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Ms Christie Petsinis
Bachelor of Architecture/Construction Management
On the surface, raising $100,000 to help combat ocean pollution and studying for a double degree in Architecture and Construction Management may seem worlds apart. Not for 27-year-old surfer and Deakin student Christie Petsinis, who juggled her studies with organising the high-profile Clean Ocean Foundation Hang 12 fundraiser last year. “The skills and experiences I have gained during my Deakin course were invaluable in organising the event,” said Christie. “The double degree touches on so many different areas, from measurement and cost planning to art theory and project management. It offers such a rounded education.”
The Hang 12 campaign involved the Australia-wide auction of 12 surfboards, which were transformed into collector items by an eclectic mix of well-known Australian artists. It was backed by Christies Art Auction House Australasia and the Portland House Group’s Waterways Development in southeast Melbourne, the largest privately funded wetlands system in the Southern Hemisphere. “I was the sponsorship manager, art curator, project manager, public relations person, media spokesperson and any other role that needed filling. I had never organised anything like this before, but I managed because of my knowledge of art, the environment, management skills and how to source more information when needed,” Christie said. According to Christie, the most satisfying outcome of the campaign was helping in some way to de-mystify the environment movement. “It is the corporations that have the money and power to change infrastructure and these surfboards were a very effective vehicle for advocating this issue and engaging a wider audience,” Christie explained.
Christie is in her final year of the double degree course at Deakin’s Geelong Waterfront campus. Driven by a passion for improved water management in Australia and a dream to design, Christie chose the Deakin course because of its strong focus on sustainable technology and practises. The campus location was a huge bonus for Christie, an avid surfer.
To further enhance her studies and fascinated by Scandinavian design and the way it respects the landscape, as well as being appropriate for extreme weather conditions, Christie spent at year on an exchange at the Helsinki University in Finland. As part of her studies in Finland, Christie also travelled to West Africa, where she was involved in an urban renewal project, a collaboration between the university and the local people. “It is really important as an architect to travel and to be culturally aware, to know what is happening in other parts of the world and what is happening under the surface of cities and communities,” Christie noted. Not only did the experience add an international dimension to her studies, but it also sparked Christie’s interest in urban renewal.
Christie enthused: “My studies at Deakin have provided me with a solid foundation and I am excited by the prospect of weaving together all that I have learned …"