Cultural Renewal at Sancta

Sancta’s Commitment to a Safe and Empowered College Community

Sancta acknowledges that whilst College is a place for young adults to forge greater independence and manage their own lives and relationships, we as an institution hold a responsibility to support residents with that process by providing practical tools and facilitating learning opportunities that seek to challenge the mindsets that can lead to anti-social behaviour, bullying, sexual misconduct and other abuses of power. And whilst rare, when something does go wrong (which we see as inevitable in a community of 300+ young adults), Leadership seeks to be courageous in setting culture by ensuring that investigations are comprehensive, policy is upheld, and safety and fairness is restored.


Sancta’s Approach

Preventative Education → Robust Policy → Student-Staff Collaboration → Continual Review

Led by Sancta Staff with the support of student collaborators, we use discussion events and campaigns, expert-led training workshops, policy education, guest speaker events and student publications in order to set culture and provide tools for individuals and groups to continually reflect on and reform their approaches to health, relationships and community membership. 


Preventative Education and student empowerment

Sancta engages credible facilitators to conduct training workshops for all residents. New residents are required to undertake Consent training workshops early in their residency, and Sancta provides follow-up forums and workshops throughout the year, encouraging students to remain on a journey of learning and self-reflection throughout their time at College. 

Elected student representatives and paid Resident Assistants (RAs) work closely with Sancta Leadership on Cultural Renewal as a shared strategic priority. From supporting policy development, to event planning and awareness campaigns, we see our Student Leaders as vital partners in our aim to make College a safe, healthy and happy environment for everyone.

  • Leadership Training with Dr Debra Kelliher (Aware Network) for Student Leaders
  • Mental Health First Aid and Responding with Compassion Training
  • ConnectedLE – a mental well-being training platform for staff and RA’s that includes modules on social media and body image, stress, anxiety and depression, substance use and respectful relationships
  • HARP training – sexual health
  • MATE Bystander Training
  • Respond with Compassion
  • Sancta Policy and Code of Conduct Tutorials
  • Regular meetings with the Principal and Vice Principal to review progress and identify emerging issues
  • Agreed protocols for harm minimisation at student-run events
  • Consent Labs

Staff Professional Development

  • Mental Health First Aid
  • Butterfly Foundation – body image and disordered eating in young people
  • Cultural Competence 
  • Consent Labs
  • MATE Bystander 


Policies and Procedures



Sancta’s Cultural Renewal Partners

The University of Sydney Safer Communities Office

The University of Sydney Heads of College (Working Group)



SHAMELESS is a discussion and solutions forum for residents, facilitated by key staff with the input of external experts. The aim of SHAMELESS is to provide a safe space for residents to talk about the issues impacting their university and college experience as they navigate young adulthood, and to inspire student-led solutions to trending problems. Forum topics include:

  • Body image and disordered eating
  • Consent, boundaries and healthy relationships
  • Racism, discrimination and cross-cultural communication
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Wholistic health: mental and physical well-being through a harm minimisation lens


Cultural Renewal and the Broderick Review (2017-2018): The final report into the five participating Colleges, known as Cultural Renewal at the University of Sydney Residential Colleges was released on Wednesday 29 November 2017 and can be found here: Cultural Renewal Overarching Report 2017. The report focusing specifically on Sancta, known as the Report to Sancta Sophia College on Cultural Renewal is available here: Cultural Renewal Sancta Sophia College Summary Report 2017. The release of the reports and recommendations was historic, being the first into the culture of university Colleges in Australia – Sancta is proud to have participated. Both reports recognise many and various strengths of College life, yet identify that there is more work to be done for Colleges to continue their cultural evolution and model and deliver best practice in the interests of their students.