Tag Archives: Events

UC SVA Big Give 2021

Ten years ago, before the February 22nd earthquakes in Ōtautahi-Christchurch, very few would have predicted the youth volunteer movement that was to arise. A massive UC student movement began with those earthquakes, and ten years on, this community spirit remains. 

On Saturday the 13th of March, hundreds of students from the University of Canterbury got up early to a beautiful sunny day for the UC Student Volunteer Army’s largest event of the year. The UC SVA hosted its fifth annual Big Give, clocking in well over 1000 volunteer hours over eight projects in the Ōtautahi-Christchurch Red Zone. Our students worked alongside local community groups, including Cultivate Christchurch, Greening the Red Zone and Avon-Ōtākaro Forest Park. Students spent the morning weeding, mulching and planting as well as collecting rubble around the east side of Christchurch.

Zane, a ranger from the Christchurch city Council managing one project, remarked that the work that the Student Volunteer Army had done in one day would have taken their team approximately a week. Looking at the piles of rubble the volunteers collected, there looked to be about three tonnes. But it was more than that! The rubble collected had been sitting there for ten years, and still this area is used for morning strolls, dog walking, and recreation. So while it may have seemed small at the time, picking up leftover rubble meant a lot to local residents. It was a reminder that others still care, and the community rebuilding process is still underway.

We could feel the passion of the community group leaders spread among our volunteers as they told their stories. Many have big plans for the areas. The Avon-Ōtākaro Forest Park group is one such group, showing volunteers their vision for the future of Brooker Reserve. They hope to make Ōtautahi a National Park City, with native habitats intertwined between residential areas, to create a wildlife corridor and promote biodiversity. Their enthusiasm has left many volunteers wanting to stay involved in this vision.

Our volunteers undoubtedly enjoyed the day, with one telling us how cool it was to see the progress made since last year’s Big Give in the Red Zone. Another loved seeing everyone getting involved and putting their heart and soul into cleaning up Christchurch. Their ability to work well with strangers and take away new friendships continues to amaze us, and it is awesome seeing so many new faces. 

After the volunteer work was completed, a free barbeque lunch and live concert was hosted for the well deserving students. Lunar Intruder, Too Woke for Toast, and Cake and Eat it performed thanks to our partner TuneSoc. It was a wholesome way to top off a very productive day.

President Luke Burke noted that “while the turnout wasn’t looking as strong leading up to it as in previous years, we managed to rally around four hundred volunteers. That was even after pushing the event back a week. It was still a lot of hands, over 1000 man-hours of work, and we achieved everything we set out to do for the community”.

Our 2021 Big Give has given us hope for the future of UC volunteering. Many students chip in during crises; we know this from the earthquake movement and our latest COVID-19 response. However, what is inspiring is that further on, even ten years after a crisis, the drive to contribute to a growing community is ingrained among us. We are pleased to know volunteering is alive, and holds strong in the hearts of many UC students. With a Student Volunteer Army like ours, it is exciting to think of the difference we can make for the future of Ōtautahi-Christchurch.

Crusaders Partner Discounts

The Crusaders are now officially on sale for all home games at Orangetheory Stadium in 2021. As a valued partner of the Crusaders, UC have been given a 20% sponsors discount for staff and their families for all home games in all seating categories.  The 20% promotional code will stay live for the whole season across all home games. To purchase Crusaders Tickets Click Here and enter the promo code: UNICAN20

In addition to the ticket discount, you can also get 30% off all 2021 Crusaders Adidas range items.  Access this discount by clicking here and entering the promo code: Forever21 on checkout.

You are also invited to a pre-match function before the first Crusaders home game of the season on Saturday 6 March 2021. Find everything you need to know here>

It’s not too late to volunteer for Herea tō waka | Orientation Day (O Day) on Friday 19 February!

This is our biggest event to welcome new ākonga (students) and whānau into the UC community and staff volunteers are essential to the smooth running of this event. The Events team still needs your help!

If you are interested in volunteering but unable to do a full shift please email your preferred times to Bree Cumming at events@canterbury.ac.nz and she will work around this. Any time you can spare, even if it’s just an hour, would be so helpful. 

If you are interested, please review the roles, check with your manager and sign up here. 

O Day volunteer roles:

  • Supplier of Smiles – you have a great smile and enjoy meeting new people – only 3 shifts left!
  • Information Guru – providing help and support is your gig – only 8 shifts left!
  • Session Greeter – you’re there to scan people into sessions – only 18 shifts left!
  • Data Gatherer – you’ll happily ask people what they think – only 4 shifts left!

CLICK HERE to sign up!

If you have any questions please email us at events@canterbury.ac.nz. Please note you will need to commit to attending the event briefing at 10am on Wednesday 17 February 2021. If you are able to volunteer but can’t make it to the briefing, please still send us an email.  

Thank you in advance for your support! Also a big thanks to everyone who has already signed up to volunteer.

Ngā mihi,

Te Rōpū Pāpori
Communications and Events 

In celebration of excellence – United Nations 75th anniversary – Climate Change Symposium 2020

Postgrad student Julie Meates organised a Climate Change Symposium from 9 – 11 March 2020, gathering students, academics, national and international experts together to discuss the challenges and potential solutions to the climate crisis. Read Julie’s summary of the Symposium below: 

2020 was a year with many challenges – let us acknowledge those who constantly seek to make the world and university a better place.

Marc Dalder, a Senior Political Reporter, states that NZ may be excluded from climate leaders’ summit, over concerns about the country’s inaction on climate change. New Zealand has seen the second-greatest increase in emissions (in percentage terms) among Annex I countries, he reports (Newsroom, November 2020). Will the government’s climate emergency declaration change that?

Before COVID-19 changed the landscape of the world, a group of enlightened and inspiring university academics, as well as post-graduate students, and international and national speakers tried to pre-empt this narrative and work on climate change and balance with a three day event in March 2020. A two-pronged approach was chosen to both honour and thank those lecturers and students who bring a climate change of kindness and manaakitanga to the university culture and environment. We also addressed the alarming statistics and looked at working collaboratively to find global solutions as requested by UN Secretary-General António Guterres to mark the United Nations 75th Anniversary to the climate crisis.

Day 1

With a heartening beginning and mihi whakatau and waiata, the Climate Change Symposium was opened with the goal and dream in mind to create a well world through global conversation. Esteemed kaumatua and Te Akatoki laid the kaupapa.

Above: Sir Mark Solomon with Te Akatoki in background

Sir Mark Solomon reminded us of the effect of climate change and Aotearoa. Post-graduate students from the environmental health post-graduate programme highlighted the effect of temperature rise. We noted that while we couldn’t change the culture of cars and flights we could raise awareness of the inextricable link between our gadget culture and the amount of fossil fuels it takes – 240 kgs to produce one computer monitor, according to Kumar, 2017. Little did we know of the pandemic to come. 

Above: Fr Arsène Kapya and Lema Shamamba

Two amazing speakers from the DRC Congo – Fr Arsene Kapya and Lema Shamamba, a climate change refugee, recounted the Congo Crisis and exploitation of the Congolese minerals. These are used for our cell phones and other digital devices, and deforestation of the second-largest rainforest in the world contribute significantly to  global warming. Lema Shamamba features in the book ‘Women Kind- New Zealand Women Making a Difference’, along with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. A segment of the 2018 Nobel Peace laureate, Dr. Denis Mukwege, was read out to the audience addressing the human cost, urging us to put an end to the suffering for the conflict minerals for our cell phones and electric cars.

Above: Panel Chair Dr Jeremy Moses and panel speakers Professor Neil Boister, Professor Karen Scott and Professor Bronwyn Hayward

An expert panel, chaired by Dr. Jeremy Moses concluded Day 1 with brief solutions to huge problems.  The panel was led by Professor Neil Boister, Head of Law School, who addressed climate change and Congo Crisis and International law. He was acknowledged, in absentia at the climate change awards the following evening. He was followed by Professor Karen Scott who gave us a professional perspective on Paris Agreement and Climate Change. Professor Bronwyn Hayward, served as the coordinating lead author for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and in 2019 was acknowledged by Kiwi Bank New Zealander of the Year – Local Hero for research on climate change and work with the IPCC, concluded the panel.

Day 2

Above: MC Glen Osborne, Dr Jarrod Gilbert, Professor Sonia Mazey, Professor Ekant Veer,  Professor Angus Macfarlane, and MC Te Hurinui Clarke with guitar

Day 2 addressed health and wellbeing in the modern world and the impact of digital technology. This evening’s MC was Glen Osbourne, New Zealand television presenter, a former New Zealand All Black and presently representing New Zealand as a police constable. Dr. Jarrod Gilbert, who has extensive research in the areas of crime and justice, addressed the issue of gangs and cyberbullying. Professor Ekant Veer, Associate Dean of Postgraduate Research, and a multi-award-winning teacher and researcher, addressed ‘Staying Healthy in a Digitally Connected World’. There is an ongoing tension between being digitally connected to the world and the stresses that being ‘always on’ has on our physical and mental wellbeing. In this talk, Professor Veer presented research that shows some of the consequences for people immersed in digital worlds and constantly connected. He concluded by providing some solutions that enable people to be both digitally connected and ‘well’. Professor Ekant Veer was further acknowledged by PVC – College of Business and Law Professor Sonia Mazey for his approach to education and learning.

Above: Dr. Ben Wamamil, Dr Suvojit Bandopadhyaya, Dr. Olatz.Lopez-Fernandez, Dr Daria Kuss, Dr Nicholas Kadaras and Dr Mary Redmayne 

Dr. Ben Wamamil, a Ph.D. student from Kenya addressed Climate change: Impact of social media and increase in vaping. Dr Suvojit Bandopadhyaya, a Ph.D. student from India, spoke of Climate change and the Impact of social media and terrorism. Dr. Olatz.Lopez-Fernandez presented on Addiction, Dr. Daria Kuss from Nottingham Trent University addressed Gaming Addictions while Dr. Nicholas Kardaras from Harvard University talked of Glow Kids and mental health.The keynote speaker was Dr Mary Redmayne from Victoria University and Monash University, who presented on:  Screen use affecting health. What can we do about it? Raising healthy children in the screen age.

Jason Gunn has taken aim at “cruel” comments from online “bullies” in an emotionally charged video on his Facebook page with commentary from Professor Ursula Cheer, Dean of the UC Law School.

Below: Professor Ursula Cheer and Dr Chris North 

Dr. Chris North, Associate Deputy Head of School gave a heartening solution to an epidemic problem. Balance in education and society in the digital age. Wellness in the Modern World: How to get Life Balance and Disconnect to reconnect. The intersection between humans and the environment, in terms of learning and quality experiences, but also in promoting environmental sustainability: Outdoors and Environmental education. UC Outdoor Education Informed by experiential education approaches. Let’s Get Physical.

The evening was interwoven with manaakitanga and kindness awards. Associate Professor Beverley Lord was presented an award for contribution to post graduate women by her Head of Department on behalf of Post graduate women. The Student Volunteer Army was acknowledged for volunteerism and received a donation presented by Vanessa Cole from Dancing with the Stars. Danielle Robb was acknowledged in absentia for volunteerism for UC netball.  The grand finale was Manaakitanga Award to Professor Angus Macfarlane by Professor Letitia Fickel Acting Pro-Vice-Chancellor Education, Health & Human Development. With special thanks to Te Hurinui Clark for his contribution.

Day 3

Day 3 concluded with inspiring presentations from the school of Physical and Chemical Sciences. Professor Brent Robinson addressed electronic waste-highlighting the environmental contaminants and the effect of our food and water. Electronic waste increased from an estimated 20-25 million tonnes per year to 50 million tonnes from 2009 to 2018. Professor Ian Shaw addressed residues in our food and human health effects, and Maria Jesus Gutirrez-Gines from ESR looked at the water, bio-waste and the circular economy, and climate change. Helena Ruffle, a Ph.D. student gave an interesting presentation on the effect of microplastics, plastics, and waste. The evening concluded with Yulinda, a Ph.D. student and sociologist who addressed indigenous knowledge and values, and food security in rural development.

A closing address from Dr. Kate Dewes and Commander Robert Green from the Disarmament and Security Centre concluded the Well World Climate change symposium.

Thanks also to all the volunteer post graduate students and UCSA caterers who helped make a successful event.

A follow up event took place on 31 September 2020 at Isaac Theatre Royal.

Join in the fun and volunteer at Herea tō waka | Orientation Day

Kick-start your new year by volunteering at Herea tō waka | Orientation Day 2021! 

The Events team is looking for friendly, inviting, charismatic staff volunteers to welcome new students and their whānau to the UC community, creating a sense of belonging and helping them get their bearings on their first day. 

Herea tō waka | Orientation Day 2021
Friday 19 February, 9.00am – 2.30pm

From Supplier of Smiles to Information Guru, there is an opportunity for you to be part of O Day. If you are interested, please review the roles, check with your manager and sign up by Friday 12 February 2021. Please note you will need to commit to attending the Event Briefing on Wednesday 17 February 2021.

O Day volunteer roles:

Supplier of Smiles
You have a great smile and enjoy making people happy. We want you on the O Day trails to warmly welcome our visitors to UC.

Information Guru

Providing help and answering questions is your gig. You know campus well and can point people in the right direction (or point them to someone who can!)

Session Greeter
You’re there to scan people into sessions, all the while being that friendly face on their first day. 

Data Gatherer
You’ll happily ask people what they think. iPad in hand, we need you to approach attendees with a smile to get their feedback on O Day.

 Campus Explorer
You know the campus well and can’t wait to show it off. We need you to take small groups of visitors on a loop of the campus, pointing out all the key buildings and facilities.

Volunteer now or email the Events team if you have any questions.

Herea tō waka: The phrase ‘herea tō waka’ means ‘tie up your waka’ and is a reference to what we do when our waka (sailing vessel) comes into landing – we tie it firmly to the shore so that it doesn’t drift away.

For our students and that arrive here at UC and particularly on their first day (O Day), they are metaphorically tying their waka to the shoreline that is UC to ensure their grounding here is firm.