UC Community Engagement Hub

Since its founding in 1873, the University of Canterbury has been a significant contributor to the cultural, economic, and intellectual life of Christchurch, New Zealand, and the world. This was especially evident  following the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 when over 9,000 students provided vital assistance throughout the city in the form of the Student Volunteer Army. They exemplified our vision of tangata tu tangata ora, people prepared to make a difference.

Following the earthquakes, UC staff and students collectively determined that the SVA ethos should become a formal part of the University’s future direction. This aligns with the need that essential services in New Zealand (firefighters, jurors, school boards of trustees, surf lifesavers, etc.) have for the next generation to be as generous with their time as previous ones. As a result, UC’s new Graduate Profile has four attributes that all students will have along with their degrees: bi-cultural competence, community engagement, global awareness, and innovation. 

To advance the community engagement attribute, the UC Community Engagement Hub was created to facilitate opportunities for all UC staff and students to engage with their communities. The Hub is doing this through three activities.

  1. Engagement: Connect things that need doing to staff and students who can do them.
  2. Teaching: Promote and support the use of community-based projects within courses.
  3. Research: Pursue answers to relevant questions that are helpful to local and international community partners.

To share our work, we host high-profile events such as three New Zealand Community Engagement Summits and Prince Harry’s visit in May 2015.

In the last four years, it is estimated that UC staff and students have contributed over $2,000,000 in labour and services to individuals and organizations including:

  • Avon Otakaro Network
  • BNZ’s Closed for Good Activity
  • Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority
  • Christchurch Bike Share
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Gap Filler
  • Garden City 2.0
  • Life in Vacant Spaces
  • Ngāi Tahu
  • Pegasus Health’s Annual Volunteer Day
  • Phillipstown Community Hub
  • Project Lyttelton
  • Riccarton West Neighbourhood Police Team
  • St Alban’s Residents’ Association
  • Tokyo Board of Education
  • University of the South Pacific

There are many exciting ways to work with us! We welcome project ideas from manual labour to intellectual consulting from individuals and organisations. As well, there are sponsorship opportunities that include:

  • Becoming an inaugural member of the Hub’s Advisory Board that includes access to staff and students to work on your organisation’s projects
  • Being a named sponsor of our signature events such as the New Zealand Community Engagement Summit or Youth Leadership Symposium
  • Being a named sponsor of a Community Engagement Scholarship to support a Master’s degree student’s studies and work at the Hub
  • Being a named sponsor of the Hub to support general operations
  • Creating a named community engagement project to address local or international needs (e.g., Nepal or Vanuatu)

For advice

Billy O'Steen

Associate Professor
Wheki 320
Internal Phone: 92093

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