Tag Archives: SVA

SVA’s Connect the Community – Hononga Tūao is on!

Connect the Community is an event that aims to do just that! It’s on Saturday 30 July from 1pm till 7pm. This year, we’ll be in New Brighton and we hope to get 300 volunteers helping out the local community. Some of the projects include mulching, planting, rubbish cleanups, and graffiti removal. After volunteering, we will go to a venue to relax, enjoy some food, and connect with others. To register (for free), click here. For more information about the event, check out the UC Student Volunteer Army on our socials! 

SVA Ōamaru Camp

Rainy weather couldn’t stop students from putting in some hard work!

Over the weekend of 14th to 16th of May, the Student Volunteer Army (SVA) went to Ōamaru for its first Hopuni (camp) of the year. The University of Canterbury club teamed up with students from the University of Otago to do some mahi in the wider Waitaki region. The work spanned two days with around 60 volunteers helping out.

Wet weather delayed the projects on Saturday, but the sun came out to allow for an afternoon of work. Volunteers restored nearly 1000 trees to native forests with Forest and Bird, Waianakarua River Planting Group, and Waitaki Community Garden. Volunteers also paved about 800m of track with Mountain Biking North Otago.

The community groups expressed their gratitude for the help that the Student Volunteer Army provided. Chairwoman of Waitaki Forest and Bird Chloe Searle described the assistance as “a real boost” and hoped that volunteers would be able to “come back and visit in a few years to see how their work is going.”

Ra McRostie, the Manager of Waitaki Community Gardens described volunteering as “one of the things that makes all the good in the world come to the fore.” 

Sunday allowed for a full morning of volunteering at Waitaki Girls’ High School, Camp Iona, Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust and Te Whare Koa. The projects varied from sorting recycling, garden maintenance to filling potholes. Volunteers were also provided a warm lunch by Peterpan Bakery and Cafe on Sunday, which was very much appreciated after a hard morning’s work. 

As well as doing some hard work, volunteers got to see the sights of Ōamaru through op shops, Steampunk HQ and Whitestone City. This gave students from the different universities the chance to get to know each other more. 

UC SVA Treasurer Keruma Gibson reflected on the Canterbury and Otago collaboration for the camp as a wonderful opportunity to “create new relationships whilst bonding over meaningful work.”

The UC Student Volunteer Army would like to thank all the community groups that were worked with over the weekend. Every one of them does incredible mahi to improve the Waitaki region and create strong bonds in the district. 

Through camps, the Student Volunteer Army gives students the opportunity to see more of Aotearoa and make an impact across various communities. To keep up to date with the mahi that we do, follow us @uc_sva on social media!



This week we’re celebrating our awesome volunteers for 2022 Student Volunteer Week. 

Throughout the week join us as past and present UC Student Volunteer Army (SVA) members share special moments from their time with SVA. 

Read Daniel’s story from Monday here
Read Isabella’s story from Tuesday here.
Read Alex’s Story from Wednesday here. 
Read Sati’s Story from Thursday here. 

Tim Greene (2017-2019)

SVA and Marjory Stoneman Douglas exchange: On the 14th of February 2018 a horrific shooting occured at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This left 14 students and 3 staff dead, 17 injured and a devastated and outraged community. In the weeks following this tragic event the students of Douglas responded in a number of ways, most notably of which was the national ‘March for our Lives’ protest movement demanding action on gun violence led by Douglas students. 

Through a connection to the Parkland community, the UC SVA was able to reach out and facilitate an exchange with the Parkland students around youth leadership in a post disaster context and give the Parkland students a much needed break and enjoyable experience far from home. In July of 2018, 28 student leaders from Parkland visited Christchurch for a week long exchange with the SVA exec.

Individuals from both groups were buddied up and over the course of the very busy week, we engaged in various activities and heard from a range of speakers. The exchange culminated in a workshop session on its final day where both groups shared lessons from the successes and struggles of their movements to date and had conversations about community engagement, mental health, youth leadership and more through which we produced a white paper/how-to-guide for organizing youth movements.

This was a very moving and special week, where we made genuine friendships and were able to learn a lot from each other. In the following November, a group of 13 2018 SVA exec members were lucky enough to travel to Florida and Washington DC. In an amazing trip we were able to reconnect with our friends and share the SVA story and experiences with their community and further cement the special bond between the two groups.

In the days following the March 15th 2019 terrorist attack in Christchurch, the Parkland students and their wider community reached out in a number of ways to us and those affected in Christchurch to offer support and advice in a very difficult time, which was greatly appreciated. This exchange was one of the highlights of my time with the SVA and something I felt very privileged to be a part of and made lasting friendships.


To find out more about SVA or get involved with volunteering for yourself visit here.