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8 December 2022

‘Come and chat about anything’: how our chaplains can help students from all backgrounds

The end-of-year break is nearly here! While for many of us the long summer holidays are a highlight – a chance to unwind, travel and have fun – for others, it can be a bit of a lonely time. This is particularly common for anyone who’s far away from home and family.

If you’re apprehensive about how you’ll cope with the change in routine, you’re feeling a bit burnt out after a long and sometimes challenging year or you’re going through something tough, one great source of help is Deakin’s amazing group of chaplains.

Chaplains are people of faith – both ordained and non-ordained – who provide spiritual care in non-religious settings. We’re lucky enough to have chaplains from a variety of faith backgrounds, including Buddhism, Islam, Christian and Jewish faiths. But you don’t even have to be religious to meet with a chaplain – people from all walks of life are welcome to seek support or advice. 

Any discussions you have with a chaplain will be non-judgemental and confidential. Talking to someone independent can provide solace in a tough time and give you a sense of connection. You may benefit from an impartial perspective on a difficult loss, relationship or living situation – or perhaps you just want to hear a friendly voice. Our chaplains can also advise on a range of different spiritual practices, including mindfulness and meditation.

Meet our chaplains below and get in touch for a helping hand or a friendly ear – they’d love to hear from you before the end of trimester.


Rabbi Bochi Broh Rabbi Bochi Broh (Jewish)

Life is short and precious, and it’s my mission to bring out the best within each individual, helping people to focus on the good.

Email to make an appointment

Rev. John Carrick Rev. John Carrick (Anglican)

Come and chat about anything – I’ll help in whatever way I can. There’s a sign on our office stating: ‘Chaplain at work – please disturb’, so please do!

Available Wednesdays – email to make an appointment

Imam Riad Galil Imam Riad Galil (Muslim)

I’ve got a background in science and industrial chemistry, and have worked in both secondary and tertiary institutions for over 20 years.

Email to make an appointment

Daniella LiDaniella Li (Evangelical)

I became a Christian in first-year uni, so I understand the student journey. I can speak Cantonese, Mandarin and English. I love listening to your stories – both study and work.

Available Tuesdays – email to make an appointment

Fr Cameron Smith Fr Cameron Smith (Catholic)

Studying at university is a challenging yet exciting undertaking, and I’m here to support students to grow through these challenges and find what they are looking for.

Available Wednesdays – email to make an appointment

Moe Stiles Moe Stiles (Seventh-day Adventist)

I am driven by justice, advocacy work, community connectedness, authentic living and building leaders, and passionately yearn to see the person of Jesus truly honoured in the way we live and love each other.

Available Mondays – call Moe on 0477 407 890 to make an appointment


Piyasilo BhikkuPiyasilo Bhikku (Buddhist Forest Monk)

I want to help remove barriers to social and spiritual participation, especially for women; transgender, non-binary and gender-diverse people; those who are same-sex attracted, have a disability or are from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Available Wednesdays – email to make an appointment

Fr Daryl Montecillo Fr Daryl Montecillo (Catholic)

Born in the Philippines, I grew up in Melbourne and completed studies in nursing before becoming a priest. For Catholics looking for spiritual or sacramental support, or anyone simply happy to have a chat, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Available Thursdays – email to make an appointment


Warrnambool Chaplain Geoff RussellGeoff Russell (Baptist)

I’m the sole chaplain at the Warrnambool Campus and an Associate Pastor at the Warrnambool and District Baptist Church. Married since 1974, I have three children and seven grandchildren. I’m a retired professional electrical engineer. I’m here to help you – please contact me to talk about any issue or concern you may have.

Email to make an appointment.

Other ways to look after your spiritual wellbeing

The word ‘spirituality’ can mean different things to different people – for some, it may define their relationship with their personal God or deity. For others, it may be how they connect with the natural realm, find peace and purpose, or make sense of the world around them.

If you’re interested in exploring your spiritual side at Deakin, the following services are a good place to start:

On-campus prayer rooms

Each campus has prayer rooms with extended opening hours where you can worship, retreat or just spend time alone. They’re a quiet and peaceful environment where anyone is welcome to take time for personal reflection – regardless of your beliefs.

Clubs and associations

DUSA’s many student clubs and societies include a range of spirituality and religious groups, so check out what’s on offer – or start your own! You’re sure to meet some like-minded friends this way.

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