VU and Western Bulldogs celebrate AFLW Pride Round

Bucket hats, hairstyling and handballs at the Western Bulldogs AFLW Pride Game.
Thursday 9 November 2023

In partnership with the AFLW Western Bulldogs, Victoria University (VU) appeared on and off the field as the Match Day Partner at Whitten Oval to celebrate the official ‘Pride Round’.

This is the first year VU had the opportunity to be Match Day Partner for Pride Round with it added to the renewed Bulldogs agreement earlier this year. 

Bringing colour and flare off the field, VU were joined by ‘The Rumours are True’ salon, offering rainbow hair styling to those in attendance. The salon is owned by VU Hairdressing Apprenticeship graduate, Lauren Main. Lauren was joined by members of her team sporting brightly coloured hair braids, including fellow VU graduate, Marnie Ward.

Attendees were invited to take part in the VU obstacle course which tested speed, reaction times and accuracy with a handball target practice wall. Participants were also gifted VU branded pride flags to wave during the match.

Taking the field with the athletes were ‘Junior Mascots’ for the match – this year including two children from VU staff. The kids were dressed in Bulldogs Pride Round jerseys and ran onto the field with the athletes through a ‘Guard of Honour’ proudly lined by VU staff and guests. VU staff and guests were later invited back to the field at half time for the official ‘Lap of Honour’.

Following tossing the coin for the match, VU Executive Sponsor of VU LGBTQIA+ Inclusion, Professor Alex Parker spoke about what the opportunity means to her and how important events like ‘Pride Round’ are for the LGBTIQA+ community.

“Sport is a powerful way to unite and inspire people – the AFLW plays an amazing role in this by supporting the Pride Round,” Professor Parker said.

This provides the opportunity for the LGBTQIA+ community to celebrate and for allies to further their commitment to creating a culture of inclusion.”

Among VU attendees was Deputy Vice-Chancellor External Relations and Partnerships, the Hon. Wade Noonan who spoke about the importance of inclusion and the ongoing partnership with the Western Bulldogs.

“VU is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone feels respected, safe and valued,” Mr Noonan said.

Through our stated objective to partner with principle, VU has deliberately focused our alliance with the Western Bulldogs to actively promote and support the Pride Round. It’s another step forward on our path to progressive inclusivity at VU.”

VU have been proud partners with the Western Bulldogs since the 1980s and earlier this year levelled up the partnership by securing naming rights to the Whitten Oval high-performance centre.