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Your Student Services Levy – working for you

Some of you have been asking about how the Student Services Levy is being used during lockdown, given that some services funded by the Levy are not currently available in the usual way.

Demand for support remains, in fact in many areas we are seeing higher demand for support. While we are currently operating in an online world, we also want to ensure we have the right people and services available to you when we are back on campus. See below for a run-down of services funded by the Levy and how to access services during Term 2.

UC Health Centre – The UC Health Centre is open online, and virtual consultations and prescriptions are available. Two of our GPs have made a video talking about how students can take care of themselves during lockdown.

Counselling – Appointments with the UC Health Centre counsellors have been set up to operate either via phone or Zoom, and can be booked via the Health Centre reception desk (+64 369 4444).

A range of resources have also been organised to support student wellbeing overall, including the UC Live Speaker Series with Spanky Moore on spiritual wellbeing, Julia Rucklidge on mental wellbeing, Tracy Clelland on whānau wellbeing, and Te Taha Tinana on physical wellbeing.  

UC RecCentre – The group fitness programme is being delivered online via Youtube , Facebook & twitch livestream, with over 10,000 participants so far and 25 classes offered per week. The timetable is available on the website and in-app fitness workouts will be posted in-app and online on the Youtube page. Skype consultations with Fitness Consultants are also available. Some RecCentre staff are also working with the Student Care team to support students.

UC Careers – UC Careers services are available online with an extensive range of interactive resources to assist with all aspects of career development learning, decision making, job hunting, applications, CV’s and interviews. Students can book an appointment online and choose to have these consultations via Zoom or phone. Alternatively, students can send an email with any questions using their UC email address. Additionally, seminars and workshops will be available online for Term 2. The UC Careers team is working closely with employers and industry to continue to secure employment opportunities for students and graduates and working towards hosting an online employer engagement event in May, in lieu of the STEM Careers Fair.

Student Care – The Student Care team is working to support students with appointments that can be booked either online or by email. This includes providing support to students who might be distressed, or those who simply need someone to talk to. In addition, Student Care and other UC staff have been making hundreds of phone calls to students to check in and see if there’s any extra support they need. As the home for international student support at UC, Student Care have also been working to provide support to international students.

Māori Student Support – Our UC Māori team is working from home and is available for appointments via phone or Zoom by making an appointment online. The team is getting in touch with our students to make sure they have everything they need to learn online and to check in and make sure they are feeling well during this rāhui. The team is still offering tutoring and ongoing support and guidance. 

Pasifika Student Support – The Pacific Development Team is working online to support students at UC from Pasifika backgrounds. This includes appointments via phone call or Zoom for pastoral support and help with any issues. The mentoring and PASS tutoring programmes are still available at this time online or via phone call. For more information contact

Financial difficulties – If you are experiencing financial difficulties that will impact on your studies, you may be eligible for financial support. Students requesting financial support can contact the UCSA Advocacy & Welfare team in the first instance to discuss their situation. The UCSA Advocacy & Welfare team will review your situation and provide advice on the application process. Please note that each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis and has criteria attached to them.

In response to COVID-19, the Food Support Service will be provided through e-vouchers rather than parcels. The Foodbank has also been revamped into a Foodbank Grant for the time being, which is easier to deliver during lockdown.

UCSA Dental Service – On 22 March, the Ministry of Health and the New Zealand Dental Council issued a joint statement requiring all elective dental services be suspended immediately. As a result, UCSA Dental closed on 23 March 2020 until further notice. For dental queries, please continue to contact UCSA Dental and we can provide advice.

Students who need financial assistance for private emergency dental treatments while the UCSA Dental clinic is closed can be funded/subsidised through our Hardship Grant, funded by UCSA Dental.

UCSA Clubs, Activities & Events – The  Events team is continuing to deliver virtual events, running a live streamed quiz on Tuesdays, virtual “Sketch’n’sip” classes on Wednesdays, live streamed MONO on Thursdays, live streamed music sets for “Tunes in the Avro” for Fridays and various competitions including: Pillow Forts; Graduation Photos; and Art Competitions. The team is also working on bringing a number of our term-time activations to the virtual space – look out for “Lunch in your Lounge” on the first week of term.

The Clubs team is available to help advise and guide clubs through this current climate. The team is supporting the promotion of club events on the combined event’s calendar and has also streamlined access to grant funds to help clubs in the current climate see here.

UCSA UC Sport – The Sports Grant Funds remain available, and we’re expecting a bigger uptake once we’re out of lockdown. The team remain committed to delivering the Blues Awards in some format, but it is too early to say what the impact will be on Blues.

Te Akatoki Te Akatoki remain to serve Māori students over this time with a particular focus on wellbeing and hardship.

UCSA Careers and Employment – The Student Job Search team is currently working from home and they have jobs available assisting essential services and working with employers who have remote roles available.

 UCSA Media & Comms – The Media & Comms team is delivering all their normal services – in fact social media and website activity has increased. As well as keeping the UCSA COVID-19 updates page up-to-date, they’re facilitating the UCSA Facebook live streams, working to bring all the regular updates, as well as entertaining and informative how to videos, wellbeing tips, advice for students and more. The CANTA team is operating almost as normal, except the next edition of CANTA will be delivered by PDF on social media and the website instead of physically printed. Keep an eye out for their COVID-19 series.

The Academic Skills Centre is here to help

The Academic Skills Centre has gone online! If you need help with an assignment or your thesis, managing your schedule, or improving your English, we’re still here for you — just in that “virtual” way we’re all getting used to.

By emailing, both undergrads and postgrads can book a distance appointment with one of our Learning Advisors and get the same kind of advice as always, either by Zoom or a phone call. And if you’re not familiar with our services, check out our website at to find out more about what’s on offer.

Kia kaha everyone! Stay strong — but be sure to reach out for help when you need it, too. We look forward to hearing from you.

UC contributes to fight against COVID-19

From the maths behind the lockdown, to a prototype face shield for health workers – UC staff and students are providing a range of important contributions in the fight against COVID-19.  

Below is a snapshot of just some of the incredible research and work our community is currently involved in. Tangata Tū, Tangata Ora – Engaged, Empowered, Making a Difference.


  • UC Law Professor John Hopkins is an expert in Disaster Law and advised the Select Committee, chaired by Simon Bridges on 2 April on the unique situation the level 4 lockdown in New Zealand has brought about. Read more here


  • Mathematicians Associate Professor Alex James and Professor Michael Plank from the College of Engineering, and UC BSc Hons graduate Nic Steyn are part of a research team that has been working on building SEIR-type models for COVID-19 for several weeks; one of several groups providing statistical modelling of the spread of COVID-19 for the government. Read the Spinoff article here, the Otago Daily Times interview with Professor Plank here, and a detailed summary of the team’s work here




  • College of Science psychology lecturers Associate Professor Gini McIntosh and Professor Julia Rucklidge who specialises in mental health and nutrition, gave a livestreamed talk as part of the Te Hāpai Ō | UC Live Speaker Series 2020, providing advice on how to staying on track during a time of uncertainty and stress. Find out more here


  • In a new article published on The Conversation, College of Business and Law academics Associate Professor Bernard Walker and Adjunct Fellow Tracy Hatton explore five principles leaders should follow if their role is to lead staff through the coronavirus crisis. The principles are based on research into previous disasters and offer guidance to leaders for the weeks ahead. Read the full article here


  • There are two projects relating to ventilators on the go in the College of Engineering:
  1. Shayne Gooch and other staff are collaborating with Professor Alexander Slocum from MIT to evolve a new design for a low-cost ventilator based on a Bag Valve Mask (BVM) type, which is commonly used to provide positive pressure ventilation in emergency care situations.
  2. Distinguished Professor Geoff Chase is working with his          former PhD student Dr Yeong Shiong Chiew (now based at Monash University, Malaysia) and his EU H2020 research consortia partner Dr Thomas Desaive (University of Liege, Belgium) along with their ICU partners at CHU de Liege, to develop a way to safely ventilate two patients on one ventilator. There is strong interest in ventilating multiple patients on a single ventilator due to the overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients – especially in areas like Italy and New York City. They have developed a low-cost, simple design that removes the risks associated with current proposals for ventilating multiple patients, and creates a safe, effective way to put two patients on a single ventilator. Professor Merryn Tawhai (University of Auckland and Director of the MedTech CoRE) has joined the team, which brings together world leaders in lung modelling and intensive care research, and has strong clinical links in Europe and locally with Christchurch Hospital Senior ICU Specialist and University of Otago School of Medicine Professor Geoff Shaw. They are now applying for funding to prototype and prove their ideas, translating them to low-cost, easily used hardware, and intend to share their design worldwide for everyone’s benefit.

We know there is a lot more great work like this happening at UC. If you’d like to share your work, email