(L to R) Niyati Raval, Ranikanth Sadanala and Yira Nurey Cortes Mora celebrate Harmony Day at USQ Springfield.
(L to R) Niyati Raval, Ranikanth Sadanala and Yira Nurey Cortes Mora celebrate Harmony Day at USQ Springfield. USQ Photography

Students unite in the name of diversity

USQ Springfield was transformed into a sea of colour and culture for USQ's Harmony Day celebrations earlier this week.

The event was an opportunity for students and staff to join members of the community to celebrate USQ's rich cultural diversity and promote inclusiveness and respect for everybody who calls Australia home.

USQ marked the occasion with music, food, cultural activities and a rubber thong throwing competition.

Students from the University's newest club, USQ Pasifika, also entertained guests with a number of traditional dances from Samoa and Tonga.

Emile Tootoo, President of USQ Pasifika, said the club's members were eager to share their cultures and traditions with attendees.

"It is important we all promote harmony and today's event was a great show of commitment by the uni that it values and encourages diversity,” he said.

"The students were very proud to showcase their own cultures and excited to learn about other cultures at the same time.

Dartagnyn Brown takes part in a Samoan dance.
Dartagnyn Brown takes part in a Samoan dance. USQ Photography

"We got to meet two lovely ladies, one from Columbia and the other from Ethiopia, who shared their stories of how they got to Australia and how much the University has helped them on their journey.

"It was really inspiring and has encouraged us to stick together and support each other.”

Mr Tootoo, who is studying a Bachelor of Human Services, said cultural clubs are a great way for students to make new friends and enhance their university experience.

"Life at uni can be daunting, especially for many of us who are the first in our families to attend university, so it's important that students have a strong network of supportive people around them,” he said.

"Our club provides a fun way to connect with like-minded students and encourage one another.” 

USQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Communities) Carl Rallings said USQ was committed to inclusiveness and to foster an environment that valued, supported and benefitted from its multicultural community.

"Harmony Day is one of the most important days for us to reflect upon our community's success as a multicultural society and celebrate Australia's rich tapestry of cultural, social and religious diversity,” he said.

Sage Fonoti performs for the crowd.
Sage Fonoti performs for the crowd. USQ Photography

Harmony Day celebrations continue today (March 21) with a range of cultural activities at USQ Ipswich, from 11am-1pm.

For more information about multiculturalism at USQ, visit www.usq.edu.au/multiculturalism.   

Video link: http://bit.ly/2HNiDle