Victoria University (VU) is honoured to have joined Welcoming Australia’s newest pilot program Welcoming Universities in a partnership proudly advocating for increased cultural diversity and inclusion among students and staff.

Welcoming Australia is a non-partisan movement and organisation committed to cultivating a culture of 'welcome'. The organisation works to advance an Australia where people of all backgrounds have equal opportunity to belong, contribute and thrive. A particular focus is on supporting refugee families, people seeking asylum, and recently arrived migrants to access essential services and to build community connections. Other initiatives include Welcoming Clubs, the Welcoming Centre and Welcoming Cities, which the City of Melbourne joined in 2019.

Victoria University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker applauds the new partnership, which aligns with the University’s strategic commitment to be a thriving place to study and work.

“VU prides itself on being an inclusive and welcoming place for students and staff, and we continuously seek ways to improve their experiences. Our new partnership with Welcoming Universities will help us extend the sincere sense of belonging we want our diverse community to feel — always.

“Guided by the expertise already developed by Welcoming Australia, we have plans to use evidence and knowledge sharing to measure the University’s progress — making tangible differences to the lives of our students and staff.”

VU has other initiatives that celebrate cultural inclusion and promote racial equity, including leading programs such as the student Cultural Inclusion Ambassadors and the staff Cultural Inclusion Advocates. Two online learning modules, co-designed with staff and students, discuss prevention and response to racism. And the University is an ambassador organisation to the All One Together campaign against racism.

As the official Welcoming Week approaches (9–18 September), Welcoming Australia CEO Aleem Ali expressed his appreciation for the University’s eagerness to engage in the initiative at an early stage:  

“Welcoming Universities is a vital pilot that will support the higher education sector to create a sense of belonging for all — their staff, students, and communities of practice," Ali said.

"VU is actively demonstrating invaluable leadership by taking practical steps towards benchmarking and improving their policies and practices, and seeking accreditation as a ‘Welcoming University'."