During NAIDOC Week, 44 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Year 12 students from across the country will attend the University of Sydney campus for an academic preparation program designed to optimise their performance in their final exams and support access and transition to university.
2018 marks the University’s fifth Bunga Barrabugu Winter Program, preceded by the Wingara Mura-Bunga Barrabugu Summer Program in January attended by over 150 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students from across the country. ‘Wingara Mura-Bunga Barrabugu’ means ‘A thinking path – to make tomorrow’ in the Cadigal language.
From 9 to 13 July, invited students will participate in academic workshops dedicated to Higher School Certificate (HSC) subjects. Along with exam practice and preparation sessions, the students will attend workshops on how to write persuasive scholarship applications, Universities Admissions Centre requirements, and options for University of Sydney accommodation, courses and student support services.
Mary Teague, Head of the University’s Widening Participation and Outreach, welcomed the students to campus.
“Our Winter Program is unique: we offer Year 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students practical academic and wellbeing support in the lead-up to final examinations and assessments, including one-to-one tutoring and study help. They also have time with Indigenous student mentors to discuss future study decisions,” she said.
“Since the programs began, 30 Winter Program alumni have enrolled at the University of Sydney, with many more known to have enrolled at other institutions.
“We are encouraged that 44 of the 64 Year 12 students that attended our Summer Program will return for winter."
It’s a significant increase on the 28 students that attended our 2017 winter program, and suggests more students involved in our outreach are choosing an ATAR pathway this year and are on track to successfully enrol in higher education.
Faculty sessions will be held, with University staff and students from the Faculty of Engineering and IT, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Education and Social Work, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Sydney Law School, Sydney Conservatorium of Music and School of Architecture, Design and Planning working with students during the week according to their degree preference.
The Conservatorium of Music’s Dr Clint Bracknell, whose Aboriginal family from the south-east coast of WA use the term ‘Wirlomin Noongar’ to refer to their clan, said students interested in pursuing music would benefit in a range of ways from the week’s activities.
“We’ll provide intensive support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music applicants to develop audition material; they’ll also get a chance to build strong bonds with each other, teaching staff and current Conservatorium students ahead of beginning tertiary studies,” he said.
Jacob Goodwin, a Wiradjuri man who grew up in Dubbo, is an alumnus of the Wingara Mura-Bunga Barrabugu programs. Now in his second year of a Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Law degree at Sydney, he will work with the school students as a mentor during the week.
“The University’s Winter Program provides an opportunity to make lasting friendships while receiving great academic assistance in the lead up to Trials and HSC exams,” he said.
The program helped me prepare for uni and encouraged me to pursue further education. Since I’ve been at uni, I’ve loved every moment of it.
The students will also take part in the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence’s NAIDOC celebrations, as they reside there for the week, and other cultural activities including attending a Bangarra Dance Theatre Australia performance of Dark Emu at the Sydney Opera House.