Matt. Engineering & Business.

What have you been up to at UC, besides studying?

In 2019 I was an EngMe mentor and I’ve been on the Student Volunteer Army exec for three years. In 2020 I'm vice president. What I love most about the SVA is the sense of engagement. It's been a hugely defining part of my uni experience in terms of personal development. The soft skills you learn from being on an exec are amazing. From running a volunteering leadership programme for high-schoolers to planning a 700+ person volunteering event, I never would’ve expected that to be part of my uni experience. I have a huge passion for encouraging people to get involved with volunteering.

Would you recommend getting involved in executive and leadership positions?

Definitely. It's a great testing ground to try things before you hit the ‘real world’. You get to learn and grow, and it’s still okay if you fail. Plus it's an opportunity to thrive in an area that you’re passionate about.

What else have you loved about being in the SVA?

Meeting people. Some of my best friends have come out of this club! It's almost like a second family. You go away on camps so you get to know people really well. There's lots of socialising and volunteering. It offers something special. Anyone can join in, we make it super easy. And you know that the work you’re doing has an impact on the community too. It’s so cool to get the student community engaged in social good. Especially when there is often a negative view on young people. I also think that it’s an opportunity to make volunteering a part of students' lifestyles which is the stepping stone to making it a part of their life forever.

What does the club scene add to the overall UC experience?

It's a great way to hang out with people you enjoy and branch out into new groups. There are so many different clubs, it's almost impossible to not find one you like. The clubs also make the campus feel integrated, like one big community. They create a sense of solidarity at UC that is truly unique.

"What I appreciate is the opportunity to learn that can be directly related to the things going on around me. It helps you gain a new perspective as you start to understand how things actually work."

Tell us about the UC campus – any favourite spots?

Definitely the SVA office! It’s a great place to get work done, take a break, have meetings or catch up with mates. I also love the engineering core and there are lots of hidden places around, like the student veggie garden. The new Rehua building even has a piano in the basement for students to use. I love the way the campus is one connected environment, rather than interspersed throughout a city. It’s a really calm and relaxing place to be.

Now, tell us about your degree!

I'm doing a double degree in mechanical engineering and commerce. I especially enjoy the projects we do in engineering. They’re super challenging and a good mix of hands-on experience and theory. What I appreciate is the opportunity to learn that can be directly related to the things going on around me. It helps you gain a new perspective as you start to understand how things actually work.

We've made a tap wrench out of a block of metal, built a robot and designed a bearing housing for a skydive simulator. Working in teams and using the workshop machinery is extremely fun. I love getting to build the designs I create.

What’s your aspiration for the future?

I've always loved Business, understanding how things works and making a difference. One of my goals is to get involved in community development in Third World countries. I also want to be fluent in three languages! I haven't settled on an exact career path yet, but I know I'll end up with a diverse skill set that will set me up for the future. For now, I’m enjoying getting students engaged in volunteering and making it a part of their lifestyle.