When I was a student at Otago – a few years ago now – I helped run the student green group and wrote for Critic, the student paper. The things we did, like shaming the city council into recycling by running our own street collections, are among the things I remember most about uni and I’m more likely to be in touch with the people I did the things with than from most of my classes. It also set me on the path to journalism.
UC’s Co-curricular Record (CCR) formally recognises the value of those kinds of activities that take place outside the formal curriculum. That recognition is useful job-wise, giving students something else to show employers alongside their marks. But the big thing about the CCR is that there’s now a whole host of opportunities on campus (and some off campus) opening up for students that are well-organised and rewarding.
An example: at the start of this year Star Media approached the Media and Communication department asking if we could suggest some students to help with social media at the City2Surf run. Because of the CCR scheme, we were able to do something better than sending out some volunteers, which can sometimes be a bit vague and unshaped.
The six students who worked with me and Star Media did a bit of research, planned a mini-Instagram-Facebook-Snapchat campaign and then debriefed after the run. It was a good opportunity to take part in a community event and get a taste of one direction their degree might take them. The CCR also had built into it a chance for students to reflect and work out what they wanted to get out of the experience.
In practical terms, they were asked to write a short paragraph that I then signed off on (so the university could say it was a genuine event and there’d been some specific things achieved by them). This minimal paperwork is there to ensure there are standards so that the CCR is credible.