The Games and The Prince

A message from Ballarat Campus Dean, Professor Bridget Aitchison:

You could be forgiven for thinking this article is about Prince Charles’ visit to the Commonwealth Games, currently happening on the Gold Coast, but it is not.

Here in Ballarat, we also had The Games and The Prince – the ACU Uni Games were hosted by the Aquinas Campus and a few days later, HRH The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, visited Ballarat.

Campus Dean, Professor Bridget Aitchison, and Aquinas Student Association committee member Matisse McGuigan, were invited to meet the Prince at a Civic Reception hosted at Town Hall by Ballarat’s Mayor, Cr Samantha MacIntosh.

The ACU Uni Games were held last week in Ballarat and were back better than ever! With individuals from multiple campuses and six of our eight Campuses in contention it was an event not to be missed. The program included a cyber scavenger hunt, ten pin bowling, dance workshop, indoor sports (netball, beach volleyball, dodgeball), laser tag and much more.

The games provided countless opportunities to engage with students on a national and international scale whilst competing in sporting and cultural/creative events. The nightlife in Ballarat again upheld its reputation in the Games evening program and seeing the guys and gals all dressed up in their formal frocks for the black-tie dinner gave a completely alternate feel to the festivities. Guest speaker David Tubb from Orange Sky Laundry provided an inspiring speech on the importance of empathy and how we can make a difference in the world around us.

This year North Sydney managed to come away with a narrow win overall, taking away the ACU Games Championship trophy, with the home team of Ballarat sweeping up the ACUNSA Spirit of the Games Trophy.

ASA President, Aaron McGregor said: “Despite the Aquinas campus having the smallest team, they were proof that great things come in small packages - with Ballarat being the loudest, proudest and most out there team of them all - Go Oxes!”

Image of Professor Bridget Aitchison with students at the Ballarat Campus.

Aquinas Student Association and Campus Dean, Professor Bridget Aitchison, with the Spirit of the Games Award won by the Ballarat Campus.

Just two days after the Uni Games wrapped up, HRH Prince Edward visited Ballarat to promote the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and to visit Ballarat’s Real Tennis Court – one of only 43 in the world.

Guests at the Town Hill Civic Reception were divided into small groups to allow the Prince to circulate. Campus Dean, Professor Bridget Aitchison, and Aquinas Student Association committee member Matisse McGuigan, a second year Bachelor of Nursing student who is currently completing her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, were presented to the Prince by Deputy Mayor, Cr Daniel Moloney, along with a group of four others including neighbouring Council representatives, and Ballarat’s Citizen of the Year.

The Prince was quite taken with Matisse’s account of her experience with the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme, and spent the majority of his limited time with the group talking with her about her studies at ACU.  Matisse did us proud and represented the university and the Student Association very well. Selfies and photo requests were not allowed, but Prof Aitchison and Ms McGuigan did manage to have their photo taken with the Prince in the background.

Image of Professor Bridget Aitchison with ACU student Matisse McGuigan at a Town Hall Civic Reception for HRH Prince Edward.

Professor Bridget Aitchison with ACU student Matisse McGuigan at a Town Hall Civic Reception for HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.


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