August 23, 2019

Student Facebook army helps clean up after Christchurch earthquake

Students on the go. No binge drinking or anti-social behaviour here, just hard work.

Following the Christchurch earthquake local university students have harnessed the power of Facebook to raise a 1600 strong army of helpers to assist the community with the massive clean-up.

Canterbury University students Sam Johnson, Bob Shearing, Jonathan David Darby and Gina Scandrett have put together a Facebook page called ‘Student Volunteer base for Earthquake clean up’ are are harnessing the power of the internet and changing some peoples perceptions of young people.

Project Co-creator Sam Johnson said “We have a spare week to do some good for the community. It’s the perfect opportunity to come out and do something decent.” Students have been on mid-semester break, but the earthquake has extended that another week.

The student volunteers plan is simple “Basically what needs to be done is door-knocking in teams and offering to help clear properties. Wheelbarrows, shovels, gumboots, yardbrooms … hunt them out!”

Mr Johnson, 21, said he got the idea from other Facebook events created after the quake.

Hoon Hay resident Ellen Cooper said what the students were doing for the community was heartening. “If anyone has never had faith in young people, well, now they should.” She said the students knocked on her door and asked if they could “do any hard labour”.

Christchurch City Council gave the students a priority list of the most damaged areas, and they have taken it from there.

Newswarped likes what they are doing – Go you young people!! Check out their page and see how facebook is being used as an an amazing tool to coordinate untrained people to make a huge difference to a broken community.


  1. Heard the students were in need of food and drink while they were helping out. How can I get in contact to help. Have tried the other agencies and put my name on their lists but they haven’t got back to me.

    • Hi This is pasted from the University of Canterbury Student Volunteer Army Facebook page:!/StudentVolunteerArmy?sk=app_4949752878

      Donations of Goods
      Donations of goods for care packages can be dropped to 62 Kahu Road.
      Lunches and baking for our volunteers (which are greatly appreciated!) can be dropped to 5 Orkney St.

      Fresh meat, veges, mayonnaise, gladwrap (no home baking please) etc can be delivered to the St Johns volunteers at Christ the King School on Saturday and/or Sunday between 10am and 2:30pm.Entry is located off Memorial Ave and Greers Road.If you have access to bulk food supply please phone Leonie Constable on 027 543 4440