Give Back is implicit to Indigenous culture and has long been a characteristic of UNSW Sydney. Responsibility is the ability to respond and this is what an education enables us to do.
The idea of “giving back” to one’s own community may be difficult for young Indigenous students to accomplish. This could be because it is difficult to trace one’s ancestry due to the legacy of the Stolen Generations or dispossession. We at UNSW recognise that we are members of multiple communities. Many scholars have written on this concept about giving back to our own community.
Amartya Sen has written about layered communities. Similarly, Noel Pearson has promoted the concept of “orbiting”, whereby young people leave Country to study and work, and “orbit” back to the community when one is able to contribute and give back. Our students and staff should strive to meet their obligation to give back, whether it be to our own local communities, the broader Indigenous community in Australia, or to the Indigenous community here on campus.
Giving back is an integral part of the UNSW Indigenous Strategy. In consulting with UNSW communities, it became apparent that non-Indigenous people want to give back to Indigenous communities. The university is working towards providing opportunities for people to give back in respectful ways that are responsive to communities’ needs and desires.