Watch: Western Sydney University Cracks Viral Success With Moving Story Of Refugee Student


With Australia’s universities ever more reliant on sleek corporate branding to sell places to students and fill their diminished coffers it’s hard to get too excited about the marketing campaigns they churn out.

But for all the justifiable cynicism the (recently rebranded) Western Sydney University has managed to break through with this 90-second advertisement promoting the story of former student Deng Thiak Adut.

As the world tries to come to terms with the biggest displacement of people since the Second World War, the clip neatly encapsulates the overwhelmingly positive impact extending help to those fleeing persecution and conflict can have on the individual taken in, as well as the society that grants them protection.

The clip has notched just under 300,000 views in the four days since it was launched.

The dramatically produced video traces Adut’s story, removed from his mother and taken as a child soldier he eventually escaped Sudan.

“The UN got him out,” a caption reads.

“Western Sydney took him in.”

As the moving story goes viral, spare a thought for the University of Western Sydney’s crosstown rivals UNSW.

During the weekend the university’s marketing team were locked out of their own Facebook page, with an unknown person hijacking it and sharing images of porn star Mia Khalifa.

Max Chalmers is a former New Matilda journalist and editorial staff member. His main areas of interest are asylum seekers, higher education and politics.