THE desire to get involved with local community is a common refrain among international students. The only problem is, how? The City of Melbourne, together with the University of Melbourne and other Carlton organisations, is leading the way through the ‘Shape Your Carlton’ project. Grant Roberts reports.
The City of Melbourne has announced the Shape Your Carlton project, giving international students and other local residents an opportunity to voice their opinions, concerns, and ideas to shape the community they live in.
Mary Robb, senior partnership consultant at the University of Melbourne, says there is a strong yearning for community involvement from international students but to date there hasn’t been much interactivity on large scale issues.
Under the framework developed by those who want a say in shaping Carlton, students interested in working with others can have a voice.” – Mary Robb, Senior Partnership Consultant, University of Melbourne
According to the Carlton Community Plan, more than 50 per cent of residents are born overseas and a large number are tertiary students.
“Feedback from the international student cohort suggests there is a deep desire to be part of the Carlton community, but most things which involve the students are relatively low-impact,” Ms Robb says.
Ms Robb says they encourage international students to become involved in the project to get more of an understanding of what’s important to them.
The project team kicked off their Shape Your Carlton campaign on November 16 by hanging up signs across the neighbourhood and talking to residents about the initiative to find out what was most important in their suburb.
“We want to hear what are the ways students would get involved, how they would like their ideas and issues to be heard and be part of shaping Carlton,” Ms Robb says.
“Under the framework developed by those who want a say in shaping Carlton, students interested in working with others can have a voice, and together the international students, the Carlton agencies/organisations, the University and the City of Melbourne can determine what to work on together to make Carlton a better place to live and study,” she says.
The project is designed to create collaboration between Carlton residents, businesses, organisations, government agencies, students and other stakeholders in working together to guide Carlton into the future.
The City of Melbourne will work alongside the Carlton Local Agencies Network (CLAN) and The University of Melbourne to find out the key areas most important to Carlton residents.
The project follows on from the recent Opportunities for Carlton (OfC) initiative which was the City of Melbourne’s community-strengthening plan, in partnership with the Victorian State Government.
The OfC initiative ran from 2009 to June this year and aimed to empower the community to become more engaged and invested into changes in Carlton.
A survey was conducted in June to determine how successful the initiative had been, and 86 per cent of surveyed participants reported improved network and linkages as a direct result of the project. Another 77 per cent felt they were able to communicate their needs in government decision making.
If you would like to be involved with the project, or wish to find out more, the first community forum will be held on Wednesday November 27 at the Carlton Baths from 2-5pm. A community workshop will be held on December 4 at Carlton Baths from 4-7pm. Alternatively, you can fill out a survey online.