With a rumble of bus engines and excited chatter, almost 300 high school students descended upon The University of Queensland’s sports fields over two salubrious days in November.
The arrival of the students was hardly unexpected; they had signed up to UQ’s annual Sport Experience Days.
The days provided students from Ipswich, Gatton and the Lockyer Valley with an opportunity to participate in novelty sports, while exploring university pathways. The students were encouraged to understand the nexus between an interest in sport and study, and career options.
The experience ultimately aimed to raise the tertiary aspirations of the students.
The days were made possible by an internal partnership between UQ’s Outreach Program - which engages high school students in the Ipswich, Lockyer Valley and Gatton regions - and UQ Sport.
Throughout the school year, UQ’s Outreach Program delivers presentations and activities which aim to raise awareness of post-secondary school study and career opportunities, promote the value of undertaking higher education, build student self-confidence and demystify the university environment.
The Sports Experience Days were just one of many initiatives delivered by the Outreach Team over 2016, designed to enthuse, motivate and educate.
Over the two Sports Experience Days, students participated in a range of sports from bubble soccer, to European handball and dodge ball. Students also participated in a student ambassador-led Physiotherapy Faculty activity.
Feedback from both days was overwhelmingly positive. In particular, teachers provided comments that the students found bubble soccer most enjoyable, and that the day provided students with an excellent opportunity to play mixed sport with students from other schools. For the schools participating in the day, an opportunity like this is of increased value, given the distance and the logistics required to coordinate inter-school athletics.
Students also experienced UQ’s advanced teaching facilities, with the introductions and the faculty activities delivered in lecture theaters and teaching rooms. UQ Sport had a strong presence throughout, with both student ambassadors from UQ Sport and management there for support.
Days like these are designed to enthuse, motivate and educate.
Students were provided with a wide range of information on the sporting facilities and opportunities at UQ.
The 2016 Sports Experience Days were a positive event for the Outreach Program and capped off a year of meaningful and effective engagement with schools.
Preparation for Outreach engagement in 2017 is well underway, with a calendar of school presentations,workshops and campus visits already booked. There is no doubt that the Outreach Team will launch into 2017 delivering a suite of energetic and empowering opportunities for another cohort of enthusiastic students.
By Georgina Nielsen: Images courtesy of UQ Sport and Georgina Nielsen