A message from the Associate Vice-Chancellor Queensland, Professor Jim Nyland:
In a world of turbulence and uncertainty there is always a need to know exactly where the leading edge of change, driving a university’s engagement with society, lies.
The inaugural Community Leader Awards, hosted by The Catholic Leader in Brisbane last week, recognized outstanding achievements among professional practicing Catholics, young Catholics, Catholic schools, charity organizations and Religious Orders - showcasing how to do ‘engagement’ successfully and celebrating the best that has been done. It presented how Catholics today are re-imagining and rejuvenating Australian culture, and provided fresh insight for university leaders from our partners into the notion that the leading edge of change might just lie in large part with our army of students.
Two recipients of these Awards were both ACU Brisbane Theology students who demonstrated perseverance in their faith amidst real-world social, economic and environmental issues through their everyday operations.
Winner of the Young Leader of the Year Award was Stephanie Santos who works on the Gold Coast as a Youth Ministry Worker helping to bring young people closer to God and training future Church leaders to pass on the gift of faith.
To quote Stephanie:
"The thing I love most about my job is journeying with people – whether it is young people that I get to Minister to at school…or training young leaders and journeying with them and seeing them make an impact and a difference in their community. It is definitely my favorite thing.”
Winner of the Volunteer of the Year Award went to Michael Curtin. Michael is a Secretary-Treasurer and Accompanier with Courage Ministry. He works at the Blind Eye drop-in Centre and is an Administration worker at Real Talk. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 23, however this has not stopped him from giving himself to many organizations over a long career to make the lives of others better.
The University is extremely proud of the achievements of Stephanie and Michael and also the many other ACU students entered for these Awards.
The Community Leader Awards Ceremony highlighted the importance of ‘Impact’ and the belief that this notion should have material outcomes and effects and give expression to what we are about as educators and developers. For universities, it highlighted the impressive works of many of our students who are leading the way in terms of the impact they are having on their communities through their dedication to service.