Meet Michael Heard (he/they), our new Rainbow Support Worker. In his new role, Michael will advocate for the diverse student rainbow communities on campus.
Alongside offering pastoral support, he hopes to become a connector across the University and contribute to a better student experience. We caught up with Michael to learn more about his role and aspirations.
What’s the most exciting part of your role, and what do you hope to achieve?
I love connecting one-on-one with students, hearing about their experiences and figuring out how we can best support them together. I look forward to developing relationships and fostering an environment of empathy on campus. I hope to develop networks of rainbow students on campus further, creating regular opportunities to connect, clear pathways to rainbow support, and spaces where everyone feels welcome. I would also love the chance to create greater visibility of the services available within UoA and to work towards reducing accessibility barriers for students.
I hope to develop networks of rainbow students on campus further, creating regular opportunities to connect, clear pathways to rainbow support, and spaces where everyone feels welcome.
What attracted you to the role, to the University?
Having completed my undergraduate degree in psychology and commerce at the University, I gained first-hand experience as a student and of the rainbow communities that exist here. I was motivated by the vibrancy of student life and the potential I saw to do more.
Tell us a little about your past work experience?
Within the University environment, I have enjoyed my time as a teaching assistant within the Business School, working for UniCrew, and as a Summer Start Team Leader. I have also been a ‘Mates and Dates’ training facilitator for Youthline. My experience as a helpline counsellor and team leader at Kidsline Aotearoa helped me realise where my passions lie; in supporting the rangatahi that would call through there. Aside from my work at the University, I have three ‘side projects’; related to youth advocacy and pastoral care. I am coordinating a programme that supports the delivery of peer support workshops in high schools and a youth leadership skill development scheme.
What do you enjoy about university work life?
I thoroughly enjoy the University work life, as I feel there’s so much to do. Every day will be different because we exist in such a huge environment with such a diverse community. The potential excites me so much.
What/who inspires you?
People! I can see collaboration and community happening everywhere I look, empowering me to do better every day. Collaboration and diversity of thought are incredible factors that make our tertiary environment so exciting and can help us pave the way to new heights.
What would the top three things on your bucket list be?
- Travel to all the continents in the world. I have ticked off three so far!
- Learn a second language. I’d like to properly explore my Māori (Ngāti Paoa) whakapapa and connect to it through developing my Te Reo Māori.
You can contact Michael on email@example.com
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