Swinburne VCAL students connect with local community

Wednesday 18 October 2017

VCAL students at Stringybark festival.

Senior students working at Stringybark festival to create billycarts from recycled materials.

In summary

  • Two groups of VCAL students have worked on community projects
  • Students at Stringybark festival constructed billycarts made from recycled materials
  • Students created an interactive art installation to challenge the image of young people in the community

Swinburne senior students have collaborated on two local council projects to encourage creativity and engage with those outside their generation.

Working with Knox City Council, the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) students from Swinburne’s Wantirna Year 12 class hosted a ‘Make – Do – Play – Connect’ space as part of the Stringybark Festival.

The festival focuses on ways to inform and empower the local community that contribute to a more sustainable way of living.

They engaged with young children to decorate billycarts they had made out of reusable household items that are often thrown away in hard rubbish collections.

Stringybark festival

“The purpose was to show today’s generation of children how much fun can be had from getting outside, being creative, and working with your hands to make something out of materials perceived to have no further value,” says Susan Elmasri, Swinburne Senior Secondary Programs Manager.

“Youngsters visiting the festival checked out the ‘skateboard’ cart and delighted in decorating the ‘blank canvas’ cart,” she says.

Students drew a crowd to their final presentation which culminated in two billycarts being awarded as prizes for two families at the festival.

Intergenerational connections

Swinburne ‘s Croydon Year 12 Students were involved in a project with the Maroondah City Council and Croydon’s local library, helping to break down intergenerational barriers.

VCAL students at Croydon campus for art project.

The students created an interactive art installation designed to challenge the image of young people in the community.

“Students made individual contributions through short narrative and poetry writing, and shared art pieces that included drawing, sculpture and photography,” says Ms Elmasri.  

“It was then up to the community to contribute, as visitors interacting with students were asked to add their dreams to the dream board, and inspirational thoughts to leaves on the community tree.”

She says that the students took great pride in their work across both projects and that real-world engagement makes a difference in their skill development, making the process more meaningful and worthwhile.

“That’s what VCAL is all about, reaching beyond the classroom and giving students authentic learning experiences.”

Croydon VCAL Teacher, Mrs Mieke Alexander and  Wantirna VCAL Teacher, Mrs Arti Vallabh, were both involved in leading these projects.