Former SRC Chair, Tenille shares her insights...
"The beauty of Social Innovation is that it can be interpreted differently, with different meanings and values for different people”. CQUniversity have chosen to define social innovation as – ‘engaging with communities to address entrenched issues’, thus being inclusive of all allowing everyone to be a part of the journey. The annual conference 'Ashoka U Exchange' held in Miami Florida in 2017, strives to embed social innovation practices in higher education by bring together students, staff and organisation in enriched discussions. Tenille was awarded one of 10 student scholarships to attend this opportunity, which she is very grateful for and regards as the 'turning point' in her university experience.
On return from her overseas trip to Miami for the Ashoka U Conference, Tenille reflects on how she originally thought she might be the only younger student attending, being 19 years of age. In fact, there were many younger students "I was surprised but I guess it is because in the end the future is ours and we ought to be involved in the journey”, Tenille quotes.
Tenille claims the greatest highlight were the people she met throughout the conference, representing numerous countries. "It was an opportunity to have detailed discussions with other like-minded individuals". It was also an opportunity to engage and get to know the small group of ten of the CQUniversity students who travelled from Australia, as well as connecting with the staff members who attended. “The best conversations were had over dinner with my fellow students, often lasting until midnight.”, Tenille reflects.
Tenille has learnt many skills, which now allow her a clear focus on how to act upon social change and become a change-maker. Moving forward, Tenille describes her passion for wanting to empower fellow students to know that social innovation is not "exclusive and only for the smartest students" but rather for all individuals part of this community and the world at large. Naturally we should all be involved in creating change for a better future. "Social innovation is driven by passion".
“I will strive to make a change on a smaller scale, within my local CQUniversity Mackay community and share my story with peers, encouraging and empowering them to take every opportunity as you never know what might happen”, Tenille inspiringly says.
Tenille’s one piece of advice is 'Help CQUniversity to help you'. Keep a keen eye out for all the amazing opportunities that will be on offer as CQUniversity completely immerse themselves in this generation of making change. Be engaged in what interests you, be actively involved, explore your passions further and give back to your community. Lastly, Social innovation does not have to be about solving world poverty and hunger; you can make a massive difference to just one person, to your class of peers or community.
You can’t help everyone, but you can help someone!