Errol Gracias, the inaugural recipient of the Bill Packard Scholarship, has first-hand experience of the impact of giving.
"Like most people, I've always supported philanthropy in theory but it was a blind venture as I was never exposed to it. Being awarded the Bill Packard Scholarship for accommodation at Bruce Hall has made me see that giving to scholarships surely changes lives. And not just my life, but the people around me who I impact and who impacted me."
The son of first generation Indian migrants, Errol is the first in his family to attend university. If not for the Bill Packard Scholarship, he would not have been able to attend ANU. For Errol, the Scholarship has made the difference to his ability to study Law and Commerce.
"My family is very important to me and they've always provided both the financial and emotional support I need to help me achieve my goals. However, as I've grown older, it is extremely important that I make my own way in the world and seek avenues of financial support for my education."
The Bill Packard Scholarships were established as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Bruce Hall in memory of William (Bill) Packard AM, the Foundation Warden of Bruce Hall. The Scholarship eases the financial burden of study by covering the first full year's accommodation expenses, approximately two-thirds of this expense in the second year, and roughly half in the student's final year.
"Coming from a small town in south west Victoria, the move to Canberra could have been tough. Bruce Hall culture is built on the foundation of acceptance and striving to better each other and oneself.
Every Bruce Hall resident is friendly and makes you feel welcome, and this acceptance has had a huge impact on my state of wellbeing. Being in the company of a diverse group of high achieving students has given me unfettered access to resources and facilities that is maximising my university experience in academic, sporting, extra-curricula and social areas. It also gives me the opportunity to support other students in their endeavours. I cannot imagine not being a Brucie," said Errol.
Errol's current goal is to pursue a career in management and he credits the Scholarship with opening his eyes to new career directions.
"Receiving this Scholarship has put me in a position to achieve my full potential. The person I become from now on is largely due to the generosity of the donors. Living at Bruce Hall, you just feel like you have grown in different ways. I have been able to find my own two feet in a much more competitive world and I owe it all to the Scholarship."
"Giving to any scholarship at ANU is a great way to contribute to society," said Errol.
"I'd like to find a way to pay forward the kindness and generosity shown to me. Giving truly is a way to change lives."