UC supports SVA’s new youth Service Award

The University of Canterbury (UC) is expanding its near decade-long partnership with New Zealand’s largest student club, the Student Volunteer Army (SVA), to help spread its culture of meaningful volunteering to schools throughout the country with a new Service Award.

“The SVA is a hugely valued and important part of the University and vice versa,” says UC Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey. “We’re proud to be able to support the SVA’s excellent work spreading the ethos of meaningful volunteering in the community to younger New Zealanders.

“Community engagement is something that UC graduates are known for. It’s one of UC’s future-focused objectives to deliver an education that prepares our students to be enquiring and enables them to create and contribute to a better society.”

Professor De la Rey says it’s important to the UC community to make a positive impact on the hauora (wellbeing) and social sustainability of Ōtautahi Christchurch, Waitaha Canterbury, as well as nationally, throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

SVA Foundation Director Sam Johnson says the SVA Foundation is pleased to continue and expand the close relationship between UC and the SVA to build a culture of and ‘communitarianism’ among the nation’s youth.

“We value our partnership with the University of Canterbury and we look forward to working together to achieve the aspirations for stronger university and community engagement”.

2020 SVA Club President Isabella Fanselow, who is a UC Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) student, says: “As the largest student club on campus with over 3000 members, the SVA continues to thrive and grow.

“We know from our data and wellbeing survey that there’s a direct link between volunteering and student wellbeing. People join SVA to make friends and have fun, as well as to make a real difference to communities,” she says.

SVA Service Award

UC is committed to supporting the SVA engage with thousands of young New Zealanders each year through its major programmes of work, including at primary, tertiary and international levels, and now with the new SVA Service Award for secondary school students.

“We have 130 schools signed up and a further 150 interested which represents thousands of teenagers in 21% of high schools throughout the country,” says SVA Foundation Director Sam Johnson.

The SVA Service Award is a new national framework operating in New Zealand secondary schools designed to assist high school students to understand how their service/volunteering contributes to wider society and can advance their future career. The design of the programme supports students to: log their hours, earn service award badges, build a summary of service, and use their efforts to assist them in applying for jobs, internships, scholarships and halls of residence.

Student Volunteer Army

Forming in September 2010 to help Christchurch citizens post-quake, the SVA is New Zealand’s largest student-run club at the University of Canterbury (UC) with 3,000+ members and 29 executive leaders. The SVA organises four major projects annually, including the Big Give (next scheduled for 29 February 2020), two camps, and smaller projects every weekend of the academic year which engage UC students in local projects. The SVA club focuses on growing a culture of volunteering and community service by creating engaging and accessible volunteering opportunities for UC students. A core value of the SVA is that the club remains a student-led project but has additional advice, support and guidance from the Foundation and wider partners.

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