Category Archives: Helping the community

Amazing people doing great things locally, nationally and internationally and opportunities for students to volunteer and get involved with community projects.

Volunteer, make a difference, feel the difference

Yes, volunteering is a selfless deed that is meant to make someone else better off; but it definitely has something in return for you. The returns are intangible but definitely lasting. That sense of direction, realisation or even inspiration gained is priceless and may steer your life down an entirely different path. This is exactly what happened to Anna Cusack, a Law student at UC who worked with families in Malawi earlier this year.

UC law student Anna Cusack in Malawi.
UC law student Anna Cusack in Malawi.

As one of five youth ambassadors for World Vision, Anna visited Malawi to attend the 40 hour famine annual fundraiser. This opportunity has left her with a sense of professional direction as she is seeking to carry out international aid and diplomacy work when she finishes her degree.

In her interview, she makes a thought provoking statement that “an awesome aspect to studying law at Canterbury is a real focus on giving back to the community. The law department is to make it compulsory to do a certain number of service hours helping in the community before completing a degree.”  Personally, I think this should be adopted by every department. In today’s world, where only the best survive, we often forget to help the ones lagging behind and in need and often forget to appreciate the simple things in life.

A university degree is meant to be holistic and making volunteering a requirement only enhances the intangible quality of the degree. The experiences, stories and reflections learnt and experienced only leave us as a better person. From personal experience, I can say that volunteering, especially for the things you care about, really does give you a sense of who you are and makes you realise what you stand for and where you come from. There’s just something about going out there and trying that gives you this sense of satisfaction and sudden can-do attitude and strength.

Start small, explore your options and find what you love. Trust me, it’s out there, you just need to be patient and open minded to find it .If you don’t know where to start or lack motivation and focus or are just looking for some support to get started, join one of the many volunteering clubs on campus. Some of the biggest and most well-known are of course the Student Volunteer Army, UC Red and 180 Degrees consulting for example. Here’s the link of the clubs on campus, if you’re keen to explore your options: http://ucsa.org.nz/clubs/

Volunteering not only enhances your personality and enriches your life, but also looks great on your C.V. So, get out of your shell, try new things, advocate what you stand for and get on with making a difference.

The University Community Gardens

If you have a green thumb a great way to help out the local community, is through the University’s Community Gardens.

UC Community Gardens
UC Community Gardens

Community gardens have a few important benefits:
1. You don’t need gardening experience to be involved as the hands on work will teach you as you go.
2. These gardens reinforce a sense of community, and allow people to connect with other individuals in their area.
3. They promote physical activity and a connection with the environment.
4. The gardens give people who are involved access to healthy organic fruits, vegetables and herbs. Mmm food…

What’s that you say? Enjoying the great outdoors, making new friends, and taking home healthy produce that you’ve grown yourself! Which you may or may not share with hungry flatmates…
It’s too good to be true. Ah but it isn’t, and anyone can become a volunteer! No wonder hippies are so happy!

There are two community gardens on the University campus needing your help. The first is Okeover Community Garden, located via the path leading from Engineering Rd, beside Okeover Stream. And don’t worry Dovedale, we didn’t forget about you guys this time! There is also a Community Garden on the Dovedale Campus via the road from Solway Avenue.

Check them out! http://www.sustain.canterbury.ac.nz/comm_garden/

Student Volunteer Army work in Ilam and Riccarton

In May 2014 the University of Canterbury’s Student Volunteer Army (SVA) worked together with law firm, Duncan Cotterill to help out in the local Christchurch community. This year the SVA will focus on the area around Ilam and Riccarton to forge a positive relationship between the students and the local residents.  Duties carried out by the volunteers included gardening, baking, cleaning graffiti and other general maintenance.  Currently the SVA, which is a club on campus, has over 1300 members. Further community projects are planned for the remainder of the year and anyone can join! Sign up here…

UC Student Volunteer Army helping the community.
UC Student Volunteer Army helping the community.