Meet Laura, your student advocate.
Meet Laura! Our newest member at Advocacy and Welfare. Laura is an Independent Student Advocate which means that she provides independent information and support to UNE students with a range of concerns including academic misconduct, behavioural misconduct, withdrawing from a unit, remission of fees, welfare concerns and so much more!
Not only does Laura have an impressive background in youth advocacy, but she is also halfway through a Bachelor of Social Work at UNE! So she knows that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to the student journey. We had a quick chat with Laura to find out a little bit about her interests, how she is enjoying her new role at Advocacy & Welfare, and how she can help you with any academic or wellbeing concerns!
What do you enjoy about being an Independent Student Advocate?
Helping students! I really enjoy simplifying UNE guidelines and providing guidance on any tricky matter’s students may have. One of my favourite things is seeing the relief on a student’s face after having spent time discussing their situation and helping them come to a resolution or a plan to tackle their concern.
So you’re pretty familiar with youth advocacy and welfare?
I have had the opportunity to work in some pretty incredible roles in youth advocacy and welfare whilst studying. Some of these include working in youth mental health, youth participation and community development, working within a policy and advocacy role at the peak body for young people and youth services in NSW, and in youth homelessness and early intervention.
I recommend students try to find work experience, whether paid or voluntary, whilst studying as it really helps to put the theories you are learning into practice.
Did your involvement with youth advocacy inspire you to study a Bachelor of Social Work?
Throughout high school I was involved with a local youth advisory committee where I used my experience as a young person to advocate for other youths in Armidale. This led me to opportunities where I was able to represent Armidale youth to the State Government through the NSW Regional Youth Taskforce and other avenues. I also recently had the opportunity to inform a health literacy project which is soon to deliver peer to peer training across NSW. This, along with having amazing mentors in the advocacy space has led me to pursue a career in social work. My career goal after I graduate is to work with First Nations young people in the policy, advocacy, and community development space in the Northern Territory. I was fortunate to spend a month living with family in the NT last year and I fell in love with the strength of community and culture, and the beautiful country in the Red Centre.
What have you loved the most about being part of the UNE community?
I’ve been involved with the UNE community for a few years now! Way back when I was in high school, I hosted a hip-hop show on Tune FM where I had the opportunity to interview Aus-music legends such as the Thundamentals, Seth Sentry, Tkay Maidza, Mallrat, and Allday! I love how there are so many ways students can get involved with the UNE community through clubs and societies, study sessions, and online support groups. I was fortunate to be able to travel to overseas for a month to Hanoi, Vietnam to study social as part of the overseas study experience in 2019. I also really appreciate how supportive and amazing the team at UNE Life have been so far. They will go above and beyond to ensure students have an amazing experience at UNE.
When you aren’t being an incredible young person advocate and student, what do you like to get up to in your free time?
I balance full time work and study so free time can be rare to come by sometimes – but I do make the most of it! I enjoy playing on a twilight soccer team, swimming, and being on the UNE Outdoor Adventure Club committee where I enjoy going on camping and hiking trips with the club. I also love a good brunch or coffee with friends and our dogs, and I have recently learned to knit! I also enjoy getting involved in youth advocacy from time to time. It’s really important to have a good balance of activities which help me look after myself so I can continue to support others.
Thanks for the chat Laura! We’re excited to have you on board with our team and to see your passion toward helping others!
Laura is here to provide UNE students independent information, advocacy, and referral across a range of academic and personal issues and offer an empathetic and non-judgmental space for students to raise their concerns. Whether you are part time or full time, international or domestic, study on-campus or online, live in college or anywhere else, Advocacy and Welfare can help. No problem is too big or too small!
You can reach out to the team by emailing them on email@example.com or call 02) 6773 2349 for a chat or to make an appointment. You will also find Laura at the UNE Tamworth campus every second Thursday!
Our team at Advocacy and Welfare offers confidential support to students! You can contact us here.
The UNE Student Success Wellbeing Centre also has confidential counselling for students, you can find them here.
Lifeline is also a 24/7 hotline and you can call them on 13 11 14