A good sport: From the football field to the Alumni Council

8 May 2023
The joy of volunteering
Mathew Demetriou is so passionate about volunteering he founded his own mentoring organisation before becoming an Alumni Council member. He believes giving his time to help others enriches his own life as much as it does the organisations he supports.
Mathew Demetriou standing in front of the Law School in a suit, smiling.

Mathew is passionate about education and believes volunteering is an important way to give back to the University of Sydney community.

Some of Mathew Demetriou’s (BA ’06) fondest memories of his time at the University of Sydney are of playing football with the Sydney University Soccer Football Club (SUFSC), but his connection goes much deeper than that. 

“My father is also a USYD alumnus, and my daughter was born at RPA Hospital”, he says. 

“Coincidentally, that room just so happened to be overlooking the famous Oval 1 on campus where I had many great memories playing football for the University. I have a special and spiritual connection to the place.”

Now a General Manager for global technology company Experian, Mathew joined the Alumni Council six years ago and was recently appointed as Deputy President. But his volunteer involvement began much earlier than that. He served as a Board member for SUSFC, and he co-founded the Quills and Boots Association (QBA), a sporting alumni group which connects students and professionals.  

“We started a formal mentoring program connecting graduating students with experienced industry professionals to help prepare their transition from university into the workforce.”

It was such a rewarding experience, Mathew jumped at the chance to join the Council. 

Mathew Demetriou in front of the Quad staring down at the camera holding his graduation photo, which was taken in a similar position.

Mathew has been proud of the changes he has seen in the Alumni Council's makeup over his 6-year tenure.

“Volunteering and mentoring are both great ways to give back in a small but meaningful way. Both my parents were active volunteers in the community so it’s in the blood. Volunteering has been such a rewarding and fulfilling experience for me. People often say it provides just as much value to you as the volunteer as to the organisation you’re supporting, and I completely agree with that.”

Kate May, Director of Alumni and Supporter Experience, says the impact that volunteers have on the running of our programs is invaluable, emphasising that the skills and experience that they bring to their roles is what makes the programs so successful. 

"Time is a precious commodity in this day and age, and giving expertise is incredibly valuable to the recipients. We are so grateful for the investment of our alumni in the lives of the students and community."

The Alumni and Supporter Experience Team work closely with the Alumni Council to ensure that the connection between the University and its more than 430,000 alumni remains strong. In his six-year tenure on the Council, Mathew has seen it evolve significantly to become more active in its involvement in advocacy, industry and community engagement. 

Mathew Demetriou standing the entryway to the Quad in a grey University of Sydney hoodie.

The diversity of the University of Sydney's 430,000-strong alumni community has meant that Mathew has had the opportunity to work with a wide range of people.

“The calibre of the Council members has always been high, but the cohort in more recent times is the most diverse I’ve had the pleasure to work with. Our members represent a broad cross-section of industries and disciplines as well as a variety of experiences, perspectives, genders, cultures, and ethnicities. 

“This allows for deep insight from broad multi-disciplinary perspectives which helps stimulate interesting and robust discussion on various topics, and in my opinion our diverse team composition is the gold standard for any Executive or Advisory Council.”

Mathew is passionate about education and enjoys having a front row seat to the transformational impact the university continues to have on its students. 

 “The benefits of universities are far-reaching across many sectors. The University of Sydney is so diverse that there is something for everyone and volunteering is a great way to give back. I’ve been fortunate to have met some amazing and interesting people across a wide range of industries and disciplines which has expanded my horizons and provided an opportunity for me to pay it forward and stay connected to the University community. “ 

Enjoyed reading Mathew’s story and want to get involved? Visit our Volunteer with us page to find out more about our volunteering opportunities.