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Bond University lead 7,000 strong anti-bullying campaign

More than 7,000 people within the Varsity Lakes/ Bond University area have signed anti-bullying commitment statements in a bid to end bullying within the community.

On Friday 16 April at 10am, 2,000 of those students, teachers, parents and local residents stood united on Varsity College oval wearing anti-bullying wrist bands in demonstration for their support against cyber, physical, verbal, psychological and social bullying.

Bond University has partnered with Varsity College in the ‘One Goal, One Community: Moving beyond bullying and empowering for life’ initiative, with a goal to encourage 10,000 community members to sign a pledge to commit to behaviours that will better society and put an end to bullying.

Bond University Associate Professor of Management and Director of the LEAP Research Centre, Dr. Amy Kenworthy, an expert in university/community partnership programs, oversaw this student-run event. She explains seeking a signature ultimately has a greater impact.

 “Research has shown that people are much more likely to engage in behaviours that they have committed to both in writing and verbally rather than just having someone else ask them to do it with no commitment on their part at all,” Dr Kenworthy said.

“This initiative is about having an entire community come together to enact positive change – we want every member to feel ownership and responsibility for making our community a better place.

 “Bullying is a major concern for everyone, everywhere.  In Australia, one in six school children are bullied each week.   We need to acknowledge this is a problem that occurs throughout life – not just senior schools, but primary schools and the workforce too,” she said.

Bond University Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Stable attended the event along with Varsity College’s Principal and teachers.

“Bond University has a strong policy against bullying behaviour.  There is no place for it in our community or society. Our students have created an important and purposeful initiative that resonates with all of us,” said Professor Stable.

Varsity College Executive Principal Jeff Davis added, “Varsity College was attracted to the ‘One Goal, One Community’ initiative because of the community focus and the fact that it complements our T.R.A.K.S. (Tolerance Respect Acceptance Kindness & Support) program fostering an environment where all individuals feel safe and supported.”  

Local company AAC Solutions showed their support by donating all 10,000 wristbands. 

At the heart of Friday’s event was an informative educational presentation aimed at 15 year old students developed and delivered by Bond University students as part of a Negotiation assignment to foster a sustainable and positive community-changing partnership initiative.
Last Wednesday, 280 year 10 Varsity College students heard the anti-bullying presentation, which covered real-life bullying incidents (including the recent death of Elliot Fletcher), international examples highlighting the extensiveness of this epidemic, an overview of different types of bullying behaviour, examples of bullying in the workforce and skills to overcome bullying throughout all stages of life.

One of the Bond University students and project leader Sarah Benson said, “The idea for an anti-bullying event first began as part of a university assignment; however, it has become much more.  It is our hope the event and presentation are replicated in other communities all around the world.  

“Bentley University in the United States have contacted us and confirmed they will be using our model with one of their local primary schools in September of this year,” she said.

Those interested in knowing more about the anti-bullying community initiative or the year 10 presentation should email Dr Amy Kenworthy, Associate Professor of Management at [email protected]

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