How would you find escaping city life for a weekend to volunteer at some of the most picturesque places in WA?
Recently, Curtin Volunteers! wrapped up a series of John Curtin Weekend (JCW) trips for semester 2, 2023. The program, which is Curtin Volunteers! largest annual project, saw students participate in over 120 volunteer roles across 14 regional sites.
Students had the opportunity to work alongside local communities on a number of different initiatives, which included assisting with environmental projects, supporting a host of annual regional shows and lending a hand to maintain community facilities.
Across all four weekends, not only did our volunteers collectively contribute over 2800 hours, but they developed transferable skills, built their networks and created lifelong memories through their unique experiences.
This semester, the Faculties of Business & Law, Health Sciences, Humanities, and Science & Engineering generously sponsored students from each of their faculties to participate in the initiative.
Alicia is a tourism and hospitality student who recently returned from a JCW trip that saw her travel to Northam and volunteer with the Avon Valley Environmental Society.
“Back in India, I used to volunteer all the time in animal NGOs. I heard about the John Curtin Weekend and Curtin Volunteers! during orientation, and it was one of the things I was most excited about in my uni life. I went for it the moment I got the opportunity.”
Her time was spent assisting the rehabilitation of an island on the Avon River alongside a close-knit group, where they transported rocks to the island on pontoons to protect the land from erosion and filled up the blocked off area with dirt bags, vegetation and mulch to create an ecosystem for the diverse wildlife in the area. The bonding experiences, camaraderie and collective efforts shaped an unforgettable chapter of her university journey.
“I learned one thing about myself. I got to know that I can do anything if I push myself.”
Alicia’s spot in her John Curtin Weekend trip was funded by the Faculty of Business and Law and she was grateful to have the funding that went towards such a fulfilling experience.
Daniel is a psychology student who’s recent JCW trip to the Gingin Discovery Centre was funded by the Faculty of Health Sciences.
Daniel had been interested in getting involved in a Curtin Volunteers! program since the start of 2023, so when he saw the opportunity to do a John Curtin Weekend pop up on OASIS, he thought it was worth checking out – especially since the spot was funded.
“The Gingin Discovery Centre is essentially in the middle of the bush, because they’re trying to get away from as much light pollution as possible.”
“We did cleaning, moved around exhibits and helped with some chores outside, and it was with a bunch of people I had never met before, who were all nice and enthusiastic.”
“We were met with so much kindness and warmth. We only stayed there for a weekend, but then there was a heartfelt goodbye at the end. We were shown so much hospitality.”
“The funding made it a lot easier to get involved. The advantage the funding provided me with was the idea that I’d have nothing to lose if I didn’t enjoy the experience. But now that I’ve done it, it’s something that I’d be willing to pay for in future.”
For others who want to go on a JCW trip in the future, both students highly recommend it.
For Alicia, it was the connections she made with the people on her trip. “You connect so much with the people around you. You learn so much and when you finish the project, you feel so satisfied.”
For Daniel, it was the thrill of the adventure and jump into the unknown. “Just go for it. You really have nothing to lose. Give it a shot, and if you don’t like it, you would have still learned something about yourself.”