ANZSSA e-newsletter - July August 2019

In this Edition

Supporting Indigenous Students and Peer Mentoring and Student Leadership programmes

For your information

Professional Development Opportunities


Supporting Indigenous Students and Peer Mentoring and Student Leadership programmes

Aboriginal Student Success at the University of Tasmania

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It is a pleasure to share the dedicated work of a full Aboriginal Riawunna team with you.  The University of Tasmania is moving in a direction where Aboriginal people are at the forefront of the institution. The University of Tasmania honours the first people and their contribution values diversity and inclusion.  As identified in the University of Tasmania Strategic Direction November 2018:

 ‘Any conversation about place in Tasmania needs to start with acknowledgement of the traditional owners and their deep history with these lands and waters. As a culture whose system of knowledge is structured by place, which at times is talked about in the language of ‘country’, there is opportunity to ever deepen our understanding of what a place-based university is and might be. We can do this through conversations with Aboriginal Tasmanians and we can celebrate that, despite dispossession and invasion, their culture has the strength and depth today to make a shaping contribution to our future.’

The Riawunna Centre has a long history of seeing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students succeed in a whole range of fields through positive change and educational experiences that build independent resilient and confident learners, supported through shared celebrations, culture and Community.  

This article is to provide an overview of services delivered by the Riawunna team to achieve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student success at the University of Tasmania.  Riawunna sits in the Student Experience Portfolio and supports service quality and works towards high quality implementation of its services across the University.  The Riawunna Centre provides a culturally welcoming space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to meet, study and access academic and pastoral support and assistance across the Sandy Bay, Newnham and Cradle Coast campuses.  The Riawunna team recognises and is committed to Aboriginal success by creating a sense of belonging and connection for students and staff (University Course Guide 2020 p 15).   Riawunna’s profile continues to increase within the Aboriginal and University community.  Read the full article here


Griffith University’s Student Services Student Leadership Program – providing an inclusive leadership experience

The Student Services Student Leadership Program celebrates 10 years of success, having been launched in February 2009.  The Program encourages and supports students to actively engage in volunteering (servant leadership) within the Griffith Community.

Whilst there are various leadership opportunities available for high-achieving undergraduates, there are currently few programs that are more broadly available.  The Student Services Student Leadership Program aims to engage students who may not have access to other opportunities, including students who have not previously held leadership roles but who demonstrate an eagerness to learn and develop their potential.  Demographic data collected from participants over the years generally shows that 40-50% identify as belonging to at least one targeted equity group.

Each year, students are invited to apply online for a position in the program.  Welfare and Student Liaison Officers (WSLOs) in Student Services shortlist the 160 – 200 applicants, then facilitate group interviews before selecting the successful participants.  Each year, approximately 40 – 50 students from each of Griffith’s five campuses are selected for the Program.

The Program commences with two-day training sessions in late June, just before the commencement of Trimester 2, on our two main campuses.  The first day is run by WSLOs and provides an overview of the Program, leadership and communication skills, public speaking, and services and resources available on campus.  The second day is facilitated by an external consultant, who is a specialist in conflict resolution, facilitation, and negotiation skills.  Our training program typically attracts a 97-100% rating as being ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, as well as 100% rating as having positive impact on their experience as a student or their lives in general.

Following training, Student Leaders are asked to engage in and report on three servant leadership activities within or for the Griffith community.  WSLOs maintain email, phone, in-person, and / or online (eg. Facebook) contact with the Leaders throughout the Program to support them on their journey.  Online ‘Activity Reflection’ reports capture the Leaders’ experiences, efforts, and challenges.  Many Leaders reflect on their involvement in student clubs or associations, as well as peer support or mentoring.  Our Leaders also serve as Student Representatives on university committees.  Several students each year tend to engage in self-led and innovative activities, including advocacy, community engagement, focus groups, and running or volunteering at events.

Evaluations at the end of each annual Program have consistently shown that participants value the experience and believe the Program should continue.  After 10 years, the Student Services Student Leadership Program continues to offer invaluable skills development and practical leadership experience to a broad cross-section of students, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds and those who may not qualify for other leadership opportunities.

An exciting development from this year is that Leaders who complete the Program will also earn a credential in the form of a Student Leadership ‘digital badge’ that can be displayed and assessed online.  Participating in the training and 10-month program therefore contributes positively to students’ lives and their experience at Griffith University, and supports the development of their graduate attributes.



In support of new student transition at ANU, the Engagement and Success team recruits, trains and coordinates hundreds of student volunteers every year to be student leaders as Orientation Leaders and SET4ANU Mentors. In late 2018 the program was expanded to include SET4ANU Advisers who work directly with Engagement and Success staff throughout the year to run a more comprehensive program and undertake activities such as the delivery of webinars and organisation of mentor meet-ups.

To ensure the success of these student leaders an enhanced training program is delivered for the advisers, empowering them to be more effective in transitioning new students to ANU.

The SET4ANU Advisers have been mentored over the past 10 months and have taken charge of the program recently to shape and run the activities for semester 2. By giving them support and guidance they have strengthened our program ensuring the student voice and experience is heard loud and clear. It hasn’t been all wins, but that is part of what makes this program so good, it allows the students to learn from their mistakes and gain new skills and experiences.

Due to the success of the program, and to demonstrate how much we value their hard work, we have now been able to move the roles to paid positions much to the joy of our advisers. Additionally, we are now able to carry some of our advisers over from year to year to ensure continuity. We are excited to see how they help us shape this program into the future!


Good Practice: ANZSSA Student Hardship Hui – 5 July 2019

On Friday 5th July students, staff, representatives from student associations, Government officials and other student services professionals around New Zealand came together to explore the current state of student welfare initiatives in the New Zealand tertiary sector. Student hardship, also known as financial hardship, can have a detrimental effect on students' physical and mental health, academic performance, living situation and general wellbeing. These effects can result in poor outcomes for students in the short and long term.

The hui was hosted at Victoria University of Wellington. Presenters included Ngahuia Kirton of The New Zealand Union of Students’ Association (NZUSA) who kicked off the day with a keynote presentation providing an update on the NZUSA Income and Expenditure Report 2017, representatives from six New Zealand universities who provided snapshots of the current initiatives in place at their institutions, and Matthew Rolton (StudyLink) spoke about the financial support available to students through the Student Loan Scheme. The student panel and breakout sessions provided a unique opportunity for discussion on what is working well and the challenges faced by students and staff across Universities, and ways to work together to tackle some of these challenges at an institutional level.

Key themes that came from the day included the need to raise awareness of support and services already available to students, how can we raise awareness of the issue at the community and government level, ways to increase the funding available to support students, how to minimize barriers, and reduce stigma to improve access and ways to work in partnership with students, including increasing skills and capabilities of both students and staff who work in this area.

It was agreed that a Special Action Group would be convened to consider the feedback from the Hui and to consider ways to keep the discussion going and ensure the collective voice and energy of our community is harnessed into action on this important issue.  


University of Newcastle Mental Health Day 

This year’s University Mental Health Day theme encouraged the higher education community across Australia and New Zealand to use their voices to shape the future of student mental health. This theme resonated for The University of Newcastle as we launched our Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy on Friday 3 May 2019.

Before a large audience of students, staff and external partners, three time Paralympic gold medallist, two time Commonwealth Games gold medallist and local Newcastle resident – Kurt Fearnley AO, delivered a powerful address sharing stories of his struggles and triumphs at the Paralympic Games and on the Kokoda Track.

Kurt spoke about the vital role community plays in his life and the importance of providing a safe place for people to be vulnerable. He shared a moving story of being carried by a local man on one of his toughest days on the Kokoda Track.

“We are all going to be the person who needs to be carried a bit at some point, so we need to be a community that does that for each other,” Kurt said, reflecting the essence of the Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, which was officially launched by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Darrell Evans.

The strategy includes four key action areas:

  1. Reflecting ways to advocate for good student mental health and well-being in everything we do
  2. Building and promoting UON as a supportive and inclusive community
  3. Delivering best practice training and education for mental health and well-being
  4. Access to effective help and services

“This is a real step forward for our university in thinking more strategically about these matters that affect students and staff,” Professor Darrell Evans said.

“The strategy is aligned with the Orygen “Under the Radar” report recommendations and is also underpinned by other research and evidence-based work in mental health.

 “It also recognises our unique student cohort at the University of Newcastle and goes beyond the recommendations to align with our New Education Framework,” Darrell said.

The action plan is already under way. Seventy academic staff are piloting the QUEST project to incorporate training and tools to support students into curricula and a Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Toolkit for staff has been developed by two University counsellors and will be released shortly on SharePoint. It provides advice and resources to help staff support students who show signs off mental health concerns.

The launch was emceed by Professor Frances Kay-Lambkin, Co-Director of the Mental Health Hub of the University of Newcastle's Priority Research Centre in Brain and Mental Health. NUPSA President Ashleigh McIntyre spoke with passion about the need to stop seeing high rates of depression and anxiety as a normal part of a post-grad experience.

“I hope this encourages more dialogue around issues of mental illness and open sharing of experience. This strategy gives us permission to be open and supportive of each other,” Ash said.

Josh Hewitt, UON alumnus and now a member of staff, shared stories of how his own mental health, as well as mental illness among friends and family have impacted his life and drive him in his work.

The program left no doubt that mental health and wellbeing must be a priority for us all.

“It is really important to remember that taking care of our own mental health and wellbeing, is key to our capacity to help other,” Frances Kay-Lambkin emphasised.

“Mental health affects us all – there is no us and them,” Frances said.


University Mental Health Day at Victoria University of Wellington - 7th May 2019

As a Health Promoting University, Victoria University of Wellington has taken a lead in New Zealand to work to embed wellbeing into all aspects of our campus and community life—and while we have a way to go it is worth celebrating what we have achieved.

International University Mental Health Day (UMHD) this year was an opportunity to bring members of our the University community together to make the mental health needs of all students and staff a priority.

We celebrated the day with a number of student and staff led activities.

Our SWAT team (Student Wellbeing Awareness Team) a group of passionate student volunteers spent much of UMHD day on Kelburn campus in our HUB with a stall encouraging students to find and use their voice. The SWAT  also used the UMHD to relaunch their ‘Minds Like Ours’ project with new stories of student wellbeing to share on their Facebook page.

We organised a Free on campus screening of One Day Ahead—the movie  - a newly released documentary movie featuring Victoria University of Wellington’s own Dr John Randal (Associate Dean at Victoria Business School) who, as part of a team riding the entire Tour de France route, raised funds for the Mental Health Foundation. John was present and spoke to students and staff about the ride and provide his views on how we can improve student mental health

Felix the Schnoodle puppy (our Staff Wellness Manager’s cute wellbeing dog!) was present on UMHD in the Bubble the Wellbeing Space on Campus. Our students love Felix and he us the best draw card ever and he is a mood lifter!

Finally we were proud to host a visit from the worlds first wellbeing barber – Benny from Benny’s Barbershop on campus. Christchurch's biggest and most unique barber Ben Scott from Benny's Barber Shop was on campus day of haircuts, styling, and some great yarns. Benny is committed to embedding connecting conversations into his work especially with young men, and he also teaches them how to cut hair!


University Mental Health Day - University of Sydney

This year’s University Mental Health Day at the University of Sydney was all about the power of using your voice.  Our newly formed Health Promotion Peer Educators targeted international students’ mental health by asking students and staff to fill out the post card questions about mental health in the International Student Lounge. We hung the answers up on a bunting line across the student lounge and posted on social media to inspire conversation and start change. The answers have also been used to form a needs assessment for a mental health promotion campaign.


For your information

Australasian University Health Challenge

Being physically active is crucial for health and wellbeing. A large portion of our adult lives are spent at work; which are progressively becoming more and more sedentary environments. 52% of Australians and 49% of New Zealanders do not reach the physical activity requirements sufficient to achieve health benefits. The Australasian University Health Challenge is a health-focused initiative taking place in 12 universities across Australia and New Zealand. Staff and students are challenged to make behavioural changes to increase their daily levels of physical activity, through a fun and exciting inter-university competition.

Over a 6 week period from 19 August to 29 September, staff and students of the participating universities will individually register and monitor their daily step count, logging their daily figures through the 10,000 Steps website. Participants are challenged to make conscious decisions to be more active, particularly in environments that do not naturally facilitate physical activity.

Every Step Counts. Feel the benefits yourself.

To see if your university is taking part, or if you would like to register for the AUHC, head to:

Job opportunities

Looking for a new employee?  Or looking for your next career move?  The ANZSSA website provides a space for job opportunities in the student services sector to be listed. If you have a position available that you would like to share - it can be posted here

Job opportunities can be viewed here.


Professional Development Opportunities

ANZSSA Conference 8-11 December 2019

University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

We look forward to having you join us in Aotearoa New Zealand for this year’s ANZSSA conference.  Please note the updates below:

Student Sponsorships

To ensure the student voice is represented, ANZSSA has the pleasure of offering two student sponsorship opportunities:

  • $AUS1000 funding for a student studying and located in Australia to put towards conference costs
  • $NZ1000 funding for a student studying and located in Aotearoa/New Zealand also for conference costs

These students will have the opportunity to engage with a variety of students and staff from other institutions, represent the Australian or New Zealand experience on a student panel, further develop their leadership skill set, and share their learnings with their own student community. Visit the ANZSSA Conference website to apply, applications close 5pm Friday 13 September 2019.

Pre-Conference Workshops

Keynote speakers Lesley D’Souza and Laura O’Connell-Rapira will be facilitating pre-conference workshops from 1pm – 4.30pm on Sunday 8 December. Register your attendance to these workshops when you register for the conference here.

The power of a story: Translating our ways of knowing to make positive change – Lesley d’Souza

Data storytelling is set to become an essential skill set that all Student Services professionals need. We have learned to collect data in a variety of ways, but do we fully recognize how to consider equity and social justice in how we approach assessment? And once we have our data, do we think deeply about how to share the truths we learn in our data in powerful ways? The idea that emotions and logic are opposites has led to disastrous efforts to effect change that can end up accomplishing the opposite of what we want. The true path to change is forged with empathy. Using storytelling as a vehicle to generate empathy, we can motivate people to act together and collectively solve problems. Come hear more about strategies you can use to craft powerful stories around your data that will activate empathy and support positive change. In this workshop participants will practice telling powerful stories using sample data. 

Working together to create what we cannot achieve on our own - Laura O’Connell-Rapira

This workshop will focus on how ActionStation combines the power of the crowd with the reach of the cloud to mobilise New Zealanders to take coordinated action for a fair and flourishing future. ActionStation Director Laura O'Connell-Rapira will discuss lessons from ActionStation on radical listening and empathy-led conversations to shift hearts and minds, values-based storytelling and effective collaboration. This workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to see how these lessons could be applied to a university context.

Pre-conference Noho Marae and Overland Travel Experience

Join us for a uniquely Aotearoa (New Zealand) experience. Arrive in Christchurch (Ōtautahi) by 1pm on Saturday 7 December and join your hosts, colleagues from the University of Canterbury, who will share information and insights about the history of Christchurch and the impacts of some of its recent challenges, along with the opportunities this has provided for the Christchurch community.

On Saturday afternoon, you will travel together to Ngā Hau E Wha marae for a noho marae (overnight stay).  You will be welcomed onto this urban marae and will experience an evening rich in the history and culture of the area.  On Sunday 8 December, you will travel by bus down the east coast of the South Island with a stop for lunch at Moeraki Boulders and time to explore this geographically interesting area. You will arrive in Dunedin with time to settle into your accommodation before the conference welcome function at 5.30pm on Sunday.

The noho marae at our 2016 conference in Auckland was a highlight for delegates who participated in this special cultural experience.  We encourage you to join this year’s noho marae and tour. Register for this experience when you register for the 2019 ANZSSA Conference here.  

Sponsorship and Exhibition Opportunities Now Available

Consider the opportunities available at the 2019 ANZSSA Conference to present your company as a supporter to industry and organization representatives. The sponsorship and exhibition prospectus is now available. Throughout the conference there will be opportunities to create your brand presence and support ANZSSA at multiple networking functions and three full days of conference sessions including catering breaks in the exhibition area. More than 250 delegates are anticipated to attend to share and explore their interest in the quality of the student experience. A variety of opportunities are available for exhibitors and sponsors to best communicate their brand message.

For enquiries or to secure your partnership with ANZSSA for the conference this year, please visit the Conference website or contact the Conference Manager to discuss opportunities to maximize benefit to your company and the conference.

Wellbeing Symposium - Victoria University of Wellington

Tenth annual Wellbeing Symposium—Living the values in tertiary education 

Monday 14 October 2019 
8.00 am to 5:40 pm 
Te Toki a Rata (LT1 and foyer), Kelburn campus, Victoria University of Wellington

Join us for Victoria University of Wellington’s tenth annual wellbeing symposium—a one-day event which brings together students, academic and professional staff, and anyone working to improve wellbeing in tertiary education.  

This year’s symposium, Living the values in tertiary education, will explore how we as an educational organisation can embody our written core values and bring these to life in the ways we collaborate and support our community. 

How we treat each other has a great impact on our health and wellbeing. We encourage people living, working, and studying in our community to understand and practise the University’s core ethical values—respect, responsibility, fairness, integrity, and empathy. 

These values are manifested in our commitment to civic engagement, sustainability, inclusivity, equity, diversity, and openness. 

But what does this look like in practice? How can we share these values with staff and students, and walk the talk together as a community? 

Join us for a day of discussion and collaboration with a range of wellbeing experts from our academic, professional, and student community. Our plenary keynote speaker is Professor Marc Wilson, School of Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington. 

Together, we can build a better understanding of how we can improve the way we live these values. 

This tenth annual gathering also serves as an opportunity for wider connection and collaboration around the ever more important issue of our health and wellbeing. 

View the full symposium schedule and register to attend online

Early-bird registration fee (until 23 August)—$85 ; Full registration fee—$100 

We have 60 free student registrations available. If you know of students who might be interested in attending, please email for more details.  


National Indigenous Students' Conference (NISC)


The National Indigenous Students’ Conference (NISC) is hosted annually by Union of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students (UATSIS) in collaboration with a university and/or university student union. This year’s event is from Tuesday, 10 September, to Friday, 13 September, at The Australian National University in Canberra on beautiful Ngambri-Ngunnawal Country. NISC provides an opportunity for undergraduate Indigenous students to come together, upskill, network, and grow as future leaders.


JG Crawford School of Public Policy (Building 132) - Acton Theatre
132 Lennox Crossings, Acton, ACT 2601

Registration is now open! Click here for more information.



The JANZSSA Editors invite submissions from ANZSSA members and student services and affairs workers for inclusion in JANZSSA Vol 27 Issue 2.  JANZSSA publishes peer reviewed articles, professional papers, best practice examples, book reviews and reports. Along with seasoned contributors, new authors are encouraged  to submit articles on their work for publication. Support for authors is provided by the JANZSSA Editorial team to assist with readiness for publication.  Information and Submission Guidelines for authors are available at: 

Remember, as a publication your work in Student Services and Affairs supports not only your professional development but also encourages your colleagues and supports them in the important work that they do in student support and services in higher education.

The JANZSSA editors also invite members of the ANZSSA community to nomination to be involved in JANZSSA and would be delighted to accept expressions of interest from ANZSSA members who would like to:

a)  review as a peer articles submitted for consideration for publication;
b) take on an associate editorial role.

JANZSSA relies on ANZSSA members to provide support for the production of each publication and both these roles are important to ensure that JANZSSA continues as a professional journal.

Please contact the JANZSSA editors at