Tag Archives: Emerging Leaders

Acts in the light of recent events

On behalf of the Emerging Leaders Development Programme (ELDP), I would like to provide some thoughts in the light of Friday’s events.

This event was designed to cause fear and a sense of hopelessness. Instead, we have seen acts by individuals, groups, communities and organisations, using what they have, to provide comfort, support and help to our Muslim Community.

It’s times like these that I am proud to be surrounded by such willingness to rise to compassion, kindness and to generosity, Not only in Ōtautahi Christchurch, but across Aotearoa New Zealand, around the word and, within our UC community.

Where many of us could have sat back overwhelmed by it all, we have instead seen the greatness of humanity within our community.

We have seen the Student Volunteer Army’s ethos and activation come to the forefront. Volunteers standing on the corners of our streets which made us feel safe and welcomed, and transportation provided for those who do not feel comfortable going alone.

We saw our UC community band together to support each other whilst coming to terms with the events of Friday 15March.

We saw our Muslim Students’ Association supporting the whole community, providing words of comfort, words of peace, words which also held immense grief. We saw our UCSA President address each individual student and staff with words that brought comfort, but also challenged.

“Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui 
Be strong, be steadfast, be willing.”

Here at UC we have seen students reflecting on what they can give.

ELDP students Max and Louie and their fellow Rochester & Rutherford residents Harry and Oliver were inspired by this this willingness to rise above hatred and portray love.

The four created a fundraising t-shirt that went on sale last week. All proceeds from the purchase of the ‘‘We are one’ t-shirts go directly to St John Emergency Services.  

This is just one of the many initiatives we have seen over recent days.

The love, compassion and courage shown by our Prime Minister and how she has stood with those who have been affected, has challenged us to express support, empathy and strength. Ultimately showing us what the role of a true leader is.

Such leadership in the wake of the events of 15 March have spurred a lot of conversation around bystander intervention and how important it is for people to speak up when they see or hear something wrong. These conversations are necessary to shift prejudice attitudes, beliefs and to ensure the inclusiveness of everyone on our campus and city.

Last week an ELDP student was telling me how she had been finding her first year at UC. She spoke of the aroha, inclusiveness and warmth that she felt here.

Reflective of Friday’s events and the importance of ‘calling out’ when someone offends, she told me how she this week confronted The Edge radio station for an inappropriate comments made by one of the presenters, about the community she is a part of, the ‘Little People of New Zealand.’

She was then enabled to go on air, educate them on the proper terminology, and to make a stance. 

“Offensive comments have never been okay, and will never be okay,” she explained.

This is an example to all of us, of the capability we have to speak up when we hear something that is not right. Therefore, my challenge to you is to be the person that speaks out.

Be the person that advocates for inclusiveness, kindness, and compassion in a world that sometimes feels the opposite.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Martin Luther King

I think the message I take away from this quote is, that your words and actions can either destroy or bring life, so choose life. Your words can either bring darkness or provide light, so choose light. Your words can either bring hate or show love, so chose love.

Beth Walters
Emerging Leaders Development Programme

Could you go Two Weeks Without?

Two Weeks Without
Rachael Gresson and Bridget Williams

University of Canterbury student Bridget Williams and recent graduate Rachael Gresson have come up with a new initiative that encourages people and businesses to support local charities in a unique way.

These two lovely ladies are really passionate about helping the community. With their different backgrounds in student and community support – Bridget was president of the Student Volunteer Army for two years, and Rachael was on the UCSA exec – they are the perfect candidates to encourage others to connect local people with local issues.

So Two Weeks Without is a social enterprise that facilitates challenges for individuals and businesses, who choose to go without something for two weeks. The element of choice as well as the scope for creativity and flexibility makes this fundraising initiative unique. Challenges can be done anytime and anyplace, and therefore can be designed to suit any lifestyle or business model. Businesses can either do a challenge together or do departmental challenges for a bit of healthy office competition. Two Weeks Without offers a mutually beneficial arrangement as it’s a fun team-bonding exercise that will generate great PR for the business, as well as support a worthy local cause.

Rachael and Bridget first took their idea for Two Weeks Without to Akina Foundation’s Launchpad programme for growing social enterprises, making it to the semi-finals. Feeling encouraged and inspired, the ladies then approached the UC Innovators programme, which awarded them a scholarship and a place in their Summer Start-Up Programme for young entrepreneurs. With the help of these programmes, Bridget and Rachael have now successfully launched the enterprise, which has been running for about 10 weeks.

To test the Two Weeks Without model, Bridget recently went two weeks without shoes to raise money for Help for the Homeless and Rachael went two weeks without make-up to raise money for Husky Rescue. Each of their challenges were quite successful for first attempts – raising around $200 each for their charities.

Bridget and Rachael have also organised a large challenge to replicate and test business participation. 100 UC students from the Emerging Leaders Development Programme will be challenging each other in 10 teams of 10 from Feb 27 to March 13 – each with a unique sacrifice. Although the final decisions haven’t been made, Bridget said some of the ideas so far include not looking in the mirror, no coffee, no sugar, no cell phone, no bed, no hot water and no walking – instead having to hop, skip or jump. Each team will choose either Husky Rescue, Help for the Homeless, or the White Elephant Trust to donate their funds to. See this page from the Two Weeks Without website for more info about these charities and why they were chosen.

I think Rachael and Bridget have come up with a really fun way to engage people with local charities and community issues. It would be so fun to do a challenge together as a flat or study group, and even more fun to challenge each other to see who can raise the most with their crazy sacrifice!

To see my full interview with Rachael and Bridget, click here.

Top student in NCEA chemistry chose engineering at UC

Marlborough Boys’ College 2014 dux Piers Landon-Lane has achieved the top result in NCEA chemistry. With $15,000 in scholarships, Landon-Lane has chosen to study engineering at the University of Canterbury.

Landon-Lane, 18, received the top mark in the scholarship chemistry exam, with a superb score of 35 out of 40. He also scored scholarships in physics, calculus and statistics. For each of these subjects Landon-Lane achieved a result in the top three per cent, as well as being in the top 0.3 per cent with his ‘outstanding’ results in chemistry and physics.

The top achiever also received a University of Canterbury Emerging Leaders scholarship, arriving in Christchurch on February 14 to take part in the Emerging Leaders Development Programme retreat. Landon-Lane has settled into Rochester and Rutherford Hall, saying “it’s very good, the facilities are great and it’s a lot of fun.”

Landon-Lane chose to study a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) rather than a Bachelor of Science, saying “engineering is the course that will satisfy me the most and is where I’ll have the opportunity to have the greatest effect.” He decided to pursue engineering at the University of Canterbury as it’s close to home in Marlborough, and has the best reputation for engineering in New Zealand.

Landon-Lane is very happy with his scholarship gains, saying it will ease a lot of the financial burden of university costs. He also says he is happy to be recognised for his hard work – which he certainly has been, with this feature in The Press.

The new university student is not only excited to start his engineering courses next week, but is also excited for the big events during Orientation Week. He says he has already been to the Foundry opening and the outdoor movie, and has purchased tickets to ‘The Big 4’ events – Colour my Toga, Under the Big Top, Mardi Gras and Summerstein.

To purchase tickets to the events for Orientation Week, visit the Dash Tickets website.

To see the full interview with Landon-Lane, click here.