Home' InDaily : July 29th 2010 Contents 4|Vol21No6July2010
Flinders University students are using their
own experiences to encourage teenagers
to go beyond peer-networks and to engage
with their communities.
A pilot program -- Sustainability,
Entrepreneurship and Enterprise
Development for Schools, or SEEDS -- which
will be available to all high schools across
Adelaide, aims to help students devise and
manage projects that have a positive
environmental, social or educational
influence on their own communities.
It has been developed by the Flinders
chapter of Students In Free Enterprise
(SIFE), the international non-profit
organisation that mobilises university
students "to make a difference in their
communities while developing the skills to
become socially responsible business
leaders", and Flinders Southern Knowledge
Flinders SIFE President Sam Taylor said
that while the team would initially
coordinate SEEDS, the goal was for the
school students themselves to take
control of their own projects.
New biology building brings nature inside
A new teaching facility
incorporating a "wired",
populated by animals
and plants will offer
Flinders biology students
a radically different
according to Dr Ian Menz.
Newly-appointed Interim Head of the School
of Biological Sciences, Dr Menz said a new
building due to be completed by early 2012
will feature state-of-the-art equipment to
enable students to monitor a living
ecosystem in real-time.
"The building has been designed to maximise
the student experience," Dr Menz said.
"From the laboratories, students will be
able to look into the ecosystem which will
be home to a variety of birds, lizards and
plants. The ecosystem will have
instruments capturing video and audio, as
well as gathering a range of data in the
pond, nests and burrows. It will be very
interactive," he said.
The new building and the introduction of a
new degree in animal behaviour in 2011
herald an exciting new phase for the School.
"These initiatives reflect the School's aims
to not only provide students with the best
possible learning experience but to boost
our international reputation in research,"
Dr Menz said.
Creating community through competition
"We've benefited from the autonomy
and responsibility that comes with
running projects in the SIFE portfolio
such as Let's Can Hunger and Education
Enterprise, and I think secondary students
could too," Mr Taylor said.
"SEEDS is a real opportunity to engage
secondary students in their communities
through an extracurricular project they
identify as an area of need and which
doesn't need the commitment of teacher
time," he said.
"Through the process, students will need
to set goals, allocate tasks, negotiate with
each other. They may call on advice from
parents within the school community or
from people in the wider community. The
idea is to focus on values such as building
community spirit and not just raw
SIFE will mentor the school students,
teaching them presentation and
interview skills, and other valuable
workplace skills such as how to run a
meeting, keep records, take minutes and
deal with finances.
"Encouraging excellence through competition
is an important element of SIFE, and the
SEEDS teams will have an opportunity to
compete against each other in November
2011 to determine which project has been
most successful," Mr Taylor said.
For more information about SIFE or
SEEDS, please contact Sam Taylor at
flindersSIFE@gmail.com or on 0420 924 792.
Since joining the School in 2002 as a
lecturer in biotechnology, Dr Menz has
gone on to be Associate Head of
Teaching, sharing a Carrick Citation (now
ALTC award) for his work in redeveloping
the first-year biology program.
His research into the human malarial
parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, the
greatest cause of human mortality and a
barrier to development in many African
nations, is yielding promising results.
"My colleagues and I are looking at proteins
in the parasite that might be potential
drug targets and we're also using computer
technologies to find new lead drugs," Dr
"We've recently discovered that one of the
enzymes fundamental to all organisms is
different in the malarial parasite. By
investigating the basic structure of this
enzyme, we're hopeful that it may become
a potential drug target," he said.
"It leads us to believe there might be other
organisms, many of which cause disease
and other problems for society, that may
share a similar enzyme structure.
"If that's the case, there is enormous
potential to improve the wellbeing of
millions of people in developing countries.
"It's very exciting."
Learning in a living ecosystem
Learning in a living ecosystem
SIFE members (from left) Vivien Wei Wei, Melissa
Chin, Sam Taylor and Eddy Yiu Hang Kwok
delivering food donated through the Campbell's
Let's Can Hunger campaign to Anglicare's
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