MOU between University of Melbourne and Melbourne Demons joins two iconic institutions

February 15 / 151

Current Melbourne players and University of Melbourne students Tom McDonald and Jay Kennedy-Harris with students from the University chapter of the Australia-China Youth Association. Image: Matthew Goodrope
Current Melbourne players and University of Melbourne students Tom McDonald and Jay Kennedy-Harris with students from the University chapter of the Australia-China Youth Association. Image: Matthew Goodrope

The University of Melbourne and Melbourne Demons have signed a memorandum of understanding, with future collaboration planned in areas as diverse as student engagement and research.

The agreement between the University of Melbourne and the Melbourne Football Club will initially focus on international student engagement, in a bid to make Aussie rules more accessible to the University’s more than 16,000-strong international student population.
 
“Football is one way to enrich the student experience, and we want to provide international students with an experience that will make their time in Melbourne truly memorable,” said Professor Ian Anderson, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement).

“Sport is integral to the life of the University and our contribution to our community, a part of our commitment to excellence in a holistic sense.  With the Melbourne Football Club we have a common passion in supporting the development of a sport that is the heart and soul of the Australian experience in Melbourne.”

Melbourne Football Club CEO Peter Jackson said, “The University of Melbourne is an excellent partner to explore opportunities to build deeper links, connections and activities with Melbourne that we hope provides benefits to both parties and enhances the City’s sporting and education capabilities.

“In many ways, it makes perfect sense to create a formal relationship between two iconic institutions that reflects Melbourne’s world class qualities in education and sport.”

This new agreement builds on more than four years of work between the club and the University’s Indigenous Eye Health Unit, lead by Professor Hugh Taylor.

Melbourne Football Club players have been official ambassadors for the Unit’s ‘clean faces, strong eyes’ anti-trachoma program since 2010.

The agreement also paves the way for future work on research topics of mutual interest, and elite sporting opportunities for University of Melbourne students.

Director of Melbourne University Sport, Mr Timothy Lee, said the agreement builds on the two organisations’ long history in Aussie rules football. “The approach from the Melbourne Football Club is timely as 2015 marks the 100 year anniversary since University left the VFL, and a perfect fit historically, geographically and emotionally.
 
“University Football Club shared the MCG with the Melbourne Football Club during the VFL era and most of the University players not fighting in Europe or Gallipoli transferred across to the Club including the great Roy Park, the famous Cordner brothers and Brownlow Medallist Don Cordner.”
 
Mr Lee said the University was pleased to further its sporting credentials. “The University is justifiably proud of the sporting achievements of its student athletes, teams and clubs. The link between sport and leadership is also well documented with many fine examples of our student athletes who become leaders in their chosen field, captains of industry and important community leaders,” he said.

“Current Melbourne Football Club players Jay Kennedy-Harris and Tom McDonald are both students at the University and the relationship with the Club will provide further opportunities to align both brands to promote the importance of education.”

By David Scott.

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