Tag Archives: student volunteers

VESA Volunteer trip to Africa | Rochester & Rutherford Hall

UC students from Rochester Rutherford Hall, Juliet Bryan, Roisin Blundell-Dorey, Ellen Wilson-Hill and Christian van der Gulik, gave an inspiring overview of their experiences on their recent trip to Africa.

“In the recent holidays we participated in a Volunteer Eco Student Abroad program in South Africa, St Lucia. We took part in in the sustainable community development project, volunteering at construction sites, conservation centres and work in education to help the less fortunate. This was an eye opening opportunity that we feel very privileged to have been able to experience.

The focus of our construction work was to build a home for a
man named Derek and his family of 8. They currently live in a
wooden shack, around 15 m by 3 m, not nearly enough room for
their large family. Their house is falling apart, and the roof had
several leaks. Due to financial difficulties and the size of their
house, only 4 of their 6 children can live in the house with them. Their new home built by VESA volunteers will have 4 bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, a septic tank and an incinerator. This meant the whole family could live together and live in a much healthier and
safer environment. Our contribution to the house was filling each room with soft sand, before flattening and raking it. We had to make concrete from scratch and poured it on top of the sand. It was physically hard work, having to manually shovel the concrete mix as
there was no machinery to help. However, we found this work incredibly rewarding as were able to personally talk to the family and see how much of an impact we were making to
their lives.

We then worked in conservation at The Saint Lucia Croc centre, which works towards capturing and rehabilitating problem crocodiles. The centre monitors crocodile behaviour and carries out research, as well as releasing offspring into the wild. They are home to all African crocodile species: the Nile, Dwarf and long-scouted crocodile; alongside American Alligators. We were split into three groups each tackling a different task. We cleaned numerous crocodile and alligator enclosures. A conservationist was required to supervise, not only to instruct us, but also to keep an eye on the crocodile as they remained in the enclosure with us as moving them is too stressful for the crocodile. We drained their pool and scrubbed it clean removing all the organics that had built up. We also helped to finish a two-year project, creating three new enclosures at the centre to house more adult crocodiles. We worked on concreting their pool and clearing overgrown bush. We also
helped to build a new set of enclosures for baby crocodiles in order to increase their survival rates before releasing them into the wild, clearing rubble from the building site. It was great to volunteer at this centre and see the impact it has on the crocodile population, as well as making the community a safer place from problem crocodiles.

We also worked in a Big Cat rehabilitation centre, that housed four wild cat species; the Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and the African Wildcat. The aim of the centre is to care for cats who are injured or neglected. They also breed where possible and release the offspring into their natural habitat into protected parks. We felt very privileged to be able to see the work they do first-hand, as well as contributing by helping with the enrichment of the Servals and
Cheetahs. Without VESA’s help, this centre lacks the funding to release these cats back into their natural habitat and support those who are unable to be released and must stay at the centre. Our work and financial contribution was significantly appreciated, and we felt
privileged to be a part of helping this centre.

Our final volunteer experience was at a school teaching students averagely aged between 5 and 13. We were split into small groups of 3 or 4 and would work in a classroom helping teach math and English as well as individual tutoring. In the school the ratio of teachers to student was extremely low so by volunteering we were able to teach students in smaller groups which meant they picked up the content
faster. It felt very rewarding teaching these students as many were very interested to learn and intelligent but struggled in a large classroom with only one teacher.

We also spent time at a kindergarten called Mama Doris’s. This was a free place where mothers could take their babies and under 5’s for the day. There are many teenage pregnancies in this area and Mama Doris provides for these young mothers by giving them a free place to take their children while they are still earning an education themselves or working. We would spend the day looking after the children and taking over from Mama Doris while she did admin, made meals, and rested as she works there all day every day. We mostly entertained the children by playing with them, colouring in and helping them say simple words in English. Working in education was very rewarding, however also made us feel very privileged for the education system and opportunities that New Zealand offers us.

Our experience in Africa was incredibly eye opening. We are very thankful for your contribution; you helped us gain an experience that will stay with us forever and mould our future endeavours.

Thank you, Juliet Bryan, Roisin Blundell-Dorey, Ellen Wilson-Hill and Christian van der Gulik.”

To learn more about activities for you to get involved in outside of academic study, check out the list of UC pre-approved activities on the Co-curricular Record (CCR). Find opportunities that suit you> 

The SVA Big Give is back for 2019

The Student Volunteer Army (SVA) Big Give is back for 2019 and bigger than ever.

For those who have missed it, the Big Give brings together up to 1000 students for a morning of volunteering, followed by a free lunch and concert. It is our largest student volunteering event since the Christchurch earthquakes.

This year we will be helping out at two sites along the Styx River, restoring and strengthening the catchment’s unique ecosystem. Together, we will be planting native bush, weeding, mulching, painting, and revitalizing a nature trail. 

Afterwards, line up for free food from the Malaysian Society (CMSA), Korean Society (UCKS), as well as the infamous SVA snags, as you groove to the funky tunes of The Raddlers. Mr Whippy and a coffee stand will be on standby too for those of you who have a bit of spare change in your pocket.

Don’t forget sturdy shoes, sun protection and water. We’ll give you an SVA member’s tee to complete your volunteer aesthetic.

All you have to do is download the SVA app, click on the Big Give event and say you are going. Then turn up to the Foundry at 8.30 am on 2 March and we will sort out the rest.

Download the SVA app here for Android and iPhone.

Follow the SVA on Facebook and Instagram for more details and promos.

And finally, here is a video from Big Give 2018 to get you amped for some volunteering this coming Saturday!

Sell yourself for free stuff – volunteer on Open Day

The Events and Partnerships team are seeking enthusiastic volunteers to sell themselves for free stuff and help potential students have the best Open Day experience possible. There are only 16 spots left so get in quick!

2017 Orientation Day, 15.2.17 Engineering Core, Law and Commerce in A1,2,3. Mini donut giveaway, Arts College in C1, Musicians, Welcome arch, Library Silent Disco. Market, UC tote bag, #UC Now instagram frame, Orimarket, Cantabs girls,

We need you to volunteer in the following areas:

Information Guru (Campus Ambassadors)
Providing help and support is your gig.

There will be a special station for you on Open Day. You’ll assist visitors with questions like ‘where will I get a good coffee?’ and ‘what time is the next info session?’ You’ll also monitor sessions taking place in your area.

Campus Explorer (Tour Guide)
You know the campus well and can’t wait to show it off.

We need you to lead small groups of visitors on a loop of the campus, pointing out all the key buildings and facilities and answering questions. We’ll make sure you know where activities are taking place during the day so you can point them out and help our visitors feel comfortable on campus.

FREE stuff: For your trouble you get a cool tee shirt to wear (and keep), a drink bottle, your choice of finger-less gloves or a beanie and all the tea, coffee and hot chocolate you can drink from the volunteer’s kitchen.

Volunteer by filling out the form here>

If you have any questions email the Events team at events@canterbury.ac.nz