The Tide Has Come for Change

Updated 21st of May, 4:34 am

A joint initiative between the Chaplaincy and P.E.A.C.E Unlimited. Photo by: Richard Segal

Join P.E.A.C.E Unlimited on the 21st of May to discuss how we can achieve a sustainable future and advocate for social change

Today, the screening of the documentary ‘Blue’ will be taking place at Parramatta South Campus for Diversity Fest. Staff and students have collaborated in a joint initiative between the Chaplaincy and P.E.A.C.E Unlimited to encourage people to get involved in environmental change at WSU. There will be dinner from 5:30 pm with the screening starting at 6:30 pm. After the screen, there will be an open discussion where they’ll be the opportunity to explore project ideas and recruit new club members who are passionate about advocating for social change.

“This weekend’s election highlights the fact that leadership on some issues builds from grassroots communities and eventually becomes a matter of popular demand – which is when political leadership follows and steps up to act. We want to invite anyone interested in being a part of a grassroots community effort to come and be a part of this evening,” said Chaplaincy Coordinator, Daniel Jantos.

P.E.A.C.E. Unlimited aims to change the status quo within Western Sydney University surrounding social and political issues, as well as to disrupt unsustainable policies and practices. P.E.A.C.E. is an acronym for Partnership, Education, Awareness, Campaign, and Empowerment. They are working to develop a framework to expand active projects, institute new initiatives, and cultivate partnerships.

Danielle Wolf is the WSU Environmental Collective Officer and also the President of P.E.A.C.E. Unlimited. She says, “We are currently forming partnerships with the Environment Collective, the Hawkesbury Collective and Student Farm, the SDSN Youth chapter, Sustainable Futures and various academics and staff. Our campaigns will include targeting waste production via limiting single-use plastics and promoting the use of more sustainable items such as reusable coffee cups, drink bottles and travel cutlery sets. We also aim to conduct awareness-raising through workshops and signage, increasing visibility and number of recycling bins, and food waste diversion.”

The student team were awarded a very competitive M.C.N. Millennium Fellowship in 2018 to help support and elevate students’ leadership for the Sustainable Development Goals and United Nations Academic Impact principles in 2019.

“We want to effect change at both individual and University governance levels, as well as building on existing connections in the community. We will also be contributing to the construction of a student garden, with a plan to hold permaculture design, aquaponics and native bush care workshops. We view these all as long term projects, and are committed to the promotion and achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which extend beyond the environment to include social and economic dimensions,” said Danielle.

Witness passionate advocates tackle habitat destruction and pollution for ocean preservation.

The 2019 Diversity Fest ‘Diversity for Dialogue’ is about cultivating discussion and exchanging ideas, screening the documentary ‘Blue’ is a way of highlighting the extent of that diversity, to include nature and all living things.

“We want to encourage and open up space for dialogue around the concerns, fears and solutions people may have and provide a platform for them to effect change. Ideally, we would like to see the conversation continue and grow to encompass Western as a whole, with people recognising that this is about more than just the environment, and value it only for its economic utility. Nature is inherently invaluable and protecting it is as much about restoring its integrity as ours. The movie screening is itself a product of dialogue, as a joint venture between various elements of the SRC, Chaplaincy and ourselves,” said Danielle.

The Chaplaincy shares many of the goals and purposes of P.E.A.C.E. Unlimited. A part of the Chaplaincy service’s efforts is to broaden the Western Sydney University community’s understanding of and engagement in spiritual wellbeing; this often has very personal implications. Daniel says it also includes acknowledgement of the interdependent way in which we are all connected – human to human but also human to non-human life.

“Denying or ignoring these connections and lacking full awareness of the accountability we have to one another leads to an impoverishment not only of the ecosystem, as so much evidence suggests, but also of our deep sense of belonging and happiness. We thrive on affirmation and inclusion and purpose. We suffer from isolation and segregation. Chaplaincy works to foster meaningful connections and a sense of belonging to something bigger than any one of us and to which we all belong,” said Daniel.

Come along to the Diversity Fest to explore themes around our diverse University community.

With Diversity Fest vibes already setting in make sure to check out some of the upcoming cultural immersion activities – all happening at a Campus near you! There will be cultural performances, singing and unique student displays, also expect plenty of free food and activities from student groups! For any more information about the event, please contact studentevents@westernsydney.edu.au.

To find out more about the Chaplaincy, you can go to their Facebook page – Western Sydney University – Chaplaincy or contact M.Waddington@westernsydney.edu.au.

And don’t forget to like P.E.A.C.E Unlimited on Facebook and join the club!

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