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Curtin volunteers hit the Wheatbelt

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Three busloads of Curtin volunteers are at the vanguard of a movement that will see 500 students tackle 40 community projects across regional WA this month.

Student Guild president Jess Short is co-leading a Curtin Volunteers! pub-painting odyssey – to the small Wheatbelt town of Coorow – that is rolling out of Perth today.

“We are going to Coorow and we are painting the pub,” Ms Short said.

The Coorow project will see students work with local residents to restore the community hotel to its original 1930s grandeur.

John Curtin Weekend volunteers at a previous Kulin Bush Races meet.

“We’ve got 12 people going up – pretty much from the Guild, and one random Guild supporter,” Ms Short said.

Van Morrison and the Spice Girls feature heavily on the songlist she has chosen for the three-hour bus trip.

The Coorow pub paint is one of many volunteer events arranged as part of the 11th annual John Curtin Weekend.

The program of weekend events starts today and runs until the end of October.

“It’s fantastic,” said Ms Short who has now been on four John Curtin Weekend trips.

“You feel so welcomed by the community and it’s a great way to meet and get to know real West Australian people who are living in rural communities.”

But experience has shown that occupational hazards can come with the turf.

“I think there’ll be lots of paint fights,” she said.

“I’m worried about getting paint in my hair.”

Meanwhile, another 30-strong Curtin Volunteers! team has chartered two buses to the Wheatbelt town of Kulin to lend a hand at the local bush races.

Curtin career development consultant Lauren Taylor is co-organising that trip.

“It’s a really good feeling to work with these local communities,” Ms Taylor said.

“It showcases Curtin as a very community-minded university and volunteering can be an important opportunity for career and personal development.”

She said that half her team was made up of international students – hailing from as far afield as Singapore, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Norway and the USA.

“It’s a good way for international students in particular to see life in the country,” she said.

The Curtin team will paint faces and read stories in the children’s activity area, patrol the races’ entry gate, and serve food and wine to punters.

Ms Taylor said the team would work from 11am to 8pm on Saturday, before enjoying a hard-earned rest and beverage while listening to the bands.

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