you all. I hope you find your time at ANU exciting and deeply rewarding.

Congratulations to the 16 graduates of the Vice-Chancellor's student leadership program who I presented with certificates on Wednesday night. The program provides an opportunity for students to advance their leadership skills through professional development and leadership mentoring. Applications are open until Friday 26 May for the 18 places available in the semester two program.

Congrats also to Associate Professor Matthew Hole from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering who has been made a Science Fellow at ITER, the world's largest fusion experiment, which is under construction in the South of France.

Just a reminder that Friday 26 May is World No Tobacco Day. The ANU campus went smoke-free two years ago and it's great to be surrounded by clean air on campus. If you're keen to kick the habit, head to the ANU smoke free campus website for some advice and links to help.

Have a great weekend,

Brian