Service to the Community

Charles Sturt University Distinguished Alumnus of the Year – Service to the Community

This award recognises alumni who work inclusively with their community (as professionals or volunteers) and provide outstanding service to others.


Name: Ms. Devika Fernando
Career: Management Accountant
Studies: 2018, MBA and Graduate Certificate (Organisational Change)

Devika Fernando completed her MBA & Graduate Certificate in Organisational at Charles Sturt University by distance whilst living in Sri Lanka and Australia. During her time in Sri Lanka she saw the immense health challenges facing society, particularly when faced with cancer. By a chance meeting, she came across the Breast Cushion project in Australia, and had a lightbulb moment, convincing her old local Zonta Club 11 of Colombo in Sri Lanka to undertake the international program for local consumption. This evolved into significantly local and international interest, culminating in the Zonta Club 11, along with generous benefactors, sponsoring the costs associated with sending two breast cancer nurses from Australia to Sri Lanka to train and educate 48 nurses throughout the island’s provincial health care system, free of charge. Devika is immensely proud of her community involvements, also being an active member of CWA, Brotherhood of St. Lawrence and The University of Melbourne Mentoring program.

Read a  full article on Devika 's achievements here

Devika Fernando

Highly Commended

Name: Mr. Stephen Harris
Career: Bundaberg Regional Libraries and Australia Library and Information Association (ALIA)
Studies: 2019, Master of Information Studies

Stephen Harris was awarded the prestigious Queensland Library Achiever of the Year by ALIA in 2020. This award recognised his outstanding service to industry and community as Bundaberg Regional Libraries’ information services librarian. Stephen’s achievements have included attaining the largest grant Bundaberg library has ever acquired to initiate manifold digital literacy development programs for the public. As an advocate for building digital literacy skills through gamification, Stephen generated the first ever E-sports inter-school competition in regional Queensland. He has also implemented Virtual Reality technology programs as a unique scheme to foster regional people’s access to evolving technologies. Demonstrating libraries are an imperative industry that nurtures community wellbeing, Stephen launched a series of online programs to combat the community fears and isolation brought by COVID 19. His outstanding contribution to the community is particularly exemplified in his partnering to facilitate printing face-masks for Queensland hospitals when global supplies were scarce.


This award recognises alumni who work inclusively with their community (as professionals or volunteers) and provide outstanding service to others.

Other criteria

  1. Alumni (local or international) who demonstrate the positive impact they have had on their community and/or the University through their work in the profit, non-profit or public sector.  Evidence may include, but is not limited to, positive contributions through corporate social responsibility, volunteerism and/or community development.
  2. Alumni who demonstrate through their work, professional or community, alignment with one or all of the University’s values of insightful, inclusive, impactful and inspiring.
  • Process guidelines and policy


    The Alumni Award nominations will be assessed by an internal University committee.  Award recipients who have been nominated by someone else will be contacted to ensure they are happy to formally accept the nomination prior to formal advice being sent out.