Volunteer for Open Day

Registrations are looking good for Open Day – Thursday 13 July, but we still need your help to make sure it goes off without a hitch.

Help out the Events and Partnerships team by volunteering to fill the few spots that are left. The team are still looking for Supplier of Smiles, Information Gurus and Campus Explorers.

Sign up now>

  • Supplier of Smiles (Welcome Ambassadors)
    You have a great smile and enjoy making people happy.
    You’ll be stationed at one of our welcome points to warmly greet our visitors to UC, hand out tote bags, scan tickets of registered attendees, welcome visitors off buses, and wave them goodbye at the end of the day.
  • 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.

Reflecting on failure – Ekant Veer

As students receive their exam results on Friday 7 July, staff have a chance to reflect on what they might be experiencing, how students might have various perceptions of failure and success – and how as staff members we can listen to and support them.

2017 Teaching Medal recipient Associate Professor Ekant Veer recently took some time to reflect on failure in this Insider’s Guide blog for students which we share here for staff. Contact details for a range of student support services follow this blog.

Ekant Veer 170628

I fail. Not ‘I failed once’ but I fail and I fail daily. I’ve actually become pretty good at it, it happens so often. Even though I fail a lot it still hurts. It sucks…I HATE failing. And yet I still throw myself into situations where I fail. From an outsider’s perspective I must be either stupid or some sort of masochist to keep going back for more punishment.

Just yesterday I was told by a journal that the research paper I wrote would not be published by them. My work wasn’t good enough. I failed. And I’m going to rewrite the work and send it to someone else…who will probably tell me I suck, too.

Why do I do this? Why would I keep going back for more punishment? Sure, I feel a sense of responsibility to fulfil my role – I mean, it’s my job so I have to. But why would I stay in a job that puts me in a position where I am shit on, on a regular basis?  Well, because failure isn’t a bad thing. It feels bad, for sure, but avoidance of failure is probably the single most common reason for not reaching your potential.

Somewhere along the line society decided that being happy was the most important thing in life. Anything that upsets us or challenges us should be put to one side. Anything hard or confusing should be avoided at all costs.


That’s not how life works. If you haven’t failed then you aren’t stretching yourself enough. If you haven’t been told ‘you’re not good enough’ you’re not exploring adventures that make life worth living. If you haven’t struggled, then you’re not reaching your full potential…and for me, that’s a waste of talent.

True winners in life aren’t the ones who succeed the most, but those who keep getting up after failing and making the changes necessary to give it a better go next time.  Coping with failure isn’t easy but something EVERYONE needs to do because you WILL fail at something. Everything we do has a consequence and sometimes when we fail the consequences seem pretty significant. The bigger the consequences of the failure the harder it is to cope, but you WILL cope.  I can’t solve every problem you face but here are some initial thoughts that help me cope.

  • Do things you could fail at.
    Don’t ever be afraid of trying something new/hard. Trust me, that’s where the interesting stuff is. No one gets excited by mundane tasks. They want to hear the adventures. Go on an adventure and push yourself.
  • When you fail, don’t wallow in it.
    Don’t run away from knowing you’ve failed but when you see you have, don’t put your life on hold and hide away. Don’t let it consume you. Know you’ve failed and then walk away from it for a day or two. Also, don’t rush any major decisions while you feel this way. Everything is up in the air and making big choices when you feel like a failure is a really bad idea, trust me!!!
    When you’ve had a couple of days to let the shock subside, return to the failure and examine it more objectively. What went wrong, why, how? Don’t look for blame. Look for solutions. The solutions should be focused on doing better next time.
  • Ask for help.
    The worst thing you can do is try and sort it out yourself. We are often so embarrassed about failing we don’t tell anyone or share our failures with others. I hate to tell you this, but you are probably not the best person to fix this. Last time you tried, you failed, remember! Don’t be ashamed and ask for help.  Also, it’s better to cry on someone’s shoulder than on your own (again, trust me!!!).
  • Don’t rely on external validation to feel worthwhile.
    No one is going to be your cheerleader. Don’t wait for awards and accolades to determine if you’re good enough. YOU need to drive YOU. You need to know when you’ve done well and when you’re winning. If you wait for someone else you will always see the negative stuff and ignore the positive. It’s normal human confirmation bias.
  • Put it in perspective.
    Did anyone get hurt? You may feel sad for a few days but did anyone really get hurt and is that pain irreparable. Probably not. I work damned hard to do the best I can, but I still fail. Guess what, my kids don’t care. They just want me to be home to play with them. There is far more to life than publications, exams, tests, etc. It’s ok for it to be hurt, but failing isn’t the end.
  • Try again. And again. And again.
    Every amazing thing you’ve seen happen is just a reflection of hours, weeks, months, years of trying and failing. If it helps, stay off social media. Hardly anyone posts their failures, just their successes. Don’t compare yourself to them because for every amazing thing they’ve achieved they’ve probably failed a thousand times.

So, is there an easy way to get over failure? No. It takes practice and it takes hard work. Effort is central to your success. Own your failure – don’t externalise the blame. Own it and fix it. Get someone to help you and try again. And if you still fail, does it really matter? It might cost you more time, more money and maybe a little of my pride. But does it really matter? Your friends will still be your friends, your family will still love you. At no point is failure something you should avoid.

And if you’re not failing – push yourself. Give something new a go.  Do something every day that scares you a little.


Need support now? www.canterbury.ac.nz/student-support – click here

Got some thoughts on failure and success? Take some time to comment.

Hiding your light under a bushel? Misunderstood?

Do you feel like hardly anyone at UC understands what your team does – or how you can help them?

At Intercom, we’ve heard people say they don’t know what different teams do, so we think it’s time to start profiling a few teams and how their work impacts on life at UC.

At your next team meeting, please have a chat about what you want others to know about what you do and how you can help . Then e-mail your contribution to communications@canterbury.ac.nz – if you have a fun team photo to include that’s great too – but not compulsory.

If you want to know about a particular team, let us know which one and we’ll approach them directly to find out what they do.

Celebrating Matariki at ECLC

The Early Childhood Learning Centre (ECLC) celebrated Matariki on Monday night with children and families.

170630-ECLC MatarikiSome 40 people were treated to a dinner of roast meats, vegetables and warm pumpkin soup. Before dinner, a video CD of the Matariki story was played for the children and whānau, relating the Matariki story.

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in mid-winter – late May or early June. For many Māori, it heralds the start of a new year.

170630-ECLC Matariki1For the ECLC community, it was a good time of gathering, feasting and enjoying one another’s company. It was a heart-warming way to spend a cold evening.

Thank you to all families who joined us for the special dinner, and to all staff who prepared the delicious food for all to enjoy.

See more information on Matariki

Will you take on the Plastic Free July challenge?

Flo 3Fourth-year Civil Eng student Flo is one of the UC students who is going plastic free during Plastic Free July. Plastic Free July aims to raise awareness of the amount of single-use disposable plastic in our lives and challenges people to do something about it. Flo shared some of her plastic free tips, and explains why she is doing it.  

What will you try to do during July?
To cut out all waste actually, not just plastic! This means not purchasing single use items, no wastage (not even recycling). However, I will use the organics collection bin because it’s a great system in Christchurch for making compost.

Why are you doing the challenge?
I think waste and consumerism have become two really big problems in today’s society. So many items are being created just for convenience, driven by purely short-term thinking and yet this will ruin us in the long term. By doing this challenge I want to show people that it is possible to live without creating as much waste!

What do you think is going to be hard?
I think going out for dinner, and going for drinks/social occasions will be challenging as it’s not a social norm to carry around your own container or glass to drink from! I also think being able to resists bargains when I am shopping will be hard, even when they are wrapped in single use plastic.

Cup Bamboo

What are some of your favourite waste-free items?
I have a little wee cup set that I keep in my bag 24/7 just in case I want a beverage on the go, and there are only plastic cups. I am also pretty passionate about waste-free bathroom products. I have a safety razor that is not made of plastic and can be reused. The one I have cost about $13 and came in only cardboard packaging with tonnes of little refill blades and it works a treat! I also love my trusty bamboo toothbrush, just google ‘bamboo toothbrush’ and you’ll find heaps of options. Instead of bottled shampoo or soap, I use shampoo bars and soaps. I order mine locally from Ethique, which is run by a UC alumni! I recommend trying out the starter packs. I use a menstrual cup for that time of the month, the UC pharmacy stocks them or you can find them (cheaper) online, and I honestly think it was the best purchase I have ever made!

Want more info on plastic free bathroom products? Check out:

Are you keen to take on the Plastic Free July challenge too? You don’t have to go all out! You can choose to do it for a week or the whole month and you can either refuse ALL single-use plastic or the TOP 4: plastic bags, water bottles, takeaway coffee cups and straws. Have a look on the website for ideas on how to get started (and no, you don’t need to sign up)!

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz