Tag Archives: Student involvement

Looking for students to get involved with PARK(ing) day!

Photo credit Freya SatherleyWe are UC students Anna, Monica and Serena and we are involved    with Gap Filler’s PARK(ing) day project.

On the 16th of September (10am – 2 pm) we will be taking over some parking spaces in the Foundry carpark at the University of Canterbury and transforming them into fun, innovative spaces for UC students to enjoy. We are keen to get the student community involved with this event, whether you create your own space or simply come along to see the spaces we create. We are doing this project through our Management course MGMT208 which involves service learning, this means that we apply theory learnt in class to carry out our practical community based project.

PARK(ing) day

Parking day photo credit Freya SatherleyPARK(ing) Day is an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks. We are working with the Christchurch-based community organisation Gap Filler to do this project. With PARK(ing) day Gap Filler aims to promote awareness about the way public spaces are used and bring the community together. Gap Filler came about after the Christchurch earthquakes with the purpose to regenerate the city and allow people in the community to have a voice.

PARK(ing) day was invented by the Rebar group in 2005 where they converted a metered parking spot into a temporary public space in San Francisco. The Rebar group sets out to imagine opportunities to redefine and re-imagine the world around us and our relationships with our fellow human beings. Our project involves participating with other organisations involved in the international (PARK)ing day event.

Getting students involved!

We are hoping that this project will get students to think about becoming involved in the community and the use of public spaces in Christchurch. We are excited to be creating a fun event for people to enjoy, whilst also raising awareness about Gap Filler and all the great work they do in the community. We are keen to get students involved with this event, through creating their own spaces at the University Campus or elsewhere in Christchurch, or by simply coming along to see the spaces we create.

If you are interested in getting involved or have some superb ideas please contact us for more information and assistance. Email us at akm98@uclive.ac.nz. Parking day 2 photo credit Freya SatherleyMore information

Check out the Park(ing) Day Christchurch Facebook page for more details as well as the PARK(ing) day rules and regulations. OPSOC will also be joining us in creating a fun public space for you to enjoy. We would love to see you at Park(ing) Day on Friday the 16th of September between 10am-2pm at the Foundry Carpark.

Photos by Freya Satherley



What’s it like to own an e-car (and drive it to uni)?

Dorien Coray regularly drives an e-car to car to campus. She has recently completed her PhD in genetics at UC, plus she lectures and conducts research for the School of Biological Sciences. She shares the car with her partner Jasper Mackenzie (also a postgraduate student from UC), who converted the 1989 Suzuki Alto from using petrol to electricity. We asked Dorian and Jasper about what it was like to own an e-car.

Why do you drive an electric car? Because it makes us cool! They are the future – the inevitable and immediate future. And it is a technical challenge.

Who built it? David Newman did the original conversion and certification. We got the car from him and did quite a few modifications. We added a new battery pack, developed a charging system, and changed the engine to a gear box coupling system. One of the challenges was the need for custom designed parts and doing it on a budget.

What are the environmental benefits of electric cars?  Obviously you don’t use as much non-renewable resources. New Zealand’s high level of renewable (low carbon) electricity (over 70%) is an ideal match with e-cars, most of NZ’s energy comes from hydro. As the price of solar goes down it is also more feasible to charge the car off your own roof, closing the energy loop.

What’s it like driving your e-car? We like that so many people want to talk to you about it. It is covered in stickers, which is a bit tacky looking, but it’s a great conversation starter. It is small and pretty fast and fun to drive. On the other hand, it doesn’t have proper heating and only goes about 45 kms before needing recharging. Living in New Brighton means you have to be a bit strategic when you go into town. Commercial models are not so limited. Tesla models have an official range of over 400 kms. Our wee one costs less than $2 to charge. Charging an e-car is currently the equivalent of being able to buy petrol at about 26 cents per litre.

What sort of facilities would you need to charge an electric car on campus? Just a 10 amp socket, though a 16 amp socket would better. I built my own charger and it works in standard plugs. Many commercial cars will require a 16 amp outlet.

Would you buy a new electric car? Yes, absolutely! With car manufacturers like VW saying that it will be cheaper to build electric in a few years and Tesla really pushing the market, it is only a matter of time. The infrastructure changes necessary aren’t that great. More charging stations would go a long way as not all e-cars will be premium models that can go 400 kms.

As the performance and range of e-cars available improve and oil prices increase on a sustained basis, it may only be just a matter of time before we see more and more electric cars on our roads. As UC’s campus changes and grows over the next few years, now is the time to consider how e-cars can be integrated into campus by providing charging facilities at suitable locations.

Jane’s garden update – July 2015

As you may know, UC has two community gardens on campus: Okeover (off Engineering road) and Dovedale. Every few months Jane Aistrope, UC’s community gardens coordinator, provides an update on what’s been happening in the gardens.

It’s been a fantastic end to the 2014/15 growing season.  We have had a high turnout to Okeover Garden working bees on Fridays throughout term 2 and have enjoyed a varied and plentiful harvest. The Dovedale Community Garden has had its first true season as an allotment garden, with 2 groups and 4 individuals growing a myriad of foods.

On Fridays we focus on sowing, planting, weeding and general care of annual veggies as well as worm farming, liquid fertilizing and of course harvesting! Tuesday sessions have been small but steady and we’ve been working away at improving the orchard by creating a Hugelkultur (mound culture) planting nz cranberries, strawberries and autumn fruiting raspberries, and pruning bushes and trees.  There have been some interesting donations of a Turkish globe artichoke and a delicious pink flowering strawberry!

The sowing of broad beans and garlic in early May marked the turn of the seasons. The harvest has shifted with it and now we are enjoying leeks, parsnip, yams and winter greens. (Sadly the favourite feijoas have finished for the year.) And as winter is truly upon us now in July, only the brightest days will tempt more than a handful of gardeners along. Although the growth rate has slowed and the days are short there is plenty to do. Tree care is an important winter task as well as planning for the new season. We have BIG plans for Eco Week in September… The Okeover Garden is getting a makeover!! Or ReScape as we call it.. So watch out for some big changes and come along to the garden blitz to help remodel the growing beds after 13 years of productive use.

Oh, and we are “famous” :-): We had a visit from the Canterbury Community Garden Association who profiled the garden on their website and interviewed some gardeners for the June edition of radio show ‘Seeds and a Spade’ on plains FM.  Whoop!

If you would like to help out at a Friday working bee, come to the Okeover Community Gardens (off Engineering road) for a few hours between 1 and 4 pm during term time.  For more information about the community gardens, check here. The community gardens have a dedicated Facebook Page.

Until next time!