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CSU thunderstorm alert system helps asthmatics

Monday 11 Dec 2017

Charles Sturt University (CSU) and local health groups have developed an alert system to help asthmatics manage the risks associated with high pollen counts and thunderstorms in the Riverina.

Dr Bruce Graham in the CSU School of Biomedical Sciences said the alert system, which has been operating over the last 10 years, had sent out four alerts during the season that ran from September to December this year.

The alert system relies on monitoring airborne pollen levels and information from the Bureau of Meteorology regarding potential thunderstorm activity.

“Unfortunately, the pollen count is a labour-intensive manual activity which takes about an hour each day, but hopefully the community benefit makes it worthwhile,” Dr Graham said.

“Despite the increased number of alerts this year, data from the Wagga Wagga Hospital admissions for breathing difficulties and asthma attacks was fortunately lower over the Spring thunderstorm asthma season than in previous years, which could indicate the possible impact of the alert system.

“People who have joined the Asthma Register that sends out the alerts are sent a text and/or an email alerting them to conditions that may trigger an asthma event so they can take appropriate action.”

Thunderstorm activity can whip up the pollens ahead of the rain front, which triggers fragmentation of the pollen grains into smaller particles which can be inspired deeper into the lungs. This can trigger an asthma event even in some individuals who may not normally experience breathing difficulties.

Dr Graham said, “This is especially relevant to those moving to live in the region and to visitors who may not have been previously exposed to these pollen allergens in the air.”

Users sign up to the alert service via the Asthma Register and are notified by text and/or email message ahead of high risk conditions.

CSU is part of the Wagga Asthma and COPD Collaborative of Health Professionals which was created following a major crisis in 1997 when over 300 people attended the hospital outpatient service over 48 hours.

The Collaborative also includes representatives from the Murrumbidgee Local Health District, The Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network, the Wagga Rural Referral Hospital, and the Ambulance Service of NSW.

Dr Graham worked with the CSU Division of Information Technology several years ago to develop the alert system that now forms part of the University’s emergency management system.

Media Contact: Chris Gillies, 0447 757 066

Media Note:
Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Dr Bruce Graham, adjunct lecturer in the CSU School of Biomedical Sciences at Wagga Wagga campus.

Thousands to attend CSU graduation in Wagga Wagga

Saturday 9 Dec 2017

Almost 900 graduates will receive their undergraduate and postgraduate degrees during three-days of graduation celebrations at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga from Monday 11 December.

Key points 

  • 2 778 guests will be catered for during the five ceremonies in the University’s Joyes Hall

9.30am, Monday 11 December 2017

-  CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann will be Presiding Officer at the ceremony.

- 158 graduates from the Schools of Education; Teacher Education; Indigenous Australian Studies; and Information Studies will be awarded postgraduate and undergraduate degrees.

- Occasional Address will be delivered by Ms Sue McKerracher, Executive Director of Australian Library and Information Association.

- Celebrations will continue today for CSU graduate Ms Kate Allman when she is awarded a Master of Information Studies (Librarianship). Ms Allman married local artist and fellow CSU graduate Dr James Farley in Wagga Wagga on Saturday 9 December after the pair met in the USA when the then CSU student Dr Farley was on a Student Exchange Program.

3pm, Monday 11 December 2017

- 174 graduates from the Schools of Humanities and Social Sciences; Communication and Creative Industries; Indigenous Australian Studies, Division of Student Learning, Academic Success Unit; Centre for Customs and Excise, Centre for Law and Justice; Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security; and Schools of Psychology; and Policing Studies.

- CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann will be Presiding Officer at the ceremony

- Occasional Address will be delivered by Dr Julie Gibbons, tractorgirl. Dr Gibbons works with women in business in the fields of marketing, branding, and graphic design.

- CSU’s highest academic honour, a University Medal, will be awarded to CSU academic Dr Heather Boetto, from the University’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences in Wagga Wagga. Her PhD is titled, An ecologically centred approach in social work: Towards transformative change.

Award-winning local artist, photographer and CSU lecturer Dr James Farley, from the University’s School of Communication and Creative Industries, will be awarded his PhD for his thesis titled, Working Within | Post-Photography and the Practice of Ecological Stewardship. Dr Farley is a member of the University’s Creative Regions Lab. It has been a busy few days for Dr Farley as he got married in Wagga Wagga on Saturday 9 December. While in the USA, Dr Farley met his future wife on an international Student Exchange Program through CSU Global. His wife Ms Kate Allman is also graduating from CSU in Wagga Wagga today with a Master of Information Studies (Librarianship).

- CSU academic Dr Bernadette Moorhead, from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at CSU in Wagga Wagga will be awarded her PhD for her thesis titled, The Lived Experience of Professional Identity: A Year-Long Study with Newly Qualified Social Workers.

- Mr James Githinji, from the Kenyan town of Ruiru in Kiambu County to Australia to receive a Graduate Certificate in Customs Administration from CSU’s Centre for Customs and Excise. He is the Regional Manager, Customs and Border Control, Rift Valley Region of Kenya.

9.30am, Tuesday 12 December 2017

- 173 graduates from the School of Computing and Mathematics; Accounting and Finance; Management and Marketing; Biomedical Sciences; and Environmental Sciences.

- Dr Saba Nabi from Wagga Wagga will receive her PhD, Exploring the Inclusion of Women, Children and the Elderly in Clinical Trials. Dr Nabi’s many achievements include 2017 Australia India Business and Community Award finalist, 2017 NSW and ACT Regional and Community Achiever Finalist; 2017 AFL Multicultural Community Ambassador; and Riverina Regional Advisory Council member at Multicultural NSW.

- Ms Rani Burchmore, Education Partner Director, Asia Pacific at Microsoft will deliver the Occasional Address. The Federal Minister for Small Business and Member for Riverina, the Hon Michael McCormack MP will also speak at the ceremony.

3pm, Tuesday 12 December 2017

- 218 graduates in the Schools of Agricultural and Wine Sciences; Animal and Veterinary Science; and Exercise Science, Sport and Health.

- CSU’s highest academic honour, a University Medal will be awarded to PhD graduate, Dr Dominik Skoneczny. His PhD compared Paterson’s curse plants collected from Australia, Portugal and Spain to examine the genetics, ecology and chemistry of the plant in various locations.

- CSU’s highest academic honour, a University Medal will be awarded to Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Honours) graduate, Dr Jessica Verwey from Griffith.

- Occasional Address will be delivered by University Ombudsman and Head of Campus at CSU in Wagga Wagga, Ms Miriam Dayhew.

9.30am, Wednesday 13 December 2017

- CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann will be Presiding Officer at the ceremony.

- 203 graduates from the Schools of Community Health; Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health; Dentistry and Health Sciences.

- Wiradjuri woman Dr Jane Havelka will be awarded a Doctor of Health Science. Dr Havelka is Clinical Coordinator for the Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health) program in the CSU School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health.

- 17 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students are eligible to graduate with a Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health) from CSU in Wagga Wagga.

- Occasional Address will be delivered by University Ombudsman and Head of Campus at CSU in Wagga Wagga, Ms Miriam Dayhew.

Media Contact: Fiona Halloran , 0439 475 315

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media Fiona Halloran on mobile 0439 475 315 to arrange interviews.


CSU is hosting 23 ceremonies at Albury-Wodonga, Bathurst, Canberra, Dubbo, Orange, Goulburn, Port Macquarie and Wagga Wagga as well in Melbourne and Sydney from Friday 8 December to Tuesday 19 December. Almost 4 000 graduates are due to attend the ceremonies to receive their undertgraduates and postgraduate awards.

NSW government arts grant for Booranga Writers’ Centre

Friday 1 Dec 2017

David GilbeyBooranga Writers' Centre at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga has received a grant of $46 500 for 2018 from the NSW government's Arts and Cultural Development Program.

The President of Booranga Writers' Centre and adjunct senior lecturer in the CSU School of Humanities and Social Sciences Mr David Gilbey (pictured) said the grant will fund two part-time positions of office manager and creative director, and four writers-in-residence during 2018.

"The grant's focus on infrastructure support makes possible the Centre's literary programs and writerly advocacy in this region," Mr Gilbey said.

"We try to engage writers with different styles, modes, demographics – in order to encourage regional writers to explore and develop their work towards publication, by providing immediate access to the skills, networks and advice of the successful writers who come here."

In 2018 all the writers-in-residence are accomplished women; poet Ms Jill Jones from Sydney and Adelaide; Indigenous poet Ms Ellen Van Neerven, a Yugambeh woman, from Brisbane; playwright Ms Donna Abela from Wollongong; and young adult author Ms Claire Zorn from NSW.

While in residence, each writer will offer a reading/performance in Wagga Wagga, and present a writing workshop at Booranga.

"We are particularly pleased that, in the competitive environment of arts funding, this particular grant shows confidence in Booranga's capacity to both manage the grant and to develop opportunities for regional writers," Mr Gilbey said.

"During the year, Booranga will work with other arts and education groups in the region, such as the English Teachers' Association, Eastern Riverina Arts, and individual writers/artists to promote writing opportunities for all ages and many dispositions.

"As well, we hope to publish fourW, the annual anthology of new writing, at the end of 2018.

"We are grateful for funding and in-kind support from both Charles Sturt University and Wagga Wagga City Council. Booranga in 2018 promises a rich feast of literary delights."

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Mr David Gilbey.

The NSW Government's Art and Cultural Development Program (ACDP) is delivered as part of Create in NSW, the NSW Arts and Cultural Policy Framework. Funding supports programs that are central to cultural life to grow a thriving, connected arts and cultural sector with, and for, the people of NSW.

Generosity of CSU students to feed less fortunate

Tuesday 21 Nov 2017

The hunger of the vulnerable and less fortunate in the Riverina will be catered for thanks to the generosity of students leaving Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga for the summer break.

The move out cook up has now become an annual event that sees students leaving their residences at the conclusion of the semester cleaning out their pantries, fridges and freezers and donating all of their in-date food products to CSU Healthy Eating, Entertainment and Retail Services (CHEERS). CHEERS staff then cook and prepare packaged frozen meals to donate to the food rescue charity OzHarvest.

Mr Toby Perry, food and beverage coordinator for the Southern Region CSU handed over in excess of 340 frozen meals to Mr John Foord of the Riverina chapter of OzHarvest yesterday.

Mr Perry is proud of the CHEERS catering team who prepare the meals, and grateful to the students for their generosity.

staff and student handover 

"It's simply fantastic to be able to support a local charity by providing nutritious meals with food that would have otherwise gone to waste," Mr Perry said.

While the cook up is an initiative of CHEERS, the donation of so many meals wouldn't be possible without the support of CSU students which is promoted and driven by the Student Residents' Association (Residence Life).

Mr Travis Cohalan, manager of Residence Life (Southern Zone) indicated students were willing to be involved and donate their food knowing it was going to a worthy cause.

"We're pleased to be part of this important community project helping people in need, and also support the University's objective to be an environmentally sustainable organisation," Mr Cohalan said.

The meals received by OzHarvest will be distributed to local charity partners who deliver meals to the vulnerable and less fortunate in Wagga Wagga and Junee up to six days a week.

Media Contact: Aaron McDonnell, 0427 845 830

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with the Mr Toby Perry or Mr Travis Cohalan.

Launch of 2017 fourW literary magazine in Wagga and Sydney

Thursday 16 Nov 2017

David GilbeyThe 28th edition of one of Australia's 'little magazines', fourW, will be launched in Wagga Wagga on Saturday 18 and in Sydney on Saturday 25 November.

Mr David Gilbey (pictured), adjunct senior lecturer in English in the CSU School of Humanities and Social Sciences in Wagga Wagga, said the winners of the 2017 Booranga prizes for poetry and fiction will be announced also at the launches.

"fourW collects some of the best new Australian writing from the regions, the nation and overseas, and publishes it annually," Mr Gilbey said.

"This 28th edition of fourW contains more than 50 poems and nearly 20 short stories that stretch the boundaries of writing in multi-layered, allusive language that engages, challenges, seduces.

"It includes new work from Booranga writers-in-residence in 2017, Rajith Savanadasa, Nathanael O'Reilly, Zohab Khan, and Biff Ward, as well as a wide range of authors, both established and 'emerging'."

The anthology includes new work from more than 50 writers, including Julie Maclean, Rosanna Licari, Daniel King, Mitchell Grabois, Andy Kissane, Kit Kelen, Derek Motion, and Graham Rowlands.

Mr Gilbey explained the name fourW derives from Wagga Wagga Writers Writers, the original moniker for Booranga Writers' Centre, located at CSU in Wagga Wagga.

fourW will be launched at the Wagga Wagga City Library at 1.30pm to 4pm on Saturday 18 November by award-winning New Zealand-based Filipino-Australian poet, editor, and reviewer Ms Ivy Alvarez.

The launch in Sydney will be by poet, editor (of Verity La) and critic Ms Michele Seminara at 3.30pm to 5pm on Saturday 25 November at Gleebooks, in Glebe.

Check out Booranga Writers' Centre on Facebook and Twitter, website:

The events are free. Meet and hear writers read their work. Refreshments available.

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Mr David Gilbey.

CSU student petitions for horse crossing in Wagga Wagga

Tuesday 7 Nov 2017

 Scott Cox petitions for horse crossingA Charles Sturt University (CSU) student is using his studies to push for a new horse crossing in Wagga Wagga to improve community safety.

Working as a track work rider to support his studies, Mr Scott Cox had identified a need to construct a horse crossing near the Murrumbidgee Turf Club to ensure horse and riders crossed the road safely.

Currently, the section of road where riders and handlers cross with their horses is zoned as 60 kilometres per hour. There have been a number of incidents as the horses become easily spooked due to the speed of traffic.

As part of his Bachelor of Teaching, Mr Cox undertook an assessment that identified a civic issue which he then discussed within his class and wrote a plan to bring about change. Mr Cox saw this as an opportunity and took it a step further by creating an online petition. He called for signatures so that he could lobby the local council to create the horse crossing.

Mr Cox said basing his assessment on a real-world example was not only beneficial to his study but also reflected the strong community ethos of Charles Sturt University.

"The University encourages us to be involved in the community, so it was a perfect opportunity to put my learning into practice," Mr Cox said.

Mr Cox's lecturer in the CSU School of Humanities and Social Sciences  Ms Elise Rosser, said that the University placed an emphasis on student learning being applied to the communities they lived in.

Pointing to Mr Cox's project as an excellent example of humanities studies making a valuable contribution to the local community, Ms Rosser said, "Charles Sturt University encourages students to make a contribution to the community.

"The program gives young people an opportunity to understand local government and participate in change that helps build stronger regional communities."    

Mr Cox agreed, saying that now he's received 1600 signatures the next step will be to submit it to Wagga Wagga City Council.

"I set myself a goal of 1500 signatures, and now that's been exceeded I will write the letter to local council, with the help of Elise, to lobby for the horse crossing," Mr Cox said.

Ms Rosser said the success of Mr Cox to exceed his signature target, along with Wagga Wagga's younger population, was just one example of their strong community spirit and desire to bring about change that benefited the whole community.

The petition is still open, sign it here.

Media Contact: Chris Gillies, 0447 757 066

Media Note:
Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews Mr Scott Cox and with Ms Elise Rosser from the CSU School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Riverina Playhouse to undergo major facelift

Monday 23 Oct 2017

A well-known cultural facility, the Riverina Playhouse will soon be temporarily closed to enable much needed refurbishments to be undertaken.

Announcing the temporary closure today, Charles Sturt University Director of Facilities Management, Mr Stephen Butt said the closure of the Playhouse will be a necessary inconvenience but the end results will be worth the wait.

"We recognise the closure will cause some disruption for not only staff and students of CSU but also those community groups who make use of the facility," Mr Butt said.

"However, the work that will be carried out to the Playhouse during this down time will ensure the facility is state-of-the art and even better able to service the needs of the creative arts into the future."

Mr Butt was joined at the announcement today by Associate Professor Sue Wood, Head of School for Communication and Creative Industries at CSU as well as the refurbishment project officer Mr Neal Molineaux and representatives of ICG, the successful builder selected to carry out the project.

According to Mr Molineaux, the refurbishment will cost an estimated $3 million and deliver upgraded amenities to ensure the Playhouse includes disabled access and facilities, upgrades to the theatre seating, new lighting grid systems, wall and floor furnishings, new auditorium layout with new theatre chairs providing generous leg room, new emergency and exit lighting and a re-organised foyer area.

"I know the enhancements to the Playhouse will be enjoyed by those who perform in the theatre and those who attend performances alike," Mr Molineaux said.

"The environment will also benefit from some of the upgrades, with a key focus on sustainability features. The mechanical systems and lighting to be installed will be energy efficient and water saving fittings will be added to the hydraulic systems".

Stephen Butt and Susan Wood

Associate Professor Sue Wood welcomed the news of the refurbishments and said that staff and students from the School of Communication and Creative Industries were very excited about the anticipated upgrades and looking forward to performing in the newly refurbished facility when it reopened in 2018.

The Riverina Playhouse was established in 1986 and has had limited improvements since that time. It will be closed from 28 October 2017 until 9 July 2018 and CSU students will be using alternative venues at the Boorooma Campus and other community facilities during this period.

Media Contact: Aaron McDonnell, 0427 845 830

Media Note:

CSU to celebrate its key education role in Wagga Wagga

Thursday 19 Oct 2017

It's hoped that heads will turn and the attention of Wagga Wagga locals will focus on the colour and movement of the Charles Sturt University (CSU) Town and Gown parade on Wednesday 25 October.

The parade of academics and students will be led by the Mayor of Wagga Wagga, Councillor Greg Conkey and the leadership team of CSU including Chancellor Dr Michele Allan, Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann, members of the University Council, and other distinguished guests.

town and gown 2015 

Speaking about the colourful event, Head of Campus at CSU in Wagga Wagga, Ms Miriam Dayhew said how important it was to recognise the role education played in the life of the city of Wagga Wagga.

"Wagga Wagga is an education city and the Town and Gown procession highlights the importance of this sector to the local economy and the social and cultural fabric of the community," Ms Dayhew said.

"The procession has grown over the years, originally being an event to coincide with graduation ceremonies for the University, it has now expanded to become a public celebration of the role education plays in the region.

"The public celebration embraces participants from predecessor institutions of the University with alumni of the WWTCA (the former Teachers College) as well as other educational institutions including TAFE, the Medical School of Notre Dame University (Australia), educators from the Defence Forces, Australian Airline Pilot Academy, and local primary and secondary schools, accompanied by the Kapooka Army Band and the Riverina Concert Band."

Ms Dayhew said that some people who have never been to university or attended a graduation ceremony may perceive the parade as somewhat of a novelty, seeing people dressed in academic robes, wearing trenchers (mortar boards) and bonnets and draped in coloured sashes and stoles harking back to medieval times.

"The parade is a little different, but importantly acknowledges the place of education and research in the life of Wagga Wagga, and allows the public the opportunity to encourage and thank those who teach and support those who are studying, no matter what institution they attend," Ms Dayhew said.

"We hope that the long and well established relationship Charles Sturt University has with Wagga Wagga continues long into the future, and we look forward to welcoming and encouraging the public to line Baylis Street as the parade passes by next Wednesday."

The Town and Gown Parade will commence at 4.30pm next Wednesday 25 October, proceed along Baylis Street, and conclude at the Civic Theatre precinct with speeches and a brief public reception.

Media Contact: Aaron McDonnell, 0427 845 830

Media Note:

CSU hosts Indigenous staff conference

Tuesday 17 Oct 2017

Indigenous staff from Charles Sturt University (CSU) will meet in Wagga Wagga this week for an annual conference to engage in professional development and networking.

Nguluway, the Wiradjuri for 'meeting with each other', will be held on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 October at the CSU Convention Centre.

With up to 30 staff expected to attend the conference from across the University, the event will start with a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony at 12.45pm on Tuesday 17 October.

The conference will hear from the University's senior leadership team, with a question and answer session on Wednesday 18 October.

CSU's Indigenous Employment Coordinator Ms Catherine Maxwell said, "Staff attending the conference will give staff a great opportunity to talk directly with Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann and meet his team in a relaxed and comfortable space. 

"During Nguluway, Indigenous Australian staff come together and meet, some for the first time, to develop professional and personal relationships across campuses and work areas.

"The conference is an important annual event as it helps to create a sense of community and support within the University for Indigenous Australians, as well as providing relevant professional development specific to Charles Sturt University," Ms Maxwell said.

The full Nguluway conference program can be found here.

Media Contact: Aaron McDonnell, 0427 845 830

Media Note:

The media is invited to attend a Cultural Session with Indigenous staff and the Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann from 8.50am to 9.50am on Wednesday 18 October at Yindyamarra Reconciliation Site, near car park 7, across Darnell Smith Drive, CSU in Wagga Wagga.

The conference runs from 12.45pm Tuesday 17 October to 12.30pm Wednesday 18 October at the Convention Centre, building 230, near car park 69, Jingellic Place, CSU in Wagga Wagga.

CSU acting students showcase talents in Wagga

Monday 9 Oct 2017

SASS 2017 playFinal-year acting students at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga will present the stage and screen showcase (SASS) of their productions at the CSU Riverina Playhouse from Wednesday 11 to Saturday 21 October.

Dr Robert Lewis, lecturer in acting for stage and screen in the CSU School of Communication and Creative Industries Wagga Wagga, explained that in this 'Illuminate the Stage' festival of one act wonders', every third-year actor directs and acts in a one act play.

"With 17 plays presented in four 'seasons' over two weeks, this is a wonderful exercise for our graduating acting students to showcase their talent and skills as they enter the professional industry," Dr Lewis said.

"It is one of the highlights of students' three-year Bachelor of Stage and Screen (Acting), Design, and Production degrees. Acting students direct their own one-act stage production, from script selection, casting, design, production, and publicity. Each show will be revealed, and directors will have an opportunity to introduce their play.

"This exciting event in Wagga's theatre scene will bring local audiences plays from local, national and international playwrights, from Tennessee Williams to Van Badham, from David Williamson to Alex Broun."

SASS 2017 flyerSeventeen plays will be performed in four seasons from Wednesday 11 to Saturday 21 October at the CSU Riverina Playhouse, with the season launch by the Mayor of Wagga Wagga at 7pm on Friday 6 October:

Season 1: Wednesday 11 and Thursday 12 October

Season 2: Friday 13 and Saturday 14 October

Season 3: Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 October

Season 4: Friday 20 and Saturday 21 October

For booking information contact the CSU Riverina Playhouse on 6926 9688 or

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:
Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Dr Robert Lewis.

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