Our Kaupapa

The UC SVA believes people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities have something valuable to contribute to their community. We hope to introduce students to volunteering and inspire them to continue to volunteer throughout their university career and beyond. Through doing this, we give people hope that they can make a difference to something bigger than themselves, empowering people to act when it seems like nothing can be done. We embrace learning new skills and meeting others wanting to make a change in things that are important to them. All while celebrating our differences and supporting each other in the challenges we face.

What we do

The UC SVA organises four large scale volunteer events per year in the Canterbury region. These events accommodate between 100 and 800 volunteers. The SVA is one of the largest clubs on campus, with over 2000 members in 2021. From 2013 to 2021 the SVA has won “Best Community Contribution” and “Best Green Club” awards multiple times at the University of Canterbury Students Association Supreme Club Awards.

Why it works

The UC SVA believes people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities have something valuable to contribute to their community.

Our organisation is focused on learning new skills, meeting new people and making a positive impact in our communities.

How it works

The UC SVA is an incorporated society operated by an executive of 30 University of Canterbury students. The Executive is appointed each year by the Student Volunteer Army Charitable Trust. The Trust was established to further the values and ethos of the original SVA. The Executive works together to implement the club’s initiatives and create volunteering opportunities in the community for the students of the University of Canterbury.

Key events

UC Presents:
The Big Give

Established in 2017, and winner of the ‘Best Event’ at the UCSA Supreme Club Awards 2017, this is the first event of the year, catering for up to 800 students. This event aims to inspire and activate as many students as possible to give volunteering a try. Students head to a location in Christchurch to complete a large-scale volunteer project followed by a barbecue, live music and a celebration of the morning’s work.

Student Volunteer Army Camp

We run two SVA camps which involve taking 100 volunteers to a location out of Christchurch for the weekend. The camps typically run over either one or two nights, and include social events alongside the volunteering work. This event was established in 2016 and thus far we have travelled to the Marlborough Sounds, Akaroa, Hanmer Springs, and Kaikoura.

Citycare: Connect the Community

This event caters for between 200 and 500 volunteers and involves taking volunteers to a Christchurch suburb for the day and taking part in a wide range of small-scale volunteering projects. The mornings work is followed by a barbecue which is shared by the volunteers and the community members.

Platoon projects

The UC SVA runs a project catering for 5-50 volunteers every weekend of the academic year. These projects cover a wide range of volunteering efforts, from garden work to working with the elderly and animals. The smaller scale of these events means they can target specific needs within the communities we work with, and leave a real and positive impact.