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Colleges provide a home away from home

Students Louisa Young, Sarah Bull, Ryan Gillim, and Sholema Moore enjoy living in Uniting Church colleges at the University of Queensland. Photo by Mardi Lumsden

Finding a college to live in while studying can be a daunting task for school leavers, but the right college can enhance a student’s experience of University or further study.  Some of the most respected student colleges in Queensland are affiliated with the Uniting Church in Australia.

With five colleges in Brisbane, (four of which are at the University of Queensland’s St Lucia campus) Uniting Church colleges offer a diverse range of facilities and extra-curricular activities for residents.

King’s College (opened in 1913 at Kangaroo Point) is one of the oldest colleges in Queensland and currently houses 252 male students.  With a strong academic emphasis, King’s has produced five Rhodes Scholars, 42 University Medallists and 251 First Class Honours students.  First year Physiotherapy student Ryan Gillim, chose King’s College because of the opportunities in sport, but has found proximity to the university and making friends to be the main benefits of living on campus.  “Living so close to uni, you can duck back anytime for something to eat,” said Mr Gillim.  He also found that despite the Christian foundations of the college, religion was not pressed upon students.  “Kings accepts all religions. The fact that it is a Christian college is just a guideline for the way we behave and act.”

Grace College was founded in 1970 and accommodates 190 female students from UQ. The College has a strong Christian environment, offering personal support from the principal/honorary chaplain.  Second year Grace College resident Sholema Moore said Grace College has a good community environment.  “I was pleased with the idea of going to a Christian environment where Christian values are upheld.”  Ms Moore said living with other people who are not from Brisbane builds a good sense of community.

Cromwell College accommodates 200 UQ students from many different backgrounds.  Cromwell, a co-educational college opened in 1954, is known as the cultural college and often wins cross college events such as debating and chess competitions.  Human Movements student Sarah Bull is in her third year at Cromwell College and chose to remain in college so she could be close to friends and university.  “I was pretty much forced to make friends, and there are so many opportunities: cultural, sporting, social and spiritual.”

Louisa Young has lived at Emmanuel College throughout her law and journalism degree because of the additional support offered to her and her Seeing Eye Dog Jazz, who is a well loved resident.  “They are very supportive of Jazz. He needs grass and a bit of yard, so they’ve fenced in some of the yard so he can run and there is plastic in my room with food and water and a bed for him.”  Emmanuel College houses over 340 students every year.

The only Uniting Church college located away from the St Lucia campus of UQ is Raymont Residential College (formerly Raymont Lodge). Situated in Auchenflower, next to the Trinity College Queensland (formerly Trinity Theological College), Raymont Residential College is 4km from Brisbane city and accommodates 120 university and TAFE students.  TAFE Hospitality Management student Dane Olsen said because there is no drinking on the college site there is time to both chat and study.  “It’s good because you don’t just have drinking friends, but friends you can go have a yarn to.”

Uniting Church colleges have the facilities and support to assist students in making their stay in Brisbane as enjoyable as possible.

Photo : Students Louisa Young, Sarah Bull, Ryan Gillim, and Sholema Moore enjoy living in Uniting Church colleges at the University of Queensland. Photo by Mardi Lumsden