AN innovative program that pairs university students with a local business challenge was trialled in Shoalhaven recently.
Titled Univative, Shoalhaven City Council was the partner for the group’s first project.
The project involved a team of students tackling the challenge of educating the public about off-leash areas for dogs.
University of Wollongong Shoalhaven Campus student Laura Sansonetti was the Univative team leader.
She said the project gave her an opportunity to put some of her new skills into action.
“I’m doing a course in community, culture and the environment,” she said.
“For the Univative project it was good to pull together the information, dissect it and present it in a report and presentation.
“That was something I had done before and was exactly what was required for this.
“Many people don’t realise what their responsibilities are under the Companion Animals Act.
“You might have a dog and want to be able to have it run free on the beach but you have to realise not everybody likes dogs.
“The key issue is that dogs should be on leads at all times, unless otherwise specified.
“Some of the recommendations we put to council involved having community days, open days and producing a calendar to help educate the community.
“It shows how different people from different perspectives can open up your view of a situation,” she said.
Shoalhaven City Council training co-ordinator Peter Carmichael was impressed by some of the suggestions raised by the students.
“They did a survey of dog off-leash areas throughout the city.
“They were looking at our signage - Was it readable? Was it defaced? Was it ambiguous?
“The main idea is to education the community about off leash times.
“Some of the suggestions included replacing damaged signs, relocating them to more appropriate positions and changing the wording on signs to be less ambiguous,” he said.