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Aboriginal teens call University of Sydney home for a week


17 January 2017

Wingara Mura-Bunga Barrabugu Summer Program hosted by the University
Wingara Mura-Bunga Barrabugu Summer Program hosted by the University

Over 200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students from across the country will reside at the University’s Camperdown campus this week to take part in a series of academic and cultural events, make friends and experience uni life.

Equipping students with knowledge and skills to connect what they study now and their options for the future, this is the fourth Wingara Mura-Bunga Barrabugu (WMBB) Summer Program hosted by the University.

During the week, students in years 9 and 10 (the Wingara Mura program) and years 11 and 12 (the Bunga Barrabugu program) will explore different subjects, discover options for university and future careers and learn useful skills for their final years at school.

“The results to date are promising,” the University’s acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Garton, said.

“Eleven alumni from the 2014 and 2015 WMBB programs are currently studying with us, and we’ll soon know how many year 12 participants in the 2016 program will join us this year. Many more have indicated a preference to study at other institutions as well."

The Sydney School of Education and Social Work will host a variety of activities for the students including drama workshops run by current students, social work activities that explores values and social justice and a visit to the Sydney Story Factory.

Other highlights across the University include attending NSW Local Court at the Downing Centre; a tour of an aerospace lab with flight simulators and drones; writing and recording music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music; a hands-on marine biology workshop at the Institute of Marine Science; learning how social businesses such as The Big Issue publisher support Aboriginal people; observing how a veterinary clinic operates at Camden Clinic; and conducting experiments in the University’s science labs, including exploring what DNA looks like and how it is used to solve crimes.

Cultural activities are also on offer including an Indigenous heritage campus tour, an Aboriginal cultural cruise of Sydney Harbour and a talent show hosted by Australian hip hop artist L-FRESH The LION.

One of the students on the camp said that all her favourite teachers were from Sydney University and this had prompted her to attend the camp.

Bachelor of Arts student Georgia Durmush, from Peakhurst in Sydney’s south, says the program influenced her decision to enrol at the University.

“I chose the University of Sydney because it acknowledges Aboriginal people and embraces Aboriginal culture,” she said.

“I attended both a WMBB Summer and Winter Program and discovered the endless support Aboriginal students receive. That’s when I decided Sydney was the uni for me.

“I’d advise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to definitely consider applying, to find out more about options for university, the support that is available and to make friends and networks.

“Further tertiary education is the only way we as Indigenous people are going to move up in society. Education is important because it increases job opportunity and social change.”