Tourism students offer a helping hand to Footprints service

May 30, 2018

A mural was made with the footprints of some of the event's younger visitors.

A local group supporting terminally-ill patients and their families received a welcome boost from third-year Murdoch University tourism students.

A group  of 30 students completing the Events, Policy and Evaluation unit within Murdoch University’s School of Arts applied what they are learning in class to assist the not-for-profit Footprints Hospice at St John of God Hospital.

Footprints provides emotional support to patients and their families through complimentary relaxation and beauty services including massage, reiki, and meditation.

The hospice required additional support and volunteers, and the tourism students saw an opportunity to put their lessons into action to assist, hosting an open day to attract new volunteers to the service, raise awareness and program funding.

The promotional event was held earlier this month on St John of God Murdoch Hospital grounds, and included a range of activities including a reception desk, board games, relaxation, a laughing circle and a foot-painting canvas station.

Students also canvassed businesses and training institutions via email and phone to encourage volunteerism, and worked with caregivers at the hospital to promote Footprints internally to patients through the creation and distribution of flyers and posters, as well as face-to-face interaction.

Footprints Day Coordinator, Kathy Parr, was impressed with the efforts made by the Murdoch students to publicise the Footprints service to potential clients and volunteers in the community.

“We were delighted with the outcome,” Ms Parr said, “it went really well and was well-attended, considering the fact it had to be held mid-week and during the day when many people are at work or study.”

“We had a new volunteer applying with us on the day, and we can now buy 12 months’ supply of massage creams and oils, thanks to the raffle that was held.”

The students’ coordination and participation in the event will contribute towards their assessment for the unit, which required them to ‘develop, manage and evaluate a real-life event.’

Unit Coordinator and Senior Lecturer in Tourism, Dr Diane Lee, said hosting small community events for local organisations allowed the students to use the skills and practicalities they were acquiring throughout the course of their three-year degree in the Bachelor of Arts in Tourism and Events.

“Through participation in these experiences, the students learn the value of the various elements of building social capital, including networking, proactivity and productivity to create a sense of community,” she said.

Student Tyra Jose  said it was rewarding for her and her fellow students to be able to put what was taught in their tutorials into practice, while assisting a good cause at the same time.

“Events are a popular way of building a sense of community, and for us to have prior experience in working in an events team – and to be set with the skills that enable us to produce an event – puts us in the position in which we can thrive, making valuable contributions to the many worthwhile causes and events in the modern world,” she said.

The tourism students put together a mural using foot impressions of community members and presented it to the Footprints service at the conclusion of the event.

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