VU Academy for Social Change & Leadership enables students to learn leadership skills and achieve success, while making a positive impact on society and the environment.

At VU we believe in providing an educational experience that prepares students for life, helping them to make an impact by creating and working on real-world social and environmental projects. Working on these projects enables students to develop leadership, entrepreneurship and 21st Century skills that will help them in their future careers and their day-to-day lives. 

The Academy is a place for students to explore and create ideas that can make the world a better place. 

 VU Academy logo

Social impact programs

There has never been more of a need for good in the world. VU students are invited to activate their social conscience by taking part in our social impact programs.

These are a stream of programs that have been designed especially for VU students who are socially aware and want to make a difference. They include the international university program Enactus, the Social Enterprise Activator, and STEMers.

By participating in a VU Academy social impact program, students will have an opportunity to develop skills in areas such as:

  • entrepreneurship
  • sustainability
  • teamwork
  • innovation
  • community building
  • design
  • engineering
  • business and marketing
  • technology.

Check out the programs below for more information.

EnactusVU are student-lead projects where students create solutions for social and environmental problems in their own communities and around the world. EnactusVU is the Victoria University branch of Enactus, an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring students to improve the world through entreprenerial action.

Working as a team to tackle global issues - as defined by the United Nations Global Goals - students will be mentored by educators and business people to positively transform the lives of people in their community and around the world by developing and implementing solutions to real world problems.

As a member of EnactusVU you will:

  • be challenged and stimulated with hands-on experiential learning to develop the attributes and characteristics of a leader
  • build key skills that include inspiring and leading, building teams, critical thinking, effective communications and sustainability - skills that will increase your employability and "future-proof" your career
  • build confidence and enhance your problem-solving skills through real-world challenges
  • increase your social awareness as a citizen of the world and gain new perspectives
  • make a genuine contribution and a positive difference to the lives of people in communities that you will work in

Every year, Enactus University teams across Australia will compete for the ‘Best Social Enterprise Project’ award. The winning team will then have the opportunity to compete internationally against other Entactus teams from around the world in the Enactus World Cup.

If you have a desire to make a difference, to use entreprenerial action to empower people and improve their livelyhood in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable way, then the EnactusVU program is for you.

See project stories from Enactus participants around the world

Time comitment for this program is approximately 2 -5 hours per week.

Visit our EnactusVU site for more information and to join.

The VU Academy Activator is designed especially for students with an interest in making a positive difference whilst creating a sustainable business. Learn about creating a business model, the lean canvas, social enterprise, innovation, tech and startups in this exciting, first of its kind program. You will learn everything you need to know to:

  • start your own business
  • build and test products and solutions rapidly
  • create equitable business models
  • market your product
  • measure your positive impact.

The VU Academy Activator is delivered by facilitators with a mixture of industry and academic backgrounds, alongside established social entrepreneurs, founders and business leaders. At the end of the program you will have the opportunity to pitch your idea to a panel of industry experts, with the winners being awarded funding towards establishing their business.

Applications for the VU Academy Activator program are open to VU:

  • undergraduate students
  • postgraduate students
  • alumni.

To join the VU Academy Activator, and for your chance to earn $5,000 to fund your start-up, you will need:

  • an interest in learning about start-ups and business
  • to be open to networking and working in teams
  • a passion to make a difference
  • to attend 10 workshops over 10 weeks. These workshops will run for 90 min each and be fun, interactive, informative and will equip you with everything you need to create your own start-up social enterprise. 

Apply for the VU Academy Activator program

STEMers is a team of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students helping to excite the next generation of students in STEM by creating and delivering exciting STEM activities for local primary and high schools.

75% of the fastest growing occupations around the world require skills and knowledge of STEM.

The demand for STEM skills will continue to grow in the emerging high-tech, high automation global economy. However, the supply of STEM graduates have not kept up with current and future demand. There are a huge opportunities to become job-ready in the rapidly changing employment market.

STEMers will work closely with Skunk Control, the University’s Tech Artists, to deliver diverse STEM outreach and engagement programs.

If you have a passion for STEM, and want to be involved in our outreach programs, register your interest to join the STEMers.

Personal development programs

Success starts with having the right mindset to succeed, a clear purpose to lead, and the capability, grit and resilience to tackle the challenges. The VU Academy offers VU students a range of personal development workshops that prepare you to achieve and lead as well as improve your abilities and performance.

Our programs challenge you to take your performance to the next level and supercharge your abilities by understanding and unlocking your inner potential.

You can choose from the activities below that best suit your personal developmental goals.

Super Learning is a program that will empower you to learn anything faster and more effectively by teaching you the science and skills of learning.

Super Learning lets you take control of your study skills and cut down on your study time, while improving your comprehension and retention. This is a course that helps you to succeed in your studies and in life. Learn how to read faster, remember more and study more effectively.

Key development skills:

  • achieve more in less time
  • memorise numbers, facts and names easily
  • read everything faster
  • improve your study habits
  • apply these skills to your studies, new hobbies, or work.

The program is delivered as 3 workshops over 3 weeks.

  • Workshop 1: The science of learning (1.5 hours). Develop an understanding of learning, what happens to the brain, and how to use this knowledge to learn more effectively.
  • Workshop 2: Memory skills (2 hours). Learn how to memorise numbers, names and lists to help you with your studies and in everyday life.
  • Workshop 3: Speed reading and effective study skills (1.5 hours). Blitz through your text books and conquer the next test or exam.

Super Learning is open to all students. The workshops can be taken in sequence or separately.

Register your interest in the Super Learning program and stay informed about upcoming workshops.

Social media is part of our everyday life. It pervades nearly every aspect of how we live, work, study and play. For many, it’s become the lens through which people see the world. In this workshop, you will learn about the effects of social media exposure on your mental health and productivity. 

We will look at how social media impacts our lives and how you can take control of this technology and enhance your lives both at university and beyond.

This 2-hour workshop is a mixture of information and interactive activities. This workshop is open to all students.

Register your interest in the Social Media & You workshop and stay informed about upcoming workshops.

The Success Mindset program will build your personal and academic achievement capabilities.

The program will develop and enhance foundational positive psychology beliefs and practices, including the growth mindset, resilience and grit.

In this program you will:

  • learn about the foundational principles and theories related to growth mindset, resilience, and grit
  • learn practical and simple positive psychology practices
  • develop your capacity to apply these skills in your studies and your life
  • develop practical action plans that you can action during your studies.

This workshop consists of 3 x 2 hour workshops run over 3 weeks. This program is open to all students.

Previous participants have rated this program +95% satisfaction.

Register for the Success Mindset program.

Do you feel like you have ideas but aren't sure how to put them down on paper, into print or into action?

Creative mindfulness may be the class for you. We are immersed in the information age, where the answer to every question is at our finger tips. However, what if all the best answers are locked away within you?

This class seeks to encourage participants to pause and get connected to the wisdom within. There are easy activities that you can adopt to take a more mindful and creative approach to study, life and the challenges you face. In creative mindfulness you will learn tools and habits to:

  • connect with your creativity
  • get your ideas on paper
  • get clear
  • get focused
  • start making a difference in the lives of others.

This workshop consists of 2 x 1 hour sessions run over 2 weeks. This workshop is open to all students.

Register your interest in the Creative Mindfulness workshop and stay informed about upcoming workshops.

Students studying a science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) or design course will have chance of a lifetime to visit NASA for a 2-week study tour.

This tour is exclusive - VU is the only university in Australia to participate in the program. This tour is part of the HASSE International Space School where students will be inspired and learn from astronauts, NASA scientists and leading academics from Rice University.

Students will take part in a Mission to Mars Challenge and have access to exclusive areas in NASA - areas that are off limits to the general public. Throughout the 2-week tour, students will learn about leadership, teamwork and project management in one of the most exciting places on earth.

This program is available to students studying in their first year in a science, engineering, technology or design course at VU at the time of application.

Applications for the 2018 tour have closed.

Register your interest

Register your interest in one or more of the social impact programs or professional development programs at VU Academy.

Register your interest in a VU Academy program

 NASA astronaut in space

Contact us


Phone: +61 3 9919 4281.