28 September, 2010
Story by: Vivian Yue
Photo: Anna Zhu
Black ties, fine wine and a high note of opera - it was a grand fundraising dinner hosted by UTS:Law. Held at Sydney’s Customs House the evening’s focus was about creating a brighter future for financially disadvantaged youth with aspirations to study law. “We are all interested in looking after young people tonight,” said Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Jill McKeough.
Concerned about academically able students experiencing financial hardship, UTS:Law recognises the need to provide support . The aim of the evening was to raise $20,000 to fund a new UTS:Law Equity Scholarship to be awarded to an outstanding law student needing additional financial support to undertake university study. Thanks to those attending the evening, the financial goal was met.
In her remarks at the beginning of the evening, the Dean said “We want to help a student in need to come to university and succeed. Statistically, low socio-economic students make up 25% of the population; however, only 15% of that group come to university. When these students come to university there are issues about completing the course. In contrast, those from high socio-economic families who also make up 25% of the population have 45% of their cohort make it to university. Once enrolled, more privileged students usually have role models and family to support them in their studies.”
“Our challenge is to get disadvantaged students to come to university and helping them complete their studies. Drawing on current research, there are ways the university can make an impact. We need to build the aspiration of students and broaden opportunities to get in to university, and we must also build an inclusive community for everyone who wishes to come to UTS.”
The recipient of the UTS:Law Equity Scholarship will receive $5,000 per year for four years. Students must show eligibility by demonstrating financial need. The final selection will then be based on achievement and motivation as demonstrated in the scholarship application and academic achievement.
Professor McKeough said that the Law faculty has a specific focus on widening participation which involves working with legal studies teachers in certain nominated schools to assist them with teacher development days, provision of notes and CD resources and HSC study days for the students. “Based on research, we know that one way to build the aspiration of students to come to university is to through a ‘hero teacher’ who can provide the modelling and resources in their subject, and also through direct exposure to a campus and students and staff of a university”.
The evening was not only about raising funds for an incoming student, but also fostering and showcasing talent. The evening’s entertainment included opera performances by members of Pacific Opera. Following the success of the fundraiser, Development Manager, Hannah Bone said the Faculty intends to continue fundraising for further scholarships and several guests remarked that they are looking forward to next year’s event and intend to bring more friends and colleagues along.