Student voices pitch to make a difference in western Sydney

Emily Rough from Rooty Hill High School provided her ideas at the event.

Westmead Hospital was abuzz with activity this week as more than 30 high school students from western Sydney came together to pitch their ideas on how to make their communities a healthier and safer place to live.

The positive atmosphere in the Cabaret Room at Westmead Hospital allowed constructive ideas to be discussed with both education and health professionals at the Youth Voices Pitch Day.

The event is an extension of the Students as Lifestyle Activists (SALSA) program, which gives students a platform to be advocates for healthy environments in their neighbourhoods.

High schools involved in the event included Blakehurst, Chifley College Mt Druitt, Erskine Park, Rouse Hill and Rooty Hill.

Issues identified at the event included the implementation of school gardens and exercise equipment in local parks.

More than 30 students provided their ideas at Westmead Hospital.

Panellists were made up of renowned professionals from 7 News, Western Sydney Local Health District, Blacktown City Council, the Australian Medical Association and NSW Education.

SALSA project officer Tammie Jakstas said it was great to see SALSA student representatives speak about issues that matter to them.

“The students highlighted how small improvements to public spaces can have a big impact on improving health outcomes,” Tammie said.

Panelists from a range of organisations listened to the students’ ideas.

SALSA founder Associate Professor Smita Shah said she hoped to see ideas from the event come to life. 

“I liked that students identified issues relating to their built environment and came up with practical solutions. Our goal is to have these issues realised,” Prof Shah said. 

“On behalf of the SALSA team, I’d like to thank everyone who took part in this event.”

The Youth Voices Pitch Day was covered on 7 News – you can view it here.

For more information on the program, please visit the SALSA website and Facebook page.