UC community engagement awards recognise outstanding contribution

23 September 2011

The Prime Minister the Rt Hon John Key is guest of honour at the inaugural UC Community Engagement Awards being held today at the University of Canterbury to recognise 30 people's post-earthquake service efforts.

UC community engagement awards recognise outstanding contribution - Imported from Legacy News system

Prime Minister John Key speaks at the inaugural UC Community Engagement Awards.

The Prime Minister the Rt Hon John Key is guest of honour at the inaugural UC Community Engagement Awards being held today at the University of Canterbury to recognise 30 people’s post-earthquake service efforts.

The awards were inspired by the actions of the Student Volunteer Army (SVA) and were established to recognise people who had embodied the University’s goal of being an institution of “people prepared to make a difference”. For these inaugural awards, 30 members of the central organising group of the SVA will receive recognition after being nominated and considered by an advisory group.

“The Student Volunteer Army was successful due to the contributions of thousands of people,” said University of Canterbury Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Student Services and International) Dr Nello Angerilli.

“A select few of those thousands of people are being recognised for the outstanding contribution they made through their engagement and leadership within the SVA.”

Recipients received a Vice-Chancellor’s Certificate of Community Engagement and scholarship funds.

“The UC Community Engagement Awards will be one of many long-lasting legacies of UC students’ efforts following in the year since the 4 September earthquake last year,” said University of Canterbury Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr.

“Students who participated in those post-earthquake activities and who will continue to participate in the recovery of the Christchurch region can also link their actions with academic content and reflection through a new course that is on offer at UC - CHCH 101 Rebuilding Christchurch: An Introduction to Community Engagement in Tertiary Studies.”

There has been international recognition of the efforts of those students and community members involved in the SVA with similar activities taking place in other countries around the world following recent natural disasters.

UC students Sam Johnson and Jason Pemberton were invited to visit Japan and work with university students there in the immediate aftermath of their March earthquake and tsunami, and the University of Vermont, in collaboration with UC, created a course called “Rebuilding Vermont:  Community Engagement in Disaster Preparation and Relief” in response to students’ service efforts following Hurricane Irene last month. UC has also been granted free membership to the Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance and is the only institution outside Australia to be invited to join.

The UC academic community is continuing to work together to incorporate service and volunteer experiences into its degree programmes.

“Academics from each College and School at UC have created a Working Party on Community Engagement and have created and circulated a draft document that calls for all UC students to be provided with an opportunity to have a significant volunteer or course-based service experience.  Existing courses that are already doing this are being identified and new courses are being developed to do this. This will add a unique and valuable point of difference to a degree gained at the University of Canterbury.”

In December UC will host “Looking Beyond Disaster: UNESCO Youth Forum” which will bring together young people from disaster zones around the Asia/Pacific region to discuss how they can lead their communities forward. 

“As we move towards the end of the current academic year we can be proud of the way in which the recipients of the UC Community Engagement Awards have made a positive and lasting contribution to our wider community during a difficult and challenging time. Our University and our community will continue to honour their commitment to service in the years ahead as we encourage those who follow in their footsteps.”

For more information please contact:
Dr Billy O’Steen
Senior Lecturer
School of Educational Studies and Human Development
College of Education
University of Canterbury
Ph: 022 074 5296



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