Last month, the Newman College Students’ Club at the University of Melbourne held the annual Community Service Dinner.
Each year, the Dinner is an opportunity to unite members of the Newman College community to raise awareness for significant social issues, while raising funds for Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia, Jesuit Social Services and Jesuit Mission.
The Dinner welcomed over 170 guests in our Dining Hall, who listened to our guest speakers, and participated in live and silent auctions and a raffle in support.
This year we welcomed Tamara Domicelj, Country Director JRS Australia, to speak about the organisation’s ongoing work, and Deruka Dekuek, a community worker, advocate, and mother, who talked about her own experience of displacement and the support she received from JRS along the way.
Our auction and raffle items and most food ingredients were very generously donated by parents, students, local businesses and the College.
The Dinner was an enormous success and was a crystallisation of everyone’s efforts to contribute to social justice – volunteers, students, and staff who worked for over five hours during the event, many generous donations, and such keen participation from guests.
We decided to ask Deruka to speak as well as Tamara, as her advocacy for the power of education resonated with the College’s setting as an educational institution.
The audience was extremely perceptive and supportive of the messages that both speakers conveyed. The Dinner was an amazing reminder of the power of our community to unite and support those who assist the marginalised and make the world more just and equitable.