Frank Gafa

BA '15

Since arriving at ANU, I have been passionate about improving the experience for both Indigenous staff and students.

Hello everyone, I hope you had a fantastic NAIDOC week.

I am both a former staff member and an alumnus of ANU, and have been given the privilege of steering the Indigenous Alumni Network through the first stages of its life. I graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Sociology. While studying, I was also a staff member from 2009-2016, starting at the National Centre for Indigenous Studies (NCIS) and spending the last few years in varied roles within HR. Since arriving at ANU, I have been passionate about improving the experience for both Indigenous staff and students. I really hope that this Network will provide an avenue for Alumni to contribute to providing an environment where Indigenous people can thrive.

My passion for the student experience started in my first year of study in 2008 when I attended the inaugural National Union of Students (NUS) National Indigenous Students Conference. This conference introduced me to many of the people who helped shape my ideas on students' rights, and opened my eyes to the importance of student input on University services and policies. When I got back from the conference I immediately looked up opportunities to be involved with the Student Association (ANUSA). While it was disappointing that the role of Indigenous Officer was vacant, it provided an avenue for me to start formally engaging in the space of student activism.

I was Indigenous Officer on ANUSA from 2008-2010 and through my work with other Indigenous Officers around the country became the National Indigenous Officer on NUS in 2011. My two most fulfilling achievements at ANU during this time were setting up regular social catch-ups for Indigenous students and putting together the ANU team for the annual Indigenous Games. I really believe they contributed to a great sense of community for all the mob at Tjabal and is one of the reasons I believe in the strength of community based and run groups like this Alumni Network.

At the end of 2011, and after two years of working at NCIS, I moved into my first role in HR and spent time both in the central HR Division and in the College of Asia and the Pacific HR team. During my time working in HR I also engaged heavily with the NTEU and held the ACT representative role on the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy Committee. Through this work I learned a great deal about the Indigenous experience across the sector, which I believe helped me in my work at ANU. Through the experiences that ANU gave me, I have developed into a strong HR professional and now oversee Indigenous employment at Deakin University down in Victoria.

I truly believe in the value that this Alumni Network can add to the ANU and greater community and I hope that you all do to. Please feel free to contact me with any ideas for events and initiatives, or if you would like to be involved with helping to shape the Network going forward.

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