Indigenous students from 25 Australian universities will gather in Brisbane this Sunday for the 2016 Indigenous Unigames.
Known officially as the National Indigenous Tertiary Education Student Games, they began in 1996 as a joint class project between 13 students enrolled in a Diploma of Aboriginal Studies (Community Recreation) at the then Wollotuka School for Aboriginal Studies at Newcastle University.
They have since grown to an annual event with hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tertiary students from universities all around Australia competing in mixed teams in four sports – touch football, netball, basketball and volleyball – plus a traditional Indigenous game.
This year, ACU’s Brisbane Campus will host the games, which also;
- act as a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture;
- promote unity, health, fitness and wellbeing;
- act as a demonstration of self-determination;
- initiate new communication networks;
- reinforce identity through positive role models.
ACU Brisbane Associate Vice-Chancellor Professor Jim Nyland and ACU First Peoples and Equity Pathways Director Jane Ceolin will join ACU’s Indigenous Higher Education Unit Weemala in welcoming participants.
Ms Ceolin said together with Australian University Sport, ACU had planned an amazing Unigames experience.
“These games are an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students to get together and compete in a spirit of friendship, and also to make connections with students from other parts of Australia,” she said.
“ACU has more than 460 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, from undergraduate level to doctoral candidates. University life involves hard work, but it’s also about maximising the university experience and making great friends – the games are a chance for our students to meet Indigenous students from other unis and share their stories.”
Professor Nyland said the Unigames are designed to promote participation, rather than elite sport, with mixed teams playing netball, touch football, basketball and volleyball.
“They’re about friendly competition and promoting health and fitness, but of course I do look forward to our ACU students winning,” he said.
ACU Exercise and Health Science student Cameron Preval said competing last year in Newcastle was a real eye-opener. “It was inspiring to meet other Indigenous students from all the ACU campuses and other universities around Australia,” Cameron said.
ACU is Australia’s largest Catholic university, with campuses in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Ballarat and Adelaide.