Think&Do: Avondale returns to its roots with rebranded appeal for research

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Avondale returns to its roots with a rebranded appeal that uses a phrase from founder Ellen White to seek support for research that improves lives.

Think&Do is based on a statement from a book exploring biblical principles of Christian education. White wrote it for parents and teachers. “Every human being, created in the image of God, is endowed with a power akin to that of the Creator—individuality, power to think and to do,” she writes (Education, p. 17). Those in whom this power is developed bear responsibilities as leaders who influence character, she adds. “It is the work of true education to develop this power, to train the youth to be thinkers, and not mere reflectors of other men’s thought.”

“Power to think and do: it’s a gift from the Creator,” says Public Relations Officer Brenton Stacey, who with Financial Controller Lavinia Ontanu is responsible for coordinating the campaign. “Ellen White makes the statement to encourage us to explore the sciences and the Scriptures, and then to engage—to act. That’s what we do at Avondale.” Giving to Avondale “demonstrates your support for her philosophy,” adds Stacey.

White published Education in 1903, only six years after she helped found Avondale—she formed much of her philosophy on Christian education during her time in Cooranbong, the town in which the Lake Macquarie campus is based. Seventh-day Adventists believe White, who also helped found the church, exercised the gift of prophecy. “Her call to put theory into practice is not necessarily prophetic,” says Stacey, “but it’s a reminder that our thinking must lead to doing that serves needs other than our own.” [pullquote]

The campaign’s tagline, “A journey through giving with Avondale,” alludes to the college of higher education’s values statement. “We invite you to journey with us as we accept the challenge of learning and discovery, of educating leaders, of developing quality infrastructure and of fostering creativity,” says Stacey. “Using this knowledge and these resources to improve lives is a shared responsibility—we can’t do this without your help.”

Donating through the Think&Do campaign will primarily support Avondale’s four research centres as they seek a better understanding of Christian education, health and lifestyle, teaching and learning and spirituality and worship. Giving to the centres will help fund new projects, support employment of research assistants and improve information technology to build capacity for data processing and train more research supervisors.

Those projects this year include those studying the correlation of 21st century education with the model espoused by Ellen White; a Complete Health Improvement Program-related project seeking to reverse type 2 diabetes; and the biblical dimensions of worship.

“While thinking is crucial, it’s not enough just to think about our goals,” writes President Professor Ray Roennfeldt in this year’s first issue of the alumni magazine Reflections. He rephrases the apostle Paul: “If I have a mind to probe the heavens, but do not have justice and compassion for strangers, neighbours and friends, then I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” The implication: with thinking comes doing.

So, donating through Think&Do will also support: scholarships, including those that provide service learning opportunities for students; capital works projects providing better facilities for staff members and students and more services for members of the community; and fine arts projects that connect the college with the community.

“Whatever project or scholarship you choose to support, your donation contributes to the whole,” says Stacey. “Think&Do brings us all together.”

Think&Do aims to raise $2 million by 2020. “That’s a test of our faith,” says Stacey, “but we’re committed to doing all we can to raise the money.”

Visit to choose a project or a scholarship to which you can give as part of the Think&Do campaign. Donations above $2 are tax deductible in Australia.

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