Student volunteers promoting a safe and respectful UQ campus culture

20 Jul 2022

Content warning – this article discuses sexual misconduct.  Please discontinue reading at any time if the content causes distress. If you would like further support, you can contact the following services:

  • 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – 24/7
  • UQ Sexual Misconduct Support Unit (3343 1000)
  • Q Counselling and Crisis Line (1300 851 998) – 24/7

It has been a busy month for the UQ Respect Ambassador program.  We introduced two student leaders for Semester 2 and inducted 16 new student volunteers.

Our Respect Ambassadors are essential to promoting an environment where students feel safe, respected and equal on our campuses. Our student ambassadors often join the program to learn more about how they could support a peer if they experience sexual misconduct, how to be an ethical bystander and to join a community of like-minded peers. But don't take our word for it, hear from one of new student leaders below.

I applied to become a UQ Respect Ambassador with an open mind, searching for a community I could grow within, but I also wanted to be a part of the changing UQ community. At my UQ Respect Orientation, I was warmly embraced by the energetic and knowledgeable team. I could tell that the space I had been invited into was a genuinely safe, supportive environment where members were intent on changing students’ standards. I had come to the right place.

From my experiences I have formed important relationships, both academically and personally, as well as developed employability skills such as leadership and active communication. Importantly, ambassadors are encouraged to share new concepts for health promotion campaigns that highlight individual strengths. The diversity of our university environment requires purposeful development to nurture an accessible and inclusive space. UQ Respect, alongside UQ Wellbeing and UQ Mental Health, implement supportive practices that are developed in partnership with student ambassadors. As such, UQ Respect staff create an environment where students feel like a valued team member as we are encouraged to improve both ambassador’s experiences and UQ Respect’s practices.

Our Respect Ambassadors always welcome students to engage with them at our regular Wellbeing Hubs which are held across campus at St Lucia and at the Herston Hangouts and Gatton Chill sessions to discuss the supports that are available here at UQ and externally, and also about how to effect cultural change. They will also be assisting with our events and activities being held for Women’s Health Week and Sexual Violence Awareness month. We are also endeavouring to recruit students based at our Gatton campus into our Ambassador program this semester.