ACU and Orange Sky join forces to connect communities

Through a partnership centred on empathy and education, the University and free laundry service will unite with people who are doing it tough.

Australian Catholic University (ACU) is joining forces with Orange Sky Laundry as its national education partner in a partnership signed in Canberra on Wednesday 24 May.

ACU and its founding colleges have been educating teachers, nurses and other professionals for generations. The national partnership will allow both organisations to deepen their ties with the community and extend their interaction with them.

ACU Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Greg Craven said the University would help build on educational capacity for Orange Sky to improve their services to people who are doing it tough, and create development opportunities for volunteers.

“ACU and Orange Sky share a passion and commitment to positive change in society,” Professor Craven said.

“By joining forces, we are not only making a difference but helping communities to see themselves differently.  Everyone in our community deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and that’s what our common mission is about.”

Orange Sky CEO Jo Westh said that the Orange Sky mission was to positively connect communities and securing backing from like-minded partners such as the ACU would allow Orange Sky to grow sustainably, staying firmly focused on this mission.

“Homelessness can happen to anyone at any time. It does not define who a person is. But the journey back to reconnection for many is long and tough. We seek to help create a tangible path out of homelessness through opportunities founded on non-judgmental conversation, and positive and genuine connections,” she said.

Fast facts

Orange Sky

  • Every night 105,000 Australians are homeless
  • The free service for people doing it tough has become less about laundry, and more about non-judgmental conversations and connections
  • Purpose-built vans with two washing machines, two dryers, onboard generator and water tanks and most importantly six orange chairs, local vans do the rounds of well-known, yet discreet locations across Australia’s various other charitable service locations
  • Volunteers and friends spend time together on the orange chairs – having a chat or playing cards or chess, or tossing a footy about – all while the machines are washing and the driers are spinning.
  • Nationally Orange Sky:
    • Has more than 850 volunteers
    • Travels to more than 100 locations in metropolitan and regional areas; the newest van “Tumbles” was launched on the NSW central coast in May
    • In each van, two 10kg washers wash 40kg of washing every hour
    • Specially designed vans include onboard clean and grey water storage, and power generator
    • Mobile shower vans have two discreet shower cubicles, diesel burners and solar power panels to help heat water.


  • ACU explores cultural, social, ethical and religious issues through the lens of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition in our teaching, research and service.
  • By fostering and advancing knowledge in education, health, commerce, the humanities, the sciences and technologies, law, and the creative arts, ACU contributes to its local, national and international communities.
  • ACU offers courses in education and arts, nursing and health sciences, law and business, and theology and philosophy
  • With campuses in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Ballarat and Adelaide, students can also study at our newest campus in Rome

ACU students all undertake units in the Core Curriculum, designed to foster a sense of curiosity, a defined creativity, and an ability to engage with the world in a meaningful way.


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