New opportunities for students to engage with the community

According to the University of Canterbury’s Associate Professor Billy O’Steen, there is 30 years of research to suggest that there are vast benefits for students when engaging with the community during their academic studies. These benefits include learning more about yourself, achieving better grades, being better prepared for professional life, and having a higher chance of getting a job and succeeding at that job.

In recognition of this, the University of Canterbury has established a new Community Engagement Hub – inspired by the actions of the Student Volunteer Army after the earthquakes – to facilitate community engagement ventures for all students – and staff too. To read more about how the Hub was established click here.

Dr O’Steen, who is the Hub Director, says that he considers any external entity to be a community – including businesses, non-profit organisations and even individuals. Therefore, any volunteer project that you may get involved with could be supported by the Community Engagement Hub.

Billy Blog Image

Serving as the shop-front for the initiative is an old shed (pictured above) that was salvaged from the Christchurch Red Zone. The shed will be refurbished into a mobile office and meeting space for students and staff which will be at various locations around the CBD in an effort to connect the University campus with community projects. There are also plans for the mobile office to be re-painted, along with five other salvaged sheds, to feature as part of an art project by local artist Billy Wilson.

Dr O’Steen says that the Hub expects to draw more students – domestic and international – to the University of Canterbury because of our incredible community engagement opportunities. In particular, the course CHCH101: Rebuilding Christchurch – an introduction to community engagement in tertiary studies has attracted over 700 students so far. Through this course students have helped build community gardens, painted murals, collected data for the Christchurch City Council, built structures, and worked with early childhood centres and schools.

So if you want to enhance your tertiary experience and gain invaluable skills, you might want to consider volunteering for a community project. You could start by enrolling in CHCH101 next semester, or joining the Student Volunteer Army. Get involved!

Campus Security launches initiatives to enhance UC’s safe environment

Here at the University of Canterbury our Security team have always done a brilliant job of ensuring everyone on campus feels safe. They operate 24/7 to monitor the safety of students and staff at all times – which is especially important for those of us who like to study throughout the night. During my time as a student I would often be studying on campus until late, but I felt comfortable knowing that security officers were available to assist me – even just escort me to my car.

Campus Security are constantly thinking of ways to improve their services and our safety – this has led to some new things around campus like the emergency help points, as well as the Security Officers’ zippy little Segway to help them get around campus faster.

This year campus security is launching two new initiatives to further enhance the safety of our campus. The first is an app that has been made free for students and staff called Shadow Me. When out and about – say you’re walking home at night – you can enter in your departure location and intended arrival location and enter an estimated time for arrival. The app will alert you at that time and ask you to confirm that you have arrived safely. If you don’t respond after two alerts the app will notify head office to call your pre-registered emergency contact. You can collect a registration code from the Security Office and there are also a limited number available from the UC Students’ Association office.

Another new initiative is UC Guardians. Guardians are students that patrol the campus and are available to offer assistance if needed – it’s a peer support scheme where students look after students. The Guardians volunteer their time – about four hours a fortnight – and are first aid and security trained, although no physical intervention is required. If you’re interested in becoming a Guardian you can pick up an application form from Security.

For more information about the new schemes watch this video with the manager of Campus Security, see the Security website or visit the Security Office located at 114 Ilam Road.

Law Recruitment Evening


Be sure to come along to the Law Recruitment Evening on 5 March and find out more about where you degree can take you! You will be able to talk to a number of employers on the night and see what they have to offer.

Careers fairs and employment events can help you find out about student or graduate employment in your area of interest. The fairs and employment events are for students in all years of study.