The Power of Students in Australia

The Cancer Council and Students Alliance (CCASA) developed as an idea for me when I attended the American Cancer Society’s National Campus Summit last year. After returning to Australia I searched my networks to find the necessary people to pull together a new student organisation at my campus: the University of Newcastle, Australia (UoN). I was lucky enough to recruit a tremendous Vice President, Theo Magill, and together we recruited a leadership team and founded CCASA. We are in regular communication with over 200 students at UoN with about 40 members being the most active.

At the National Campus Summit it was very clear to me that ACS has a similar culture to Cancer Council. The bringing together of a wide range of individuals enhances the abilities, and professional and social networks of those individuals. I have sought to embed that culture into CCASA as both a way of thinking and a strategy for integrating Australian students into the world-wide fight against cancer.

Recently, with the help of UoN Services, an organisation at UoN that supports clubs and societies, we launched this campaign by holding our first ever ‘Networking Ball’. The Ball brought together CCASA members, members of other clubs and societies, and guest speakers who are well known community leaders in Newcastle. The objective of the night was to advocate to these groups that our generation can change the world if we work together. In the ‘President’s vote of thanks’ on the night I said that we all have our causes but to be successful in any of them we must work together because “we can do nothing except through people.”

Following on from the Ball, using the networks it established to engender support; our plan is to fundraise for Cancer Council with events such as Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, Daffodil Day, Pink Ribbon Day and Relay For Life. We have already held our Biggest Morning Tea which raised $1000 for the fight against cancer. However, Relay is our long term target area of development. This year we intend to put a team into Newcastle’s community Relay: Newcastle/ Lake Macquarie Relay For Life. We have already raised over $500 for this via our Raffle at the Networking Ball. In the coming years our hope is to start a Relay on campus as per the ACS model.