Uni Life

From fear to freedom: ResTalks at UON


Bridie O’Shea invites you to hear a story of true courage at UON’s next ResTalk with South Sudanese child soldier-turned-Blacktown lawyer Deng Adut. (Psssst it’s free too). 

At UON there are a lot of benefits when living on campus. Award winning student housing, proximity to campus bars, meeting new people, and only having to get up five minutes before class starts (if you’re a fast runner). But another major bonus about living on campus is having access to ResTalks.

But what are ResTalks you might ask?

“It’s a part of a broader program that we’ve rolled out at UON Student Living called the ResLife program,” Health and Wellbeing Coordinator, Ms Gemma Edgar said, “At UON Student Living we obviously want people to feel really connected, we want to have a holistic and integrated program that has a whole variety of events and activities so students can feel connected to where they live – a home away from home.”

The ResLife program looks more broadly at the cultural and social aspects of living on campus, as well as sustainability, leadership and academic support. ResTalks is one of the different events that ensures that a guest speaker comes onto campus, exclusively for campus residents’.

“The reason we do that is because we feel that being a part of this community is special. We want you to come here and we want to give you exclusive events,” Ms Edgar said, “That’s the joy of being part of the resident community.”

To keep ResTalks entertaining, intriguing and an all around great time, the UON Student Living team find speakers who are relevant to young people living on campus. Hearing their insights, their stories, their journeys and successes is an ideal way to enrich the lives of those in the broader community at UON and open them up to new ways of thinking.

“If you think about the people who live on campus, most come from regional or rural NSW so we like to bring an array of different speakers and you’ll see that with our next ResTalk,” Ms Edgar said, “We get to bring someone here who was once a refugee and he is now a very successful and really reflective man. And it’s about sharing those personal experiences that, we as a community, can reflect on as well.”

This speaker is none other than South Sudanese child solider-turned-lawyer Deng Adut who has tackled everything that has been thrown his way from being snatched away from his mother at six and forced to fight in the People’s Liberation Army using an AK-47, to being smuggled to Australia and teaching himself how to read, write and speak English by the age of 14, to graduating with a Bachelor of Laws from Western Sydney University in 2010 and delivering a moving Australia Day speech earlier this year.

Interested in coming along but aren’t a UON resident?

No problem!

For the first time ever this session will be open to all UON students and staff members as a way to showcase the residences and the perks of living on campus.

Other notable ResTalk speakers have included scientist Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, comedians Hannah Gatsby and Tom Ballard, and shark-attack survivor Paul de Gelder.

The array of different people, different walks of life and different experiences are what makes ResTalks such an important aspect for the social and cultural development for UON students.

“What is intrinsic to all of them is their reflective practices in their lives to see how there may have been some adverse circumstances that have happened, they’ve coped and how they’ve become resilient people and how they’ve demonstrated leadership as well,” Ms Edgar said.

From Fear to Freedom: True Grit with Deng Adut will be held at the Griffith Duncan Theatre (HD01) at UON on Tuesday, 2nd of August. Tickets are available from ticketebo.com.au/restalks and starts at 7pm.

See you there!

Feature Image: via celebrityspeakers.com.au



Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: