Governor-General drops in to ask if students R OK

General David Hurley and his wife brought some sunshine to a meeting with the DOVES student council, writes Scott Thurlow.

Image: Virtual visit: The Governor-General and Mrs Linda Hurley, middle row far right, dropped in to a meeting with the DOVES council members, pictured on screen.

Mental health, environmental sustainability and managing life through lockdowns were the topics of conversation when the Governor-General and his wife met with students and teachers from the DOVES Minister’s Student Council last week.

His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) and Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley joined the virtual meeting to answer questions and listen to the students share views on issues important to young people today, including how they are managing throughout the pandemic.

The Minister’s Student Council, known as DOVES (Department of Student Voices in Education and Schools) includes 27 students from across NSW who act as advocates for students in their regions.

His Excellency said young people saw the world through a different lens to those of older generations and were “very passionate about issues and strong on causes”.

The topic of mental health was raised by the students in the week of R U OK Day.

His Excellency spoke about the ways the mental health system should evolve and change to meet the needs of today’s society as well as the need for people to build their resilience to manage challenging aspects of life.

The students spoke about how listening to each other was important in the area of mental health to help keep people mentally fit.

When asked about how student voice could be more prominent in policy and decision-making, His Excellency suggested focusing on issues that “resonate at a political level” to get the student voice heard by those who have the power to make decisions.

Many students shared Mrs Hurley’s passion for the environment as she explained examples of innovation in plastic recycling and sustainable methods of food waste disposal they had discovered in their work with the community.

To close out the meeting, Mrs Hurley sang a song she wrote about bringing sunshine to those around us every day, as they thanked the students for the leadership they’ve shown as members of the Council.

The DOVES Council was officially formed earlier this year to add student voice to education policy and issues relevant to young people, regularly meeting with the Minister for Education and representatives of the department.

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