Arc is dedicated to celebrating diversity within the UNSW community and specifically working with the Indigenous student community and Nura Gili to create opportunities for cultural exchange.
Arc's volunteer program, Walama Muru, partners with Nura Gili to establish ongoing relationships between students and Indigenous communities. Now in it's 10th year, the program enhances student learning and experiences with Indigenous culture and enables them to actively work towards reconciliation.
Walama Muru offers student volunteers the opportunity to work directly with an Indigenous community, gaining cultural appreciation and deepening their understanding of Indigenous cultures through the creation of a practical contribution to a specific community. Annually, Walama Muru fundraises for and then travels to a community during semester 2, working on a local community development project. Funds are raised through individual fundraising by volunteers, sausage sizzles, community outreach and an annual Trivia Night which sees prizes and funds generously donated by local community organisations.
Past trips have seen student volunteers travel to Gilgandra and Wellington, and as far as Palm Island in far north Queensland. The program and volunteers work actively with Nura Gili and community Elders to decide on which community to fundraise for, visit and the kind of community project to be worked on.
Walama Muru have worked with Indigenous communities in painting key community buildings, renovation on community spaces, construction of veggie gardens and more all whilst learning from the community about the historical significance of the land, sharing traditional meals and engaging with local community members.
The 2018 student coordinator of Walama Muru, Alex McWhirter, was motivated to lead Walama Muru after her experiences living in an Indigenous community over the summer of 2017-2018.
"I lived in an Indigenous community in the Northern Territory called Yuendumu, volunteering for a youth development organisation. My friends out there, young and old, showed me what true strength looks like. I am so excited to continue this journey of listening, learning and walking together with our Indigenous brothers and sisters this year with Walama Muru, " says Alex.
Walama Muru students have been invited to communities all around Australia to learn and to actively contribute towards reconciliation, and Arc is proud to continue to develop both the program and other initiatives that allow students to engage with Indigenous issues, culture and communities.
NAIDOC Week runs from 8-15 July. This years theme celebrates the essential role that women have played - and continue to play - as active and significant role models at the community, local, state and national levels.
Find out more on the Arc website or help fundraise by attending Walama Muru's annual Trivia Night.