THE University of Ballarat hosted the inaugural Unity Shield program yesterday, with more than 200 students and members of the Ballarat community squaring off against members of Victoria Police in a number of soccer and cricket games at the Mount Clear Oval.
In total, eight organisations competed in the event, with Victoria Police fielding men’s and women’s teams in both sports.
The Monash University Gippsland campus took part in the event for the first time, as did UB partner providers Australian Technical & Management College and the Melbourne Institute of Technology.
The event began in 2009 and was formerly known as UB United vs Copperoos Soccer Friendly, but was re-named this year due to its increasingly multicultural nature.
The Centre for Multicultural Youth fielded a team of young asylum seekers currently living in community detention, while HOLA, the Latin Community of Ballarat, and members of the local Togolese and Sudanese communities also took part.
“The Unity Shield is about encouraging people to mix in with each other and welcoming students who are new to Australia,” University of Ballarat student connect director Jeannie King said.
“UB is a community within itself, and the shield is a good chance for students and multicultural members of the community to talk to and interact with the local police.”