Orientation this year saw the introduction of ceremony as we welcomed students to Country and to the Wollongong campus. Students were painted with ochre to open their minds to Country and to their studies before weaving their way through the smoking ceremony. The process was introduced to both cleanse and ground students on Country before commencing their studies.
Local Aboriginal Elders, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and community members shared the significance of Country, culture, and aspects of the ceremony with those attending orientation.
Director of Indigenous Strategy, Jaymee Beveridge, said “this is exciting, the 2023 cohort will be the first group of students whose journey with the University of Wollongong will be bookended with ceremony. It shows the University’s respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and a commitment to ensuring that our campuses and classrooms are culturally safe places for all students, staff, and community.”
The celebration of First Nations cultures through ceremony was introduced to graduation ceremonies in 2022. The introduction of ceremony to orientation is part of a continued move towards foregrounding the role of Country as the holder of all knowledge and our responsibility to care for Country as a commitment to sustainable futures.