University of Newcastle Open Day

At a career expo it helps to set yourself apart from your competitors. This was the case when BBI went to the University of Newcastle’s Open Day to engage in a little 'cupcake diplomacy'.

Summary of Learnings

Unlike other stalls in the University’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, The Broken Bay Institute's stood out for the trays of pastel-coloured mini cupcakes decked on the table.

Proffered by BBI staff to Gen-Z school-leavers who were considering enrolling at Newcastle in 2012, the bite-sized cupcakes facilitated discussions on ethics, spirituality, God and religion. And yes, careers too.

This expo and the effort made by BBI to integrate faith and life is a wonderful example of the Synod Statement.

BBI theologian, Dan Fleming, who was at the Callahan campus Open Day, says the first reaction of many Year 12 students was, “What is theology?”

On hearing that it concerns religious theory and spirituality many wondered why they would need to study it. “It’s not like I’m going to be a nun or a priest’, they’d say,” says Dan Fleming.

In education, health and aged care, churches are both large providers and employers, says BBI Student Registrar, Lucie Breingan. “Seventy per cent of aged care facilities in Australia alone are run by churches,” she says.

“There’s a spiritual ethos in the care which is unmistakable. It’s woven into the organisational fabric. A degree with theological studies included is altogether advantageous.”

A career avenue where theology matters was a theme elaborated by the University of Newcastle’s Dr Tim Stanley in his address to prospective students:

“In your career you’re going to come across people whose primary means of identification is their religion,” Dr Stanley told them. “Your ability to understand that, and interact with that in a meaningful and critical way, is going to be crucial to your success in that society.”

Summary of Learnings

  • BBI had a Catholic presence at a secular University Open Day
  • Students were engaged in their environment to talk about the benefits of studying theology
  • Benefits to students were framed in the context of what the study of theology could offer them in terms of career opportunities and personal development


  • The Open Day affirmed the interest of young people in faith
  • The Open Day Presentation aimed at providing information about the application of theology in the real world, helping to make the connections for students

Catholic Diocese of
Broken Bay

Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road
Pennant Hills NSW 2120

PO Box 340
Pennant Hills NSW 1715

Phone 02 9847 0000
Fax 02 9847 0001

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