Earlier this month, three celebrities joined crowds at La Trobe University’s Melbourne campus open day to help promote its early admissions program, Aspire.
The Aspire initiative is designed to reward secondary students who have actively engaged with their community through volunteering and service, by providing early offers into La Trobe even before they’ve completed their final year exams, let alone received an ATAR score.
To promote Aspire, actress Isabel Lucas, model Laura Henshaw and North Melbourne AFL player Luke McDonald assisted in providing sustenance for the masses with a ‘Pay-It-Forward-Pizza’ initiative, whereby people who received a pizza from the three stars were encouraged to pass their empty pizza box to a stranger, which could then be redeemed for a fresh one.
You can view a video promoting the event, here. A similar event took place at La Trobe’s Bendigo campus.
“It’s great to see my University encouraging and supporting community-minded Australians,” said Ms Henshaw. “Aspire is really popular with student at La Trobe, so I really encourage Year 12 student to investigate their options and apply.”
All told, La Trobe gave away 700 pizzas in Melbourne and 600 in Bendigo to create awareness for Aspire.
“We saw record numbers attending this year and with good reason; our theme for the day was employability, which sits perfectly alongside everything that we are doing with Aspire,” said a La Trobe spokesperson.
“Since its inception in 2014, the Aspire Program has seen considerable growth. In 2015, we made over 1,600 early offers to community minded students. We expect to see greater numbers in 2016 with awarenes of the program growing year-on-year.”
Students applying to the Aspire Program are assessed based on their community engagement experience, which they demonstrate in a 400-word statement. La Trobe also seeks an endorsement from each applicant’s school.
Sydonny, a second year Outdoor Education student at La Trobe Bendigo, received an early offer through the Aspire Program, having volunteered at a charity camp called ‘The Portsea Camp’ for two years prior to finishing high school.
“I found the Aspire Program incredibly worthwhile,” she said. “Not only did I receive my conditional offer before I went into exams, I also attended free revision lectures for each of my subjects.
“Giving back to the community should be an integral part in everyone’s life regardless of the reward. However, I have always benefited from volunteering – not only do you receive the gratitute of those you are assisting, but it can also mean learning new skills, developing wok ethic, possible career options, friendships and networking opportunities.”
Sydonny continues to volunteer regularly with The Portsea Camp.
To learn more about La Trobe’s Aspire Program, visit the university’s website.