In 2014, he was presented with an award for Courage and Commitment to Social Justice and Human Rights at the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards.
He founded World, Humanity, You (WHY) – 1990 to 1993.
In 2004, he founded Students Without Borders firstly at Murdoch University. During its time, Students Without Borders developed into the largest student volunteer organisation in the nation, with scores of community programs with social reach far and wide. Students Without Borders was recognised with numerous awards for student development outreach and community programs by the Australasian Campus Unions Managers Association (ACUMA). Students Without Borders was recognised at the 2008 Western Australian Department of Community Services Awards. Students Without Borders was a finalist in three of the eight categories, winning two of the categories.
As part of Students Without Borders, Georgatos established the Western Australia wide 8Ball recycling program, which during its time would become the largest recycler of computers in the nation. Gerry Georgatos while at Murdoch University became aware of a huge unmet need of students, particularly mature age students who were without computers. He also realised that a significant proportion were computer illiterate. So he drove the recycling program to meet the need. In addition he developed computer literacy programs. From 2004 to 2010, 55,000 refurbished computers were donated. Nearly 5,000 were donated to schools and communities in developing nations.
Gerry Georgatos who sat on the University’s Academic Council and Senate (Board) organised for student transcript merits for students who refurbished computers for the 8Ball program and also for students who volunteered and made significant contributions to Student Without Borders programs. Students Without Borders also included volunteers from the wider community.
“To the spirit of this organisation notions of social justice, community solidarity and activism are fundamental. Students Without Borders is the idea that education should be much more than what we learn in the class room, and much more than getting a piece of paper. It is about what we can learn from engaging with the world around us, and what we can give back to that world. Students Without Borders is about volunteerism and helping to make the world a better place,”
– Claire Middlemas, 2008 Murdoch Guild President.
Gerry Georgatos was a former Education Vice President and Guild President of Murdoch University. He was the General Manager of the Murdoch University Student Guild from mid-2006 to Christmas 2009. Gerry Georgatos was appointed manager at the time student unions were entering Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU). However under his management he guided the Guild from a key financial concern to stability and saved jobs while at the same time improving working conditions and remuneration for his colleagues.
He was popular at Murdoch University but was often a polarising individual at the campus particularly during his time on the University Senate. “We were not put on this earth to misspend our days, what must be said should be said, what must be done should be strived for,” Gerry Georgatos.
He sat on the University’s peak academic planning body, Academic Council for 5 years to 2010 and for three years on the Senate (Board of Directors) to end 2009. His focus was access to education for the disadvantaged, student retention, student hardship relief and community development.
With Paddy Cullen, an OXFAM WA manager, they developed the Social Justice Centre at Murdoch University.
“I have a lot of students who email me every week saying they want to get involved … in making a difference, but they don’t know how. This centre is a great opportunity for local organisations to come together and to provide information on the work that they do, the issues that are facing the world at the moment, and how we can get involved as students.”
- Vicky Edwards, Former SWB Administrator.
“Gerry has been an incredible force for positive change making a huge difference to student life at Murdoch and to thousands of people around the globe that have benefited through the work of Students Without Borders. Gerry has managed to make the plight of the world’s poor a major issue on campus, provided a means where students can make a contribution to a more equitable world through practical aid and through activism. Through the development of a Social Justice centre, Gerry is creating a lasting legacy and a bridge between the academic, political and practical justice which is a fantastic example to all other universities in Australia and around the world. Nelson Mandela said that ‘Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.” Gerry has helped make those words a reality at Murdoch.”
– Paddy Cullen, OXFAM.
Before departing Murdoch University, under Gerry Georgatos’ management he took sport and community development to new levels at the university (three campuses). He developed inter-social, inter-campus and inter-faculty sport. By the time he left Murdoch University ten per cent of the university’s students were involved in a sport. He re-introduced to the University sporting pennants. He increased the University’s intervarsity representation from its record of 15 students to 35 under his first year of management of the Guild which was responsible for sport and recreation. In the following years the intervarsity representation continued to increase,71 and then to 130 and in his last year to 201.
His proudest accomplishment was the increasing number of former prison inmates and homeless he was able to encourage into university and other various educational opportunities. Gerry Georgatos was a regular visitor to prisons where he spoke of the practical need for education and inspired many into education. He assisted many individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds through alternative pathways programs into education; changing lives. He assisted in their retention; developing and implementing substantive support programs. Gerry Georgatos developed student tutoring programs. Students who had achieved no less than a Distinction average in a recent unit of study were eligible to tutor new students. The student tutors were rewarded with merit mentions on their academic transcripts.
“There are few greater accomplishments I have enjoyed than in helping homeless individuals and former prison inmates into education, into accommodation, into jobs. The streets is a damaging experience, with sexual predation and various violence the reality of homelessness, With prison, from my experience in assisting people pre- and post-release it is my view that in general people come out of prison worse than when they went in,” Gerry Georgatos.