Charles Darwin University’s Akaltye Centre on Alice Springs campus has had a major makeover in the lead up to Semester 1, which starts early next month.
Senior VET Adviser Lyle Mellors said that the Indigenous Student Services facility had been essential to university operations in the Red Centre since its opening in 1991.
“Now at this ‘re-opening’, we celebrate the modernisation of a campus facility and the importance we place on engaging with Australia’s Indigenous people,” Mr Mellors said.
“CDU [remains] committed to providing effective and transformative leadership in Indigenous tertiary education in Australia.
“We acknowledge the imperative of Indigenous recognition, inclusion and achievement in the Northern Territory’s and the nation’s future prosperity, and the role that education plays in empowering Indigenous people to achieve their aspirations and in addressing Indigenous disadvantage.”
Mr Mellors thanked building contractor Asbuild, whose project manager Ken Lechleitner Jnr had accessed services in the old Akaltye Centre during his study years.
The $280,000 upgrade involved stripping out the old rooms, uplifting the carpet, replacing doors, ceilings, pipes and an internal wall. It now comprises an open-plan study area for students, an enclosed break-out room, a new dual-staff office and a kitchen.
Long-serving Indigenous Academic Student Support Officer Lorraine St Clair said it was a delight to be able to offer support services in a culturally safe environment that also was state-of-the-art in its design.
“From this office, we will be in regular contact with hundreds of students, whether they be in and around Alice Springs, or as far away as Tennant Creek, Arnhem Land or even Tasmania,” Ms St Clair said.
“The word ‘Akaltye’ is a local Arrernte word meaning to learn or gain knowledge. Our highest priority is to engage with students and support them in their education.”
Some 559 Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander students graduated from CDU across VET and HE in 2017, up from 516 the previous year.