University of Canterbury Partners with SVA

The University of Canterbury has today announced a key partnership with the Student Volunteer Army (SVA).

This partnership is part of a wider community engagement initiative being undertaken by the University, which includes partnerships with the Crusaders and the Tactix. An arts initiative is still in development and will be announced in due course.

University of Canterbury Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr says the partnership with the SVA will see both organisations work together to develop key projects that will provide the University and the SVA with opportunities to connect with the wider community, including schools.

“The SVA showed the world the very best of UC students after the Canterbury earthquakes and it has endured, establishing an ethos of community service that has become part of UC’s graduate profile. UC is determined its graduates will be prepared to make a difference in their communities. The Student Volunteer Army will also be involved in schools engagement and continue to be involved in community projects.”

Lucy McLeod, president of the SVA, says, ”We’re enormously grateful for this partnership, and the support, of UC for the coming year. We have a strong community programme already planned and with UC’s support we’ll be working hard in getting closer to local schools by working with students to create their own SVAs. UC’s support allows us to begin with our Legacy Project, a celebration of the work of volunteers and SVA alike in the past, present and future of Christchurch. This year we are providing more opportunities for students to gain skills through volunteering, which directly relate to their field of study, creating well rounded and experienced students when they enter the workforce.”

Dr Carr says the University’s partnerships with these three key organisations will help drive student recruitment, retention and help the University to develop stronger community engagement with Christchurch and the wider Canterbury community. The partnerships are being supported by the redirection of promotional budget.

 “We will be working collaboratively with the organisations we have partnered with, and with schools to make Christchurch and Canterbury the best place in New Zealand for young people to study, live, have fun and be part of a community that is active, exciting and forward looking.”

The partnerships with the SVA, Crusaders and Tactix, and those still to be announced, will be complemented by UC support for significant cultural events. The University this month supported Te Matatini Kapa Haka Festival and will support the Ngā Manu Kōrero speech competition in June, with other events also to be added. The intention is to build on UC’s numerous cultural outreach programmes and encourage more Māori and Pasifika students to study at UC.

“We’re determined our students will take their place in a bicultural nation, and take that cultural awareness to the world. We have numerous cultural outreach programmes and relationships with Ngāi Tahu which is why are supporting key cultural events like the Nga Mana Korero Māori language speech competition, and the Te Matatini Kapa Haka event in Christchurch’s Hagley Park.”

Dr Carr says UC plays a vital role in the success of the Canterbury region, and New Zealand as a whole, through the world-class teaching and research carried out by staff and students, and the quality graduates it produces.

“Our partner organisations are among New Zealand’s finest and we are proud to be working with them to ensure a successful future for our region.”

UC continues to work on an initiative in the Christchurch performing arts sector, which will be announced in due course.

For further information: 
Lucy McLeod, Student Volunteer Army President on 027 637 5783 or president@sva.org.nz or University of Canterbury Communications and Stakeholder Relations Manager Phil Barclay on 027 889 5636.