UWA students have contributed more than 31,000 hours of community service in the first two years of the McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship program.
Law student Felicity Negus completed her McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship with WA’s Start Court – Australia’s first Mental Health court – earlier this year. Supervised by Magistrate Felicity Zempilas, she assisted in writing the court’s guidelines and processes.
She says she was initially daunted by the prospect of helping to write the Start Court’s guidelines, which include all aspects of its goals and operations from eligibility criteria through to consent and confidentiality issues.
“There’s no Australian precedent so I had to do a lot of research based on overseas guidelines and ideas,” she says. “I felt lost at times, but all the way I was supported by the court’s Magistrate. She had such a clear vision and communicated it so well – we always seemed to be on the same page.”
“You quickly realise that this is experience you simply can’t get at uni and that your small contribution can help make a big difference.
“I feel so very lucky and grateful for this experience – it worked out so well for me in every way.”
In just two years, the McCusker Centre for Citizenship has placed 300 students with 250 not-for-profit, community and government organisations to undertake hands-on community work in areas such as homelessness, Indigenous health and mental health.
The internships give students the opportunity to contribute to the community while earning academic credit at the same time.
Students have taken up McCusker Centre for Citizenship opportunities locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Two students are currently finishing their internships in New York working with Global Citizen, and Law student, Gabrielle Sumich will travel to London this month to undertake the inaugural McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship with Justice UK.
Applications will open on 6 November for the eighth round of McCusker Centre for Citizenship internships. All postgraduate, undergraduate and international students are eligible to apply and the internships can be undertaken for credit or not-for-credit.
You can find more information about the internship program on the McCusker Centre for Citizenship website.
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