Friday, February 25 marked an important milestone in the growing collaboration between Aquinas College and the University of Notre Dame. A total of 32 students across Years 11 and 12 engaged in tertiary units such as the culmination of Research Skills and Methods, Introduction to Philosophy, or Ethics. Whilst our Year 12 students seamlessly transitioned into their second unit of study, the highlight for our Year 11s were their oral presentations, delivered in the university’s Santa Maria Lecture Theatre in front of university staff and their peers.

The Research Skills and Methods unit has been designed purposefully for students to augment their organisational, self-management and research skills, whilst developing an increased understanding of research methods, academic integrity and ethical scholarship. The unit required students to evaluate and critique sources, frame research questions, and to write and deliver an evidence based presentation on a topic of their choice linked to the United Nations Sustainable Goals.

Adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, the goals provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership.

Whilst all of the students presentations were particularly engaging and impressive in the design and execution, examples of the students topics include;

  • Gender Equality - A humorous yet brutally honest and objectively supported argument by Samuel to support the glaring disparities in gender inequality in terms of power and wealth, and an exploration of the interrelated factors that help to explain this injustice. Using a lens focussed towards the disturbing statistics of violence against women in Asian and Pacific regions, Matteo focussed more on the importance of education of both sexes as a viable solution to end discrimination against girls and women, yet the conundrum that violence against women is an inhibitory factor in the progressive education of women in these regions. Samuel Yeow and Matteo Conte
  • The contradiction of SDG3 – Good Health and Wellbeing, and SDG8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth. Jake stressed the importance of how greater technological integration is needed to address this perceived contradiction in light of a more contemporary world effected by issues such as COVID-19. Using the country of Zambia as a case study, Jake skilfully explored the impact of a sugar tax, which will support population health and addressing the growing obesity crisis, whilst acknowledging the adverse impact of such a tax on the livelihood of such a large number of Zambian residents who rely on the country’s well established sugarcane agriculture. Jake Harburn
  • Affordable and Renewable Energy – an argument centred on the future of fossil fuels and ever present problem of greenhouse gas emissions. Lachlan explored the viability and considerations of coal conversion technology such as coalification and coal liquefaction to avoid combustion and limit harmful emissions. Lachlan Brennan