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Volunteering story Holly, left, Emjay image
Tauira Holly, left, and Emjay organising coat hangers Vogel St Hospice Shop recently.

While some tauira spent O-week securing their togas and decorating their dorm rooms, others offered a helping hand with local community initiatives.

First-year students from residential colleges put their hands up to volunteer at various locations around Ōtepoti.

The work ranged from painting fences to making toys for animals, and tauira were spread out across the city from Long Beach to Allanton.

Otago's volunteering hub UniCrew has connected first-year tauira to one of their 200 registered organisations since 2014.

Social Impact Lead Hayley Searancke says “O-week volunteering for students is a convenient way to see different corners of the city they will soon become very familiar with”.

“Volunteering is also extremely social. You get to meet like-minded people, and for many college residents, those first few weeks are crucial for meeting new people.

“It is a fulfilling activity for students to do, and an important part of contributing to their new home.”

Volunteering story Mario image
Tauira Mario cleaning boxes. He enjoys the comradery that comes with volunteering.

Law student Emjay Dickson and Geology student Holly Darragh from 192 Castle College were tasked with organising coat hangers at the Vogel St Hospice Shop.

Emjay started volunteering as a part of her high school curriculum and quickly grew a passion for helping others.

“The most rewarding aspect is probably just making it easier for people who volunteer here all the time. There's always so much to do, so we're just helping in the background.”

Holly volunteered at a hospice shop in Invercargill during high school and says it was nice to do something she was familiar with.

“I wanted to get out and about and into the local scene,” she says.

“It was also a way to meet people at the hall.”

Both tauira hope to continue volunteering throughout their studies.

Volunteering story Harrison image
Tauira Harrison says he enjoys giving back.

Commerce student Harrison Brokenshire also volunteered at the hospice and says the most rewarding aspect of volunteering is “giving back needlessly”.

“It's about not expecting anything in return. It gives you a good sense of worth that you can't find doing other things,” he says.

Health Sciences tauira Mario Ibrahim was busy at the hospice cleaning boxes “so that they could be sellable again”.

He says his favourite part of volunteering is the comradery shared with other volunteers.

“You get to communicate with people, whether you know them or not. You're doing similar tasks with each other.

“Plus you just know that you're doing good for your community. Having that in the back of your mind is always a good thing.”

Volunteering story image
Manager at Otago Hospice Taarn Scott (not pictured) says volunteers are 'incredibly valuable'.

Manager at Otago Hospice Taarn Scott says “it's incredibly valuable” having volunteers help at the shop.

“They honestly keep it together. You couldn't really run a space like this without people giving their time.

“Our volunteers generally serve customers or put our stock out on the floor. They also help keep the store looking beautiful.”

Unicrew is introducing a system this year that allows organisations to request volunteers from residential colleges directly.

“We hope this will encourage the amount of community service that our colleges participate in during the year,” Searancke says.

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