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A winning idea to boost blood supplies

First-year law/commerce student Enza Cassetta takes out top prize in Deakin’s SDG competition.

Left to right: Dr Fara Azmat, Enza Cassetta, Professor Kim Watty, Dr Harsh Suri

A strategy to help boost the number of Australian blood donors has given a first year Deakin commerce/law student top spot in the Faculty of Business and Law’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) competition.

Enza Cassetta’s idea to help improve blood donation rates in Australia is linked to one of the United Nations’ 17 SDG goals that were adopted in 2015 to end poverty, reduce inequalities and protect the planet. 

Focusing on the third goal of good health and wellbeing, Enza says she entered the competition with the hope to make a difference in people’s lives just through one small idea.

‘I chose to focus on good health and wellbeing as it is a goal that affects every single person around us in one way or another, whether it be promoting good health or helping those with health problems.’

Enza’s idea outlined the promotion and participation of blood drive competitions across Deakin’s faculties and campuses that could also possibly lead to inter-varsity competitions.

She says her interest in blood donor participation was inspired by the promotion of the Red Cross’s work at her secondary school (Notre Dame College) in Shepparton.

‘The Red Cross is an amazing organisation which is constantly seeking blood donations as they are always in such high demand.  One in three Australian will need blood and a single blood donation can be made into 22 different medical treatments. It is a simple thing to do for us that goes such a long way for others which are what the health and wellbeing goal is all about,’ she explains.

The SDG competition attracted 40 entries from faculty students with the three top ideas each awarded a $200 VISA gift card. Enza’s winning idea is now also eligible for up to $2000 of implementation support from the Faculty of Business and Law. Ideas by Shannan Welsh and Roxanna Tabari were ranked second and third respectively. 

Entries were judged by faculty staff Professor Kim Watty, Dr Fara Azmat and Dr Harsh Suri who were all impressed with range of innovative ideas and student engagement with the SDGs.

Dr Azmat says the competition was important for both the students and the university.

‘It helps raise awareness amongst students about why the SDG are important and the challenges faced globally. It also helps them be better informed and equipped to advance the SDG agenda, not only as student, but also beyond that in their workplaces. More importantly it raises awareness that everyone – including government, business and not-for-profit sectors – all need to and can contribute to advance the SDGs.’ 

Dr Azmat says Enza’s winning idea stood out because it was practical and focused.

‘It also involved Deakin and could possibly be further expanded by reaching other universities. It had the potential to engage others due to the incentive component and it was an idea that could be easily implemented but would also have a huge impact.’

A signatory to the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Deakin has been has been recognised as PRME champion for 2018-2019 cycle adds Dr Azmat.  

‘In this role we have a responsibility to influence our students as the next generation of leaders across sectors and make them aware and better equipped to address the SDG for a more sustainable and peaceful world. 

‘Deakin Business School (DBS) is already making significant contributions to advance the SDG agenda through teaching, research and partnerships and this initiative is an example of the multipronged approach we are taking. We are planning to have more events that not only raise awareness but also foster public debate around critical and complex issues related to the SDG and develop partnerships on SDG-related topics,’ she explains.

Enza Cassetta describes her participation in the competition as an incredible opportunity.

‘It goes to show that one small voice can speak volumes – from blood donation being promoted in my small home town of Shepparton to possibly across all Deakin campuses. It definitely demonstrates that we all have the ability to make a difference.’

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