With help from the UCSA, Student Life Canterbury made it to our National Conference at El Rancho, north of Wellington. Since the clubs from North and South Island Universities join together only once every 3 years this was an event not to be missed - most of us will only have one chance to go while we are at uni!
The grant provided a bus for students to travel between the airport and out to the conference location, an hour and a half north. We raised funds to help cover some costs through an 18km Walkathon. However, knowing that we didn’t need to pay for train and bus fares made the difference for some students who would otherwise not have been able to attend, along with relieving the pressure on our fragile bank accounts!
“Ignight” was the Conference’s theme this year: we all search after truth because it is with this truth that we can shed light on the big questions of life, death, purpose, and suffering. As a Christian Club, we find this light through our faith in Jesus. Not only is Igniting about the soul-searching stuff, but it is also about living a life that is full of spirit, fun, and a healthy dose of courage.
The six days spend with 300 other students were filled with so many valuable experiences. Each day met together to be taught and encouraged by national and internationally known speakers. They shared wisdom about a range of heart-hitting topics including ‘Igniting’ our passion into action and asking the question ‘Who am I?’ Then we would split into groups for a total of 6 interactive sessions. The teaching didn’t stop there: one day also included workshops on valuable subjects such as Mental Health and Emotional Resilience. Since we were meant to be on holiday, and not back at Uni yet, our days also included some wacky campus challenges, free time (aka nap time), and themed nights - these included a Zombie apocalypse, as well as an intergalactic quest (we’ve learnt to never underestimate the creativity of the leadership team!). Evenings were spent in deep conversation, having hot chocolates in the ‘Campfire Cafe’, or eating way too many biscuits while playing obscure card games. Some didn’t even sleep on the last night because the longer you stay awake the longer the conference would last right?! Needless to say, many of us were asleep within 15 mins of getting on the bus to leave the next day.
Through all the learning together, living together, and having a blast together we created and strengthened relationships with students from around the country and within our own campus. It is these friendships and our own personal growth that we have brought back with us to UC. A massive thanks to the UCSA for helping us out, it was such a worthwhile experience (and I may have to consider postgrad so I can go again)!