Making a difference to charity as a CSU student

Making a difference through charity as a Charles Sturt student

At Charles Sturt University, charity work is a big deal.

That’s because part of our mission as a university is to make a difference. And our students and staff do so in many ways throughout the year.

In the charity vein

Take blood donation. Each year we run the Inter-Campus Blood Challenge. Sounds gory, but in fact it’s all about a little healthy competition to promote the overall goal of increasing blood donations to the Red Cross. Eligible students and staff at each of our campuses compete to see which location can secure the most donations.

And it really does make a difference. In 2017, Charles Sturt University made a total of 768 donations (Wagga Wagga and Port Macquarie were the leaders, by the way). John Feist, Australian Red Cross Blood Service NSW/ACT Community Relations Officer, put this in context.

“Each donation can save three lives, so the university’s donations in 2017 saved over 2300 lives. That’s outstanding.”

And our commitment to this cause continues throughout the year, with regular rounds by Red Cross mobile donor centres to allow students and staff to donate when they can.

Food for thought

When it comes to giving back, for Charles Sturt students and staff it’s not all about the gory stuff.

For example, in November the Wagga Wagga campus has a combined initiative to help provide food to the vulnerable and less fortunate in the local community.

As students leave the campus for the summer study break, they are encouraged to clean out their fridges and cupboards and give all in-date food to the catering staff working in the campus kitchen.

The staff then use that food to cook delicious meals which are then packaged and frozen before being delivered to local charity OzHarvest for distribution to those who need it most. What we eat is so important to our overall health, and providing nutritious food to those in need makes a big difference.

Toby Perry, food and beverage coordinator for the southern region of the university, handed over more than 340 frozen meals to OzHarvest at the end of 2017.

“It’s simply fantastic to be able to support a local charity by providing nutritious meals with food that would have otherwise gone to waste.”

Getting charity in the pink

In 2017 our students also made a significant donation to the McGrath Foundation. This foundation aims to make life that little bit easier for individuals and families experiencing breast cancer.

Students organised a wide range of coordinated activities during Orientation (the week before the first session of study starts, during which new students get introduced to uni life and prepare for study). These included raffles; collection tins; securing pledges of cash from local businesses; the sale of ‘succulents in cups’ to students, staff and parents; and a concert – many of these done while wearing pink, the signature colour of the foundation. In total, the students raised almost $9000 for the charity.

McGrath Foundation Breast Care Nurse Susan Munro highlighted how important the fundraising is.

“We are so grateful for the support of Charles Sturt University and the enthusiasm of the students to dig deep and donate to our organisation.

“What’s even more poignant for us, is that we have McGrath Foundation nurses in each of the communities where Charles Sturt University has a physical presence, so the money raised will directly benefit the rural and regional areas where our nurses are working.”

A range of giving

Students at Charles Sturt campuses run a wide range of fundraising events throughout the year to support charitable organisations in their local communities – as well as charities operating at the national and international level.

From local health services and homelessness shelters to national animal and mental health charities, and organisations helping children in developing countries, our students are committed to giving back. In fact, some even go and volunteer abroad!

Doing good twice

And all these initiatives have an added bonus for you as a student. There are lots of opportunities to get involved in the organisation of campaigns, publicity and fundraising– meaning you gain something extra to add to your CV (we even have a dedicated student leadership program). Plus you get to have a lot of fun along the way, of course. Helping others while developing your own skills – now that really is making a difference.