Albury-Wodonga

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Morning tea with sounds of silence

Thursday 5 Oct 2017

Charles Sturt University (CSU) students are hosting a silent morning tea to highlight what it might be like in a world without speech and using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) methods.

The students, enrolled in the CSU Bachelor of Speech and Language Pathology degree based in Albury-Wodonga, will host the morning tea from 10am to 12pm on Friday 6 October at Junction Square in Wodonga as part of International AAC Awareness Month during October.

"Communication can take many forms; a word, a glance, a picture, a gesture," said Mrs Stacey Fisher, a speech pathology lecturer with the CSU School of Community Health.

"We have to find the best way to communicate with people who find speech difficult, including people with developmental disabilities like cerebral palsy, or an acquired disability, like brain injury and stroke.

"During our morning tea, the students and I want to show what it can be like to use alternative communication to communicate with others, and how we can make our community more accessible for people with a communication disability."

CSU speech pathology student Ms Alana Cameron said the morning tea was a great way to demonstrate technologies and methods available to people with disabilities for communicating with others.

"We have studied AAC in theory and practice in our course, and this is an opportunity to show the community what communication is possible in a real life situation," Ms Cameron said.

"By adopting simple communication strategies and raising awareness, we hope to make our community more accessible to those living with little to no speech."

The morning tea is free to the public and will commence at 10 am tomorrow, Friday 6 October.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

CSU lecturer Ms Stacey Fisher and students Ms Alana Cameron and Mr Allan Marsh will be available for interviews and pictures from 10am on Friday 6 October at Junction Square in Wodonga.  Contact CSU Media for further information and to arrange interviews.

In addition, the parent of children with communication difficulties will be available for interviews during the morning tea to give a personal perspective on living with people with communication disabilities.

Advice for parents on university options

Monday 18 Sep 2017

Parents of Year 11 and 12 students looking for guidance on the next steps for their children on their path to a university education can meet with representatives from Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Albury-Wodonga on Thursday 21 September.

"We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to attend university if they want to," said the coordinator of the CSU Parent Information evenings, Ms Katy Fardell.

"A degree can open up a world of possibility for a person's future career, community, and personal development.

"Parents play an important role in helping their child make that choice by providing advice, guidance and support as they consider their options as they approach the end of their schooling.

"That's why Charles Sturt University is giving parents the opportunity to get first-hand information about studying at the University," Ms Fardell said.

"From applying, pathways and costs, to scholarships, accommodation and support, these events help parents help their child prepare for university."

In addition, the NSW University Admission Centre will also attend the Albury event to explain the ATAR score that their child receives after the Higher School Certificate exams, how it is calculated, and the university preference system.

The free CSU Parents Information Evening will run from 5.30pm to 7.30pm in the Stanley A Room in the Commercial Club Albury, Dean Street, Albury. Please register to attend here.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:
For interviews with Ms Katy Fardell, contact CSU Media.

Supporting educational aspirations of people with disability

Friday 8 Sep 2017

People living with disability are looking to higher education as a path to engaging with meaningful activity in their community, particularly in regional areas. But can our regional universities support these aspirations?

Researchers from five universities including Charles Sturt University (CSU) are currently investigating the experiences of people with disability who aspire to complete a university course in regional Australia.

The research team is now calling for people with disability in regional areas from Wangaratta in Victoria to Port Macquarie in NSW to share their experiences of higher education, particularly those:

  • currently at high school in Years 10 and 11 and who are interested to go to university; and,
  • mature aged people who  haven't been to university but are interested in study.

Clare Wilding"We want to interview volunteers from regional communities to understand their perceptions of higher education. We are investigating the barriers for people with disability in undertaking a university course," said CSU researcher Dr Clare Wilding.

"The uptake of higher education by people with disability is lower in regional areas than for their city counterparts," Dr Wilding said.

"According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, people with disability are more likely to have lower levels of educational attainment. Furthermore, data from the bureau showed that there are more people aged 15 to 64 years living with disability in regional areas – around 18 per cent - than those living in major cities, which is 13 per cent. So we should see a higher proportion of students with disability from regional areas attending university."

"However, only two per cent of people with disability living in Australia's regional or remote areas are currently studying in higher education, compared with four per cent in a major city.

"We want to find out why this pattern is happening, and how universities, governments and the community can address the problem," she said.

As part of the project, the researchers have already surveyed and interviewed students with disability who are currently enrolled in regional universities.

"Through this research, we hope to improve access and participation in higher education by regional people with disability, particularly those from a low socio-economic background," Dr Wilding said.

The upcoming round of interviews will be conducted using media to suit the volunteer participants: by telephone, instant messaging, Skype, email or face-to-face. People wishing to participate should contact Ms Kate Freire on (02) 6051 9355 or email kfreire@csu.edu.au.

The researchers aim to complete and analyse the interviews before the end of 2017, and report final recommendations to the Federal Department of Education by the middle of 2018.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Interviews with project researcher Dr Clare Wilding are available through CSU Media.

The research project, titled "Understanding how regionality and socioeconomic status intersect with disability", is funded by the Federal Department of Education.

The project has been approved by the CSU Human Ethics Committee, project number H17124.

Other partners in the project are Federation University in Victoria, and University of Southern Queensland, Central Queensland University and James Cook University in Queensland.

Hope, recovery, resilience for beyondblue speaker in Albury

Thursday 17 Aug 2017

Ms Rebecca Moore has seen her share of mental illness.

She will share her personal journey of hope, recovery and resilience in the face of depression and anxiety as part of the Explorations Series public lecture at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Albury-Wodonga on Tuesday 22 August.

Ms Moore spent most of her career in the airline industry as a flight attendant and is a volunteer speaker for beyondblue, a national organisation that works to raise awareness about anxiety and depression, reduce the associated stigma, and encourage people to seek help.

She became a speaker because she wanted to 'pay it forward' by encouraging others to talk to their friends or doctor if they feel they may have symptoms of depression and anxiety.

In addition to speaking about her own experiences, she will also outline how the audience can seek help, or support a friend or family member who may find themselves in a difficult position.

Ms Moore's interests include running, yoga, reading, going to concerts and music festivals - she is a big fan of Kylie Minogue - and is currently completing study in nutritional medicine. Ms Moore is also a proud mother of two boys, aged three and five.

Ms Moore's free public lecture, titled 'Hope, recovery and resilience', will run from 7pm to 8pm on Tuesday 22 August in the CD Blake Auditorium (room 104), building 751 (car park 2), off Elizabeth Mitchell Drive, Thurgoona.

To attend this free public lecture, and for catering purposes as the lecture is followed by light refreshments, please register for this event.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

For more information, contact Regional Relations Assistant Ms Wendy Rose Davison via email alburywodonga@csu.edu.au or phone (02) 6051 9806.

North-East consultant to build leadership skills

Monday 10 Jul 2017

A marketing consultant to the agribusiness sectors in North-East Victoria aims to increase her skills to help expand opportunities in these industries through a leadership program starting this month at Charles Sturt University (CSU).

Ms Alison Lloyd aims to learn the leadership skills she needs to help the local food and wine industries take advantage of the growing opportunities offered through tourism in the region.

"I believe there is great potential offered by the emerging agri-tourism sector. Visitors from major Australian cities and overseas are enthralled by the environment and quality produce of our region, and they want more," Ms Lloyd said.

"I want to help local businesses create attractive experiences for these visitors, and tell their stories far and wide."

To obtain these advanced leadership skills, Ms Lloyd is taking part in the 12-month Regional Leadership Program Course being offered by CSU at the Wangaratta Regional Study Centre.

"I will need to draw on highly developed skills in communication, project management and stakeholder engagement," she said.

"It's not an easy thing to do, to bring together the interests and concerns of a wide group of people into a single vision - so I need every skill I can get, which I aim to get through this program."

The CSU Regional Leadership Program builds on the personal and skills development in the Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Program which Ms Lloyd recently completed.

Ms Lloyd currently works extensively with the regional 'Wines of the King Valley' marketing board and is a board member with the Beechworth Food Co-op.

Coordinator of the CSU Regional Leadership Program, Ms Ilena Young, noted that the program can also lead to the Master of Business Leadership, also offered through CSU.

"I am delighted to get this inaugural program off the ground in the region.  We have had interest from people in such varied sectors as health, environmental management, education and planning, all of them located in North-East Victoria," Ms Young said.

The first two-day module of the Regional Leadership Program commences at the Wangaratta Regional Study Centre, 218 Tone Road, Wangaratta, on Thursday 27 July.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:
For interviews with Ms Alison Lloyd or Ms Ilena Young, contact CSU Media.

Robots get partnership grant from CSU

Sunday 11 Jun 2017

Robot carA project to provide equipment to teach robotics in a Corowa school has been awarded $1 000 through the Charles Sturt University (CSU) Community-University Partnerships (CUP) program.

Principal at St Mary's Primary School in Corowa, Mr Glenn McMahon, said the grant will be used to purchase robots to enhance the coding education already practiced at the school.

"This is part of our push to encourage education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in our schools," Mr McMahon said.

"For example, in our school we want to develop a rural hub for digital technology and STEM education accessible to 40 schools within one hour drive of Corowa.

"We are so excited to have been the recipients of this grant. We can't wait to put it into action," Mr McMahon said.

In the latest round of grants, the University provided around $25,000 for community projects across all its campuses, from Albury-Wodonga to Port Macquarie.

Head of Campus at CSU in Albury-Wodonga, Dr Jenni Munday, said "the CUP program supports the development of our regions through contributions to cultural, economic, sporting and related activities.

"It also builds aspirations and awareness of higher education particularly among young people living in rural and regional communities.

"This year saw a number of CUP grants awarded to projects involving STEM education in regional schools.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

For interviews with St Mary's school principal, Mr Glenn McMahon, call CSU Media.

More information on the CUP grants is here.

‘Spanner in the Works’ for Albury

Thursday 18 May 2017

Older men from around southern NSW and north-east Victoria will be checked for any 'spanners in their health works' on Wednesday 24 May at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Albury-Wodonga.

During the afternoon event known as 'Spanner in the Works', members of 12 Men's Sheds – from Henty in the north and south to Beechworth – and two Albury-based service clubs will receive free health checks from students enrolled in podiatry, physiotherapy and occupational therapy degrees at CSU. They will be supervised by CSU staff as part of a national program funded by the federal Department of Health.

Event coordinator and clinical supervisor with CSU's School of Community Health, Mr Brent Smith, said during the afternoon up to 100 members of Men's Sheds will be tested for health related issues and blood pressure, as well as podiatry and physiotherapy screening.

A healthy lunch will be prepared by Albury High School students, and Lavington Lions Club will provide afternoon tea.

"Participants will also receive advice on physiotherapy relevant to their age group, first aid and general medical advice from guest speakers," said Mr Smith, who is also supervisor for CSU's Centre for Community Engagement and Wellness, or CEW.

The program's founder and a director with the Australian Men's Shed Association, Mr Gary Green, will travel to Albury to explain the program to the participants and sponsors.

The program is also sponsored locally by the Hume Bank.

The event will be start at 12noon at the CEW, Ellis St, Thurgoona (behind Thurgoona Plaza), and runs until 4.30pm.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Federal member for Farrer, Ms Sussan Ley MP will be available to speak on the upcoming 'Spanner in the Works' event at 10.30am on Saturday 20 May at the Albury North Manual Activities Centre, Nowland Ave, Lavington.

For interviews before and during the 'Spanner in the Works' event on Wednesday 24 May, including with Mr Brent Smith, contact CSU Media.

You, Us, Here, Now in Albury-Wodonga

Tuesday 9 May 2017

Local community organisations, future needs for professionals in a sustainable world and a vulnerable frog all feature in a Sustainability Day being hosted at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Albury-Wodonga on Thursday 11 May.

Organiser Ms Kerry Read said the theme 'You, Us, Here, Now!' focuses on how to address sustainability at three levels: as individuals, as an organisation and in the community.

"We want to show how we as individuals can be more sustainable in our everyday lives, highlight to Charles Sturt University students and staff what we do about sustainability as an organisation, and create awareness of opportunities and organisations available in the local community that are focused on sustainability," Ms Read said.

Running from 10am to 2pm at 'The Gums', the day will include information stalls with advice on how to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, how we can use sustainable practices in our careers, volunteering opportunities with local organisations, and details about the Sloane's Froglet, a vulnerable species that calls CSU in Albury-Wodonga home.

"Even our food has been selected with sustainability in mind, based on minimal packaging and lower associated carbon emissions," Ms Read said. The day also has local entertainment and a trivia event.

President of the local student representative council, Ms Claire Garner, said Sustainability Day aimed to show CSU students the roles they could play in a sustainable world.

"We all struggle to be sustainable in our lives. This festival showcases ways we can improve the sustainability in our daily activities, in ways we may not have previously known, and to become more aware of unsustainable practices," Ms Garner said.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

For interviews with event organiser Ms Kerry Read and student representative Ms Claire Garner, contact CSU Media.

The 'You, Us, Here, Now!' festival runs from 10am to 2pm on Thursday 11 May at the Gums Café, CSU in Albury-Wodonga, off Elizabeth Mitchell Drive, Thurgoona.

Calling householders to Power Down

Sunday 7 May 2017

Low energy light bulbsA project coordinated by Charles Sturt University (CSU) researchers is helping local householders in the Lavington and North Albury areas reduce their power costs.

Working with Albury City Council and the NSW Environment Trust, the 'Powering Down' program will deliver $15 000 in assistance and advice to lower income families to curb the incidence of power disconnections in these areas.

Project leader Dr Helen Masterman-Smith, in CSU's School of Humanities and Social Sciences, said, "Power disconnections in these suburbs are above the national average. An older resident told me that it's too expensive to stay at home these days. She said many people go to shopping centres and public places because of the high cost of heating and cooling.

"Low-income households have to be the most frugal electricity users, yet they spend a higher proportion of their income on energy costs."

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, lowest income households consume 31 per cent less electricity than the national average. Yet in the same households, energy costs absorb seven per cent of their income compared to the national average of two per cent.

"The up-front costs of energy efficient appliances or fittings are one part of the problem. They are considered luxuries in many low-income households," Dr Masterman-Smith said.

To address these costs, the program will provide the first 50 low-income households who register with Powering Down with energy efficient items worth $300, as well as advice on how to further reduce their bills.

Any North Albury and Lavington resident can also compete for the 'Powering Down Cup', which includes large gift vouchers for the 'Biggest Losers and the Lowest Users of Electricity'.

"We believe that by addressing people's electricity use, we can reduce stress on people's budgets and the environment," Dr Masterman-Smith said.

In addition, the project team will commence a household survey in the suburbs to draw a clearer picture of energy security and stress in this community.

To participate in the Powering Down project, phone 6040 7813 or visit the Global Village Community Co-operative at 1076 Mate St, North Albury.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

For interviews with Dr Helen Masterman-Smith, call CSU Media or Dr Masterman-Smith on mobile 0403 766 996.

More information on the Powering Down project is available here.

BEST evidence for stroke patients

Monday 1 May 2017

Charles Sturt University (CSU) researchers are working with local health services to improve the rehabilitation of adults who have had strokes in southern NSW.

CSU's Dr Melissa Nott and Dr Leah Wiseman from Albury Wodonga Health are seeking to improve the uptake and use of evidence-based guidelines from the National Stroke Foundation to help people who have had a stroke in a single comprehensive website.

The website was developed in collaboration between CSU, Murrumbidgee Local Health District and Albury-Wodonga Health as part of the Best Evidence for Stroke Therapies (BEST) project.

"We developed the BEST website to encourage people with stroke to drive their own recovery with assistance from their carers and local clinicians," said Dr Nott, a researcher and occupational therapy lecturer with the School of Community Health at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

['Cheryl' from Wagga Wagga tells her story here on the importance of a team approach to her rehabilitation after a stroke.]

Resources available for patients and carers on the website include 'step-by-step' guides, information and instructions sheets and videos, home activity records and goal setting worksheets. On the same site, clinicians can access 'how-to' videos, implementation checklists and evidence summaries to help them implement and evaluate their stroke-related care.

"We wanted to provide all the information that would be needed by both patients and clinicians so that clinicians feel more confident to implement the National Stroke Guidelines and that patients receive the best quality care," Dr Nott said.

"Geographical distance from health services can make it difficult for patients in regional NSW to access outpatient services once they have been discharged from hospital. This website offers an alternative way to ensure all patients can access the highest quality rehabilitation."

Stroke is associated with cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death and disease burden in Australia. The rate of cardiovascular disease in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District is significantly higher than the NSW average and is a priority area for the region.

The BEST project uses the website as part of an investigation into how to improve outcomes for people who have had a stroke in regional and remote areas of Australia.

The project and website will be officially launched in Wagga Wagga at the Acute Stroke Unit, Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital, at 12.30pm on Thursday 4 May.

Results from the project are due in June 2018. The project is funded by NSW Health and its Translational Research Grant Scheme.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:
For interviews with Dr Melissa Nott, contact CSU Media.

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