Source: University of Otago
Ignite has been matching students with external charities whose businesses they can positively impact.
Charities and small organisations can face challenges at the best of times but during a pandemic further obstacles can present in a multitude of ways.
For a group of students, this is where they can use their studies and passion for community to have an impact.
Ignite has been matching students with external charities whose businesses they can positively impact. During the most recent changes in Alert Levels, this service was put to good use.
Chief Executive Officer Clementine Rose who is currently studying Law and Commerce says the shift online this year was smooth after having experienced it in 2020.
“We were fortunate as we had everything in place from last year and all of our clients were happy to work online with us.”
Mike McInerney who is also studying Law and Commerce is currently a Project Manager at Ignite and has seen the positive side of flexible working.
“At University you don’t have as much flexibility with your timetable. It has been really cool being able to jump on a Zoom meeting at any time of day rather than scheduling it in before a business day would begin. For me personally I have found it super relaxed and my team has been on to it.
“The organisation my team is working with is Tactical Medicine New Zealand which focusses on the provision of medical care in high threat situations such as natural disasters.”
Law and Arts student Laura Brown is another Project Manager at Ignite. She says her team’s project has very much been shaped by the pandemic and seeing a need.
“We’ve been working on a project called Coalition of Trusts working with organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureau, Otago Youth Wellness Trust and Ministry of Social Development. Our goal is to bring everyone together to share resources for mental health support while creating a directory of mental health services available to the public.
“It has come about due to the need for mental health and wellbeing support as a result of COVID-19. It has been a year-long project with the first semester of this year focussed on developing an understanding of what this project needs to be. This semester is working in the implementation of our findings.”
Clementine says the team are now reaching the end of their 2021 projects at Ignite but with current Alert Level 2 restrictions the usual end of year wrap-ups are looking a bit different.
“At the moment there is a mix of in-person and online meetings. Some of our consultants are in Auckland so it really depends on what people are comfortable with and the Alert Level in the district.
“At the end of the year we usually host a presentation evening to showcase the different organisations we’ve worked with. It gives them a chance to be seen by local council and other organisations as well as share our results. With COVID-19 restrictions, hosting a large in-person event isn’t feasible. We are in the process of talking to different video making firms on how we do this as a substitute for our presentation evenings. Our counterparts in Wellington are doing a socially distanced event to present. It looks different to usual but we are making it work.”
The past year has been a busy time Ignite who, against all odds, have managed to make things work while supporting charities and organisations impacted by COVID-19.