Our student volunteers

Meet some of our 2018 student volunteers and find out about their experiences with volunteering.

Volunteer firefighter relishes unpredictable role

As a volunteer firefighter, you can pretty much bet that no two days on the job will ever be quite the same.

During his two years as an operational volunteer, Calum McInnes has dealt with floods, car crashes, fires and a range of medical events.

It’s the variety of this role, and the privilege of helping people in their times of need, that make the job a special one, he says.

Calum spends an average of 10 hours a week training, completing routine duties and attending call-outs and community events.

The skills he has gained during his time as a volunteer at Greenhithe Station have proved invaluable.

“During my service, I have developed time-management skills and other skills that help at University such as teamwork, leadership and decision-making,” he says.

“Even my first-aid knowledge has been useful, as I have been called out of a lecture to attend a life-threatening medical event located near city campus.”

Calum’s proudest moment as a volunteer involved the resuscitation of a man who had suffered a cardiac arrest.

“It was very special to meet him alive and well three weeks later with his family,” he says.

Calum was also honoured to be named Firefighter of the Year for his brigade in 2016/17.

Volunteer firefighting is a role that works well with the demands of University, as Calum can study on campus during the day and then help the brigade during nights and weekends.

“I love my involvement and am very proud of what I do, I look forward to continuing my service.”

Mentoring others is the biggest reward

Eunice Ng has set her sights sky high, with plans to work as a doctor for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and St John Ambulance.

To help her realise this dream, she has spent the last 14 years volunteering in the St John Youth Programme, and is now also a volunteer ambulance officer.

When she turned 18 and was no longer part of the cadet programme, Eunice turned her attention to mentoring and teaching new cadets as a youth leader.

“I had gotten so much out of the programme and had enjoyed it so much I remained involved,” she says.

A recent promotion to Assistant Divisional Manager in Youth cements all the tireless work she has performed over the last decade or so.

On average, Eunice spends 10 hours a week honing her clinical skills, assisting cadets, and providing first aid at events, or frontline in the ambulance.

Managing her volunteer commitments with study is “a bit of a juggling act”, she admits. However, it has really helped her with time management, and she keeps her weekdays free for study.

Eunice’s proudest achievements are tied into the success of others within the cadet programme.

“My proudest achievement would be seeing the cadets I have taught gain the highest award in youth, compete at a national level, get promoted and grow into young confident leaders of their generation,” she says.

Variety the spice of volunteer’s life

Getting involved with the Duke of Edinburgh programme in high school led Emma Kerr to discover just how rewarding volunteer work can be.

She is currently a volunteer for CanTeen, and has also been a PASS mentor at O’Rorke Hall, and worked with Red Cross and Ronald McDonald House in Wellington.

Emma reckons volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, help other people, and develop new skills. It has also helped her connect with a wide range of interesting and amazing people.

“Volunteering for a range of organisations - like CanTeen, PASS Mentoring and business school clubs - offers great diversity of activities and skill development to keep it interesting,” she says.

“I enjoy making a meaningful difference in the community.”

Emma’s proudest achievements are tied in to her work with CanTeen.

“I completed a peer support training programme through CanTeen so being able to go into the community to support young cancer patients, siblings and bereaved siblings is very rewarding,” she says.

Emma balances her volunteer work with her studies by planning ahead. CanTeen is relatively flexible and allows her to sign up to help with the events or activities that fit best with her University timetable.

Emma plans to continue her great work with CanTeen and has recently joined the 'Listen Up' team, which focuses on advocacy.

‘Listen Up’ look to build on the work of previous teams around mental health promotion and recognising the signs of cancer, and Emma is happy to be able to assist with this advocacy-based work.

“This is an exciting new space with lots of opportunity to make a difference,” she says.

Helping students a rewarding role

Nick Coombe

For a few hours every week you’ll find Ravi Maharaj volunteering as a Student Advocate, offering a helping hand to his fellow students.

AUSA Advocacy offer academic, financial and personal advice, and are well-positioned to point people in the right direction should they need further assistance.

Ravi also spends time as a Career Leader in the Business School, helping students with job applications, CVs, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles.

“I found that I was not really doing anything productive with my spare time, so I decided to try out the Career Leader role,” he says.

“I immediately met great people and found that I was developing skills that were invaluable for my future. I also found it immensely rewarding and got the sense that I was doing something genuinely good for the student community.”

Ravi has been volunteering for the AUSA Advocacy for just over a year and has been a Career Leader for two years. He loves being able to help people solve the issues causing them grief.

“Every time someone leaves the office with a better sense of what they need to do to fix their problem, I am happy and proud of my role,” he says.

Being a volunteer on campus makes for a nice break from classes and study in the library, Ravi says.

“Two or three hours a week is not a huge commitment, and it makes time fly between classes.”

Ravi’s proudest volunteering achievements are tied to the sense of reward he feels whenever he is able to help a person out.

He is also proud of his Leadership and Service Award, which recognises his active involvement in various volunteering roles.