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eVoice Newsletter - October 2023

Dear Members 

Welcome to our last term for 2023. I do hope you are all continuing with your current courses and perhaps have also signed up for a new course?

Your Management Committee is still hard at work, first with a debrief on our recent “Open Day Expo” - if you have any feed-back you’d like to share, please email me. Then we will be planning for our annual Tutors and Volunteers Luncheon, scheduled for noon on Sunday November 26th at the Kawana Surf Club. 

A big thank you to everyone, including your management committee, about 20 tutors, our set up and run volunteers, and a strong group of ukulele performers, who contributed towards a successful inaugural U3A ‘Open Day Expo’ held at Sunshine Coast University last Wednesday, September 27th.

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John Oakhill, Suzette and John Armstrong

I was impressed with the welcoming and friendly atmosphere and the feeling of anticipation amongst those who had arrived early, that they were going to have an enjoyable and interesting day.

Kerrie Peck and Irene Krajewska from the 60 Plus Playground team were enthusiastic about their first joint exercise with U3ASC, and posted some publicity during the day via their Facebook pages. E Block’s small coffee kiosk also did a brisk trade throughout.

I especially thank our secretary Dawne Clark for her organisation of a wonderful gathering of excellent UniSC speakers and displays who shared their activities with our members and visitors – and several of the latter offered to become new tutors! We also appreciated the two Student Ambassadors who smilingly escorted members and visitors around the campus. 

Our first speaker was Breanna Medcalfe, winner of an Emerging Leader Award in the recent Sunshine Coast Community Awards and one of our 2022 bursary awardees. Her well-illustrated and informative speech showed us how she has chosen to rise above her physical challenges and be a strong advocate for others with disabilities. 

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Photo: Marie Medcalfe with Breanna and her support worker Kadie Cauchi-Gera

Vice Chancellor & President UniSC Professor Helen Bartlett, who is also our U3A Sunshine Coast patron, welcomed everyone present and spoke about future directions, especially in light of the Sunshine Coast University applying to be recognised, only the second one to do so after the University of Queensland, as an ‘Age Friendly University’. 

For an explanation of Age Friendly University please view this video provided by the University of Queensland.

Postdoctoral student Reanna Gardiner was also warmly welcomed with her rescue dog 'Austen' telling members a little about how the university’s three detection dogs are trained to sniff out the location of koala bears in their natural habitat, for health assessment and possible treatment.  

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Photo: Our Secretary Dawne Clark with Reanna Gardiner and 'Austen'

Dr Peter Innes, Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences at the University of the Sunshine Coast, presented an informative and interesting analysis of our recent U3A Member survey – and all of this information will be made available soon on our website.  

Peter also organised the draw of the $100 Coles voucher, from the close to 1000 members who participated in the survey. The winner of the $100 shopping voucher was Heather Stewart of Buddina. Congratulations Heather!

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Photo: Dr Peter Innes, Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences presented results of the Member Survey.

However, many of the first arrivals missed an engaging last speaker, Catherine Watts, the university’s Facilities Planning & Design Principal, who explained in detail her team’s 10year design and planning for the Universities’ campuses and buildings.

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Photo: Catherine Watts with our Secretary Dawne Clark.

Introducing “60 Plus Playground”

For those who have enquired about the role of 60 Plus Playground and its connection with U3A Sunshine Coast, your Management Committee has entered into a year-long, “working arrangement between U3A Sunshine Coast and 60 Plus Playground on cross-promotional activities.” This arrangement will be reviewed at the end of the year. Our $1000 contribution towards this new initiative purchases us considerable opportunities for advertising via their media as well as a new senior friendly '60 Plus PlayGround HUB currently being developed by UniSC students and expected to be launched this month.  
 60 Plus Playground will also assist us in marketing any new enterprises to an audience outside of U3A membership, but will not have any access to our membership, such as personal and contact details. 

We need more volunteers!

Our Member Survey coordinator, Dr Peter Innes is also a strong supporter of volunteering, and previously he has said that volunteering enables people “to make connections with each other and the wider community”. 
“At some point more money doesn’t make people happier. Happiness comes from meaningful connections and contributions, to and with the people and place that you live,” “It might come from something as simple as cleaning up the beach with your kids, or standing up to help others in an emergency.
“It can be a once-off, or more routine through a formal organisation.”
“But either way it involves unpaid contributions to making a better community. Volunteering offers benefits that money can’t buy.”

We are very grateful to our Office Volunteers who run our U3Aoffice in B block at the Sunshine Coast University from 9am to 12noon every week day during term time. 
They are our ‘front of house’ and their job is to provide good public relations – they handle all incoming phone calls and emails. They sign up new members - and yes, we get new members all the time – and help to enrol them in classes.  They either solve problems straight away, or direct issues to whichever MC member is best to handle a specific question. 
At the end of every year, we do ‘shout’ our tutors and volunteers a luncheon, by way of thank you for their efforts. And in our last term, we will be inviting all our office volunteers to an afternoon tea to celebrate their contribution. 
However, we always need new people to volunteer, for a 3hour shift from 9 to 12 either weekly or fortnightly, to work in pairs, or to have extra volunteers to call on in an emergency. 
Please consider stepping up to take a shift and support our fantastic organisation in meeting the needs of members. 

Bursary approvals for 2024: Your Management Committee has again agreed to support the provision of 3 domestic and 1 international bursaries for UniSC students in 2024. This is a wonderful way of U3A showing its appreciation to the university for the provision of our office, our two classrooms, storage space, support with technology and energy requirements. 

Tutors’ Concerns re attendance: We are so lucky to have over 100 tutors ready, willing and able to run our courses for us, for free. Every single one of our tutors is a volunteer, giving up their time to organise, plan and run a class every week. If we sign up to attend a class, and pay our monies, then the least we can do is attend! I know we are busy people – we have other calls on our time – caring for family, visiting friends, going on holiday – or sometimes, just being sick! However, if you are unable to attend a class in any one week, please let your tutor know. If you find the class is not for you, please let the tutor know – or the office. That way, if there’s a waiting list, someone else can take your place... Several tutors have expressed either sadness or some annoyance when students simply don’t show up.

Code of Conduct

Our organisation has a wonderful Code of Conduct, for all our tutors and every member. You can look it up on our webpage. 
It’s there as a guide so that we can all get on, well, with each other. Sometimes we are not always as well-behaved as ‘senior citizens’ should be. Do remember to be welcoming to newcomers, be friendly when members want to chat. It only takes one harsh word to alienate sensitive souls...  

Choir needs a Conductor

We have an amazing choir mistress for our U3A Choir: Kath Jeffers has been in command for many years, but she is looking for a volunteer, someone whom she can train to take over from her, so that she can start enjoying her own retirement... Please consider rising to this challenge.

Enjoy Term 4 and I hope to see some of you at the Tutors and Volunteers luncheon in November, 

Sincerely

Glyni Cumming
Glyni Cumming
President
U3A Sunshine Coast
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