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NZ Community Organizer Visits Riverdale
Posted 11/12/2015 05:09PM

What's your earthquake?

Dr. Billy O'Steen of Christchurch, NZ, associate professor in community engagement and director of the University of Canterbury Community Engagement Hub, spoke to Middle and Upper School students today about how individuals can make a difference in communities.

In June, a group of Riverdale students and faculty traveled to New Zealand, met O'Steen, and learned about how his university is engaging with Christchurch. In 2010 and 2011, two major earthquakes devasted the city.  In the aftermath, a student posted a Facebook event asking others to help with removing soil liquefaction residue on the streets and gardens of the city. Thousands of students eventually joined the effort, creating the Student Volunteer Army.

O'Steen noted that Christchurch students have had a pressing reason to serve their communities, but that one doesn't need a disaster to find work that needs to be done.

"How can we make ourselves relevant to our communities?" he asked the Riverdale students. "What are the earthquakes that are here? What are the challenges that exist both locally and wider?"

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