Category Archives: Student contributors

Blogs written by UC students.

Building awareness around food waste

Jack Whittam

ELDP students Jack Whittam, Katy Byrne and Ailine Kei.

12,856 tonnes. It’s not only the weight of the Eiffel Tower, or even the amount of weight you feel like you’ve put on since the Hot Wok started doing daily $2 rice, it’s also the amount of bread thrown away every year in New Zealand!

In fact, bread is the number one food thrown away in New Zealand, making up 10.5% of all food that is wasted. As a part of a national food waste awareness campaign, in conjunction with Love Food Hate Waste New Zealand and Christchurch City Council, a bunch of keen UC students built a pyramid out of 2,283 loaves of bread, representing how many loaves are wasted in New Zealand every hour.

As members of the Emerging Leaders Development Programme (ELDP), a group of us were able to volunteer at the event, preparing the pyramid for construction and feeding curious students passing by with a ‘meal in a mug’ – a super simple sweet treat that minimises food waste, and maximises easy cooking, convenience and taste!

The ELDP has a great focus on teaching leadership skills to students through community volunteering opportunities, and our contribution to this event punctuated the last of seven service projects the Emerging Leaders cohort has undertaken this year.

Other voluntary service projects have included sorting food relief packages at the Christchurch City Mission, walking rescue husky dogs for Husky Rescue New Zealand, maintaining public spaces for Gap Filler and providing free academic tutoring to high school students.

The student’s enthusiastic contribution toward these events reflects the passion these students have shown to make a real difference in their community.

Written by Jack Whittam ELDP student

Using social enterprise to benefit community wellbeing

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week Brittany Stewart, Logan Williams and Timothy Mills debunk some of the myths about social enterprises they learnt while taking part in the Kathmandu New Zealand Student Social Enterprise Challenge. The theme of the challenge was wellbeing and as the team discovered, generating social benefit can be quite challenging.

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Recently, I had the opportunity to compete in the Kathmandu New Zealand Student Social Enterprise Challenge at UC. We had just 48 hours to create and develop a social enterprise with the goal to provide improved mental health and wellbeing to our communities.

Our team developed Shirt off my back, a social enterprise which aimed to improve the wellbeing of kiwi kids in low decile schools by providing them with essential clothing they may not have with the aim of improving the quality of their day-to-day-life and their engagement at school.

Going into the challenge I thought I understood what it meant to create a viable social enterprise, but I was wrong. There are many misconceptions to social enterprises which often prevent people from undertaking the challenge of starting one up. I plan to set these misconceptions straight to prove why social enterprises are becoming more important than ever to help our communities.

  1. “Social enterprises are just about being environmentally friendly”

Social enterprises are well-known for their environmentally friendly products. However, there are many social enterprises which aim to have a social impact, where they want to create businesses which give back to communities, like Shirt off my back.

  1. “Social enterprises do not make any money”

During the challenge, the most difficult part of creating our social enterprise was figuring out how to make money! However, many social enterprises are very profitable. Shirt off my back uses a one-for-one model. For every item of clothing a consumer buys at one of our retail partners, the retailer will give an item of clothing to Shirt off my back to distribute to kids that need them most.  The aim of a social enterprise is to deliver benefits by using their revenues to finance activities that generate social benefit.

Social enterprises have the potential to address issues in our communities in a self-sustaining way. Social enterprises provide the opportunity for people to improve their communities in a way that neither capitalism nor charity has yet been able to match.

If you want to find out more about social enterprise in New Zealand check out:

48 hours of social enterprise

I was lucky enough to be a part of the UCE Kathmandu New Zealand Social Enterprise Challenge this week, hosted by the UC Centre of Entrepreneurship (UCE). Coming into the competition, I had very little knowledge of social enterprise and the role businesses having an impact play in our world today.

In August we competed regionally against UC and Ara teams, and after winning the Canterbury Regionals we went through to the National Challenge. The National Challenge started on Sunday, where we came up against teams from Wellington, Auckland and Dunedin. We had 48 hours to develop a social enterprise with a focus on Wellbeing.

Social Enterprise

We met on Sunday afternoon for a briefing from the UCE team and to meet the other teams – let the challenge begin! We started our brainstorming and ideating to come up with a solution to the wellbeing challenge that had real social impact, and also dove into our Kathmandu goodie bags!

Monday was a full-on day with two mentoring sessions, idea development and pitch practice. It was great to get feedback on our ideas from other people, which led to multiple changes for each team. Tuesday consisted of finalising our enterprise ideas and getting ready for final pitches. The finale of the challenge was held in the Engineering Core foyer, where we pitched our idea to a panel of five industry judges, as well as our peers, mentors and other guests. It was really valuable to be able to bounce ideas off each other as a group and mini-community.

After a pretty hectic 48 hours, it was awesome to be able to attend the Social Enterprise World Forum from Wednesday to Friday. This was part of our prize for winning the Regional Challenge. The Forum has been an amazing opportunity to be in the presence of some of the most innovative minds in the social enterprise space.

Overall, it was a hectic but awesome week. I would definitely recommend getting involved with the UCE and what is on offer.

Written by Tim Mills