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Inspiring start for new Māori and Pacific university students

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25 January 2021

Dozens of Māori and Pacific students have had the opportunity to adjust to life at university through participation in summer programme UniBound. As part of their experience, many of the students participated in two days of workshops at Unleash Space, the University of Auckland’s innovation hub and maker space. Workshops were delivered by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) and gave participants the opportunity to create, make, problem-solve, develop presentation skills and learn to use state-of-the-art technology.

UniBound is an academic enrichment programme for Māori and Pacific school leavers interested in studying at the University of Auckland. The five-week programme provides students with the tools and skills to transition into university life through team building activities, workshops and study towards a credit-bearing course. UniBound Manager Therese Lautua says that UniBound is an important part of this cohort’s transition to university life. “Many of our students have not travelled to the city on public transport on their own, let alone studied in an unfamiliar environment. We create a culturally aware and safe space for students to create new friendship networks, meet staff, receive course enrolment advice and learn about all the university’s systems.”

At Unleash Space students had the opportunity to make custom heat-pressed t-shirts and tote bags. Unleash Space Manager Sean Kelly says “By the end of the workshop all the students had some familiarity with Adobe Illustrator or TinkerCAD and had used our 3D printers, laser cutter, vinyl cutter and heat press. It was a great Day One energiser to get the students enthused about how they could unleash their creativity.”

In another workshop participants learned the principles of design thinking and were asked to come up with solutions for one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – ensuring young people have access to quality education. Programme Manager Judith Marecek says “I was struck by the wonderful compassion the group had for others. All of them came up with some great ideas for improvements. For example one team came up with a peer-to-peer information sharing event, highlighting that having support programmes, like free WIFI or cheap laptop access, is not enough. The target audience needs to be aware of the programmes, and comfortable accessing them. It also shows that improvements don’t always have to be expensive, multi year projects. Ideas such as the above can be acted on very quickly and make a big difference.”

The UniBound workshops challenged participants’ preconceived ideas about university. Sean says “We had feedback that the students had not realised that teaching could be so non-traditional. One student for example commented at the end about how enjoyable the use of LEGO was as a learning activity. I hope they feel empowered and encouraged to revisit Unleash Space and participate in our Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship programmes.”

The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has programmes, equipment, online tutorials, and staff available to consult with in bringing your own ideas to life. Free for all students and staff of the University of Auckland. Find out about opportunities to unleash your potential.

Nicholas Bing
Nicholas Bing

social media

25 January 2021

Dozens of Māori and Pacific students have had the opportunity to adjust to life at university through participation in summer programme UniBound. As part of their experience, many of the students participated in two days of workshops at Unleash Space, the University of Auckland’s innovation hub and maker space. Workshops were delivered by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) and gave participants the opportunity to create, make, problem-solve, develop presentation skills and learn to use state-of-the-art technology.

UniBound is an academic enrichment programme for Māori and Pacific school leavers interested in studying at the University of Auckland. The five-week programme provides students with the tools and skills to transition into university life through team building activities, workshops and study towards a credit-bearing course. UniBound Manager Therese Lautua says that UniBound is an important part of this cohort’s transition to university life. “Many of our students have not travelled to the city on public transport on their own, let alone studied in an unfamiliar environment. We create a culturally aware and safe space for students to create new friendship networks, meet staff, receive course enrolment advice and learn about all the university’s systems.”

At Unleash Space students had the opportunity to make custom heat-pressed t-shirts and tote bags. Unleash Space Manager Sean Kelly says “By the end of the workshop all the students had some familiarity with Adobe Illustrator or TinkerCAD and had used our 3D printers, laser cutter, vinyl cutter and heat press. It was a great Day One energiser to get the students enthused about how they could unleash their creativity.”

In another workshop participants learned the principles of design thinking and were asked to come up with solutions for one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – ensuring young people have access to quality education. Programme Manager Judith Marecek says “I was struck by the wonderful compassion the group had for others. All of them came up with some great ideas for improvements. For example one team came up with a peer-to-peer information sharing event, highlighting that having support programmes, like free WIFI or cheap laptop access, is not enough. The target audience needs to be aware of the programmes, and comfortable accessing them. It also shows that improvements don’t always have to be expensive, multi year projects. Ideas such as the above can be acted on very quickly and make a big difference.”

The UniBound workshops challenged participants’ preconceived ideas about university. Sean says “We had feedback that the students had not realised that teaching could be so non-traditional. One student for example commented at the end about how enjoyable the use of LEGO was as a learning activity. I hope they feel empowered and encouraged to revisit Unleash Space and participate in our Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship programmes.”

The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has programmes, equipment, online tutorials, and staff available to consult with in bringing your own ideas to life. Free for all students and staff of the University of Auckland. Find out about opportunities to unleash your potential.


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