Student Volunteer of the Year (Postgraduate)
Himangi Ticku has been recognised as the 2021 Student Volunteer of the Year (Postgraduate) for her dedication to supporting detainees, and advocacy of issues faced by former detainees reintegrating into society.
Himangi began volunteering as a twelve-year-old with non-governmental organisations in her home country of India.
"I get my inspiration to help others from my family," says Himangi. "As a child, I was taught that the more you have, the bigger and fuller your dining table should be, rather than your walls growing higher."
Himangi brought this spirit of service and generosity with her when she came to Australia to study at ANU. After completing her BA, majoring in International Relations and Political Science, she started volunteering at Prisoners Aid ACT in the second year of her Juris Doctor. Through her volunteer work and then her law internship, she has worked with detainees at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC), Canberra's only adult prison.
"I also do a lot of work with the families of detainees at the AMC," says Himangi. "I feel it is most important to listen to people, especially detainees. Just listening can instil a sense of encouragement and listening with empathy makes a big difference."
Himangi has been working with Prisoners Aid ACT for nearly two years, and regularly conducts welfare checks on detainees at AMC. Her work has been covered in The Canberra Times and on 2CC Radio.
During her six years as a student at ANU, Himangi has been actively involved in the ANU community. A recipient of the 2015 Study Canberra Scholarship, she wants to ensure other students at ANU have the same positive experience as her. This has seen her work as a Residential Advisor to assist incoming students, and she has also helped international students navigate the complexities of studying in a new environment.
"I believe it's important to volunteer because it encourages you to think beyond yourself and it instils empathy in you," says Himangi.
"To all the young people out there looking to volunteer, I say this -- if you truly believe in a cause, follow your conviction, follow your heart. Don't let other people tell you that you are too young or inexperienced. You don't need to be experienced to be a volunteer. Just go for it, don't overthink it."
Read stories of all our awards recipients at 2021 ANU Alumni Awards