ACU Engagement update – 26 April

“The opportunity to help other countries engage in sport and health is a wonderful gift.”

The Community Engagement program that excites me the most in my work at ACU, is the Future in Youth (FIY) Sport for Development program in Timor-Leste.

The FIY program was initially established to deal with gang violence and youth unemployment. Today, FIY has evolved significantly and assists many Timorese primary schools’ in delivering a Physical Education (PE) style curriculum to thousands of grateful children. ACU staff and students travel to Timor each year to provide equipment and training to over 50 primary school teachers in poor rural areas of Timor-Leste. Prior to the FIY program, the majority of these primary schools did not have any equipment, expertise or training in delivering PE.

What I love most about the program is the relationships we have developed with the Timorese people. They have taught us so much about community, empathy, gratefulness and the importance of family. I also enjoy witnessing the growth of the ACU students, while they travel to Timor-Leste and participate in FIY. It is a program that truly enables us to see the development of ACU students and wholly delivers many mutual benefits for all involved.

On a personal level, participation in this program has transformed me and taught me so much about myself. I am very thankful for this. Most of all, it has taught me to try not to be too judgemental of others; to really try and understand a situation from the perspectives of others; and to be more kind on a daily basis. Clearly, I don’t always achieve that but the continued participation in this program challenges me to keep trying.

Anthony Whitty
Deputy Head, School of Exercise Science

Meet Emma Hoare

Photo of ACU Engagement Community Engagement Officer Emma Hoare.

Hello everyone! My name is Emma Hoare and I have recently joined the ACU Engagement Team as Community Engagement Officer at the Ballarat Campus.

My work experiences have been driven by my interests in celebrating childhood, promoting compassion, social justice and human rights. These experiences have included primary school teaching and working for not-for-profit organisations supporting children, vulnerable families, schools, kindergartens and community volunteers.

A member of the Ballarat community nearly all my life, I am returning to ACU after having completed my Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Teaching here 20 years ago. It is wonderful to be talking and working again with people from that time, meeting new people and reaching out into the wider community to help connect people who want to be part of having a positive impact within our community.

Community engagement opportunities for staff

ACU Engagement is committed to ensuring that all ACU staff and students have the opportunity to make a contribution to their community that is feasible and meaningful to them, whilst meeting community needs in a way that is valuable and respectful. For a full list of community engagement opportunities for staff you can visit our Workplace group. Be sure to become a member to stay up to date with future opportunities.

For more information, to register your interest for an opportunity, or if you are aware of more opportunities you think we should know about, please email us at

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