Bond University has opened its new Indigenous student support service, Nyombil Centre, following a 64 per cent increase in Indigenous enrolments in just three years.
More than 100 people attended the opening on Friday, May 29, including Titans greats Scott Prince and Preston Campbell, Gold Coast Suns representatives and academy player/Bond student Glendon Woosup, local Indigenous elders and Bond staff and students.
The event, held during Reconciliation Week, featured a traditional smoking ceremony and Indigenous dance performance by the Bundjalung Kunjiel Dance Troupe.
Bond University pledged to expand its Indigenous student engagement and participation in 2012, launching the Indigenous Scholarship Program, which has opened new doors for Indigenous students.
This year, 55 Indigenous students are enrolled at Bond, including 48 per cent on scholarships.
Nyombil Centre manager Jason Murray said the new facility would cater to the ongoing growth of Indigenous student enrolments and support the University's Indigenous community.
"We have students from literally right around Australia including Alice Springs, Torres Strait and Tasmania, and when they move such a long way from home to a metropolitan area, it can feel quite isolating," he said.
"Our mission is to provide them with a community network to make that transition as easy as possible, with cultural and pastoral support, as well as academic support.
"Because Bond is a small university, we are able to offer a personalised and transformative experience."
The new Nyombil Centre will be open to Indigenous students 24/7, providing community and academic support, including one-on-one tutoring, two dedicated tutorial and group study rooms, state-of-the-art computers, printers and a kitchen.
Mr Murray said the new facility was double the size of that originally opened in 2012, to support the ongoing growth in enrolments.
"Bond's retention and completion of Indigenous students is well above the national average, so much so that there is not much difference between our non-Indigenous and Indigenous student bodies - and that's what our aim is, to close that gap," he said.
Bond University Pro-Vice Chancellor student and academic support, Alan Finch, said Bond was committed to providing ongoing opportunities and support for young Indigenous students to pursue a tertiary education.
"The most recent Census data shows just 5 per cent of Indigenous Australians aged 25 to 45 hold university qualifications, compared to 34 per cent of the non-Indigenous population and their rates of completion are also significantly lower," he said.
"That is something we are committed to changing.
“Bond University is very pleased with this new Centre, which is conveniently sited for our Indigenous students and offers great facilities to support their study and to provide them with a space on campus which will encourage a sense of community. It will cater for further growth in Bond’s Indigenous student enrolments into the future, which is an objective for the University.”