Category Archives: Student contributors

Blogs written by UC students.

Will you Serve for New Zealand?

Give an hour of your time to the local community on or before ANZAC Day through the Serve for New Zealand campaign. The campaign helps to further share the ideas of the RSA and Student Volunteer Army (SVA).

ServeForNZ_Logo_2017-01-1Serve for New Zealand was created as a gift to the RSA to commemorate their 100th birthday and as a way for Kiwis to celebrate the legacy of service. Serve for New Zealand: Anzac Day was run as a pilot project in 2016 and the inaugural event saw over 6,600 hours pledged.

Serve for New Zealand: Anzac Day is designed to encourage Kiwis to offer an hour of their time in their local communities on a day of national significance. Serve for New Zealand: Anzac Day 2017 aims to be even bigger and better, to create the greatest volunteering impact we can across the country.

Help create the greatest movement possible
You may be working on a current project you’ve organised, or why not create a new project and pledge to Serve for New Zealand Anzac Day. Think about what groups need help in your community – the local school, childcare centre, Plunket, the local park, etc. and go from there.

Encourage your volunteers to show they’ve supported you AND Serve for New Zealand, by pledging their time on the website.

If organising a project sounds too hard,  simply go to the website and pledge an hour of your time to an already listed project – it’s that easy.

Serve4NZfacebook-coverTo learn more visit the website: or email hello@servefor.nz and like the Facebook page.

Serve for New Zealand: Anzac Day 2017 is a partnership between The UC Student Volunteer Army (SVA), the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association Inc. (RSA) and the University of Canterbury (UC) and is kindly supported by SEEK Volunteer.

Spotlight on internships

Tia Stanley, third year Bachelor of Health Sciences student, discusses her internship organising the Connect 2017 community engagement event in conjunction with the Christchurch City Council and the Riccarton Police.

I had the privilege of helping to organise Connect 2017 which was held at Harrington Park on Sunday 5 March from 12:30 to 3:30pm. Connect 2017 was a community event that aimed to connect new university students and long standing permanent residents and families living in the West-Riccarton community. The idea of it was to have a fun day out with lots of games and activities to encourage people to meet and introduce themselves to their neighbours and ideally reduce crime rates in the area and encourage people to be more proactive about taking care of the environment. The hope is that it will encourage community residents to take pride in their community, and keep it tidy and vandalism free as well as aiming to reduce overall crime rates within the area.

Connect photo

Organising Connect 2017 was part of an internship for one of my Health Education papers as part of my Health Sciences degree. I put in approximately 85 hours of work in order to make this event happen. I was offered this opportunity in November 2016 so it has been months of planning and organising everything to ensure that the event would run smoothly and be appealing to the wide target audience.

Ultimately, I have loved having this opportunity to be a part of such an awesome experience. From what I saw on the day, people of many different ages were out there getting involved, and having fun. The university students who participated in the flat vs. flat competition were grateful with the prizes they walked away with and I overheard a few of them saying that they hoped it would be on again next year. It was really awesome to see members of the community helping out wherever they could and talking to the uni students. The whole day had a great vibe to it and it was very rewarding to see everyone having a good time and enjoying themselves.

Mentoring to meet different people

The mentoring programme is a really great way to meet different people to help ease your transition into the University of Canterbury. A mentor can be whoever you want them to be. Whether you’re looking for support finding your feet around uni life, or simply want to meet other people from another year, degree or country with some common interests, the mentoring programme is a fantastic channel. Right now the university has around 140 friendly mentors on their list – there will no doubt be one for you! It’s not just for first years – you can sign up any time.

I’ve been a mentor since my second year, and the dynamics are always different. Sometimes I have domestic students that just want a friendly face until they find their feet. Sometimes I have international students who want to hear from a local kiwi about all the opportunities they could get up to while at UC or to find out more about the differences in academic system here. Sometimes I end up with someone in my class! That particular mentee was from Japan and we soon became friends, studying & socialising together until her exchange in New Zealand ended.

Back in 2014, I was matched with someone starting her second year of her PhD in Linguistics – the subject which I ended up majoring in. We’d meet for coffee a couple of times a semester and email about how things were going. She began to invite me to linguistic related social events and introduce me to plenty of staff and PhD students in the academic circles I wanted to join right from first year. 3 years on, we’ve both finished our degrees but we still keep in touch and have mutual friends – I even work part time as a consultant for an ESOL (English as a Second Language) learning company on her recommendation.

At the end of the day, mentors are just like you, only a step ahead in their university experience ….they know what it’s like starting a new university, they know what it’s like when the pressure ramps up, and they’ll support you as long as you need it! Sign up to get a mentor or become a mentor.

Written by Vicky Watson, Postgraduate Student.