Life / Student life

10 things to know and love about the Wellington Community Justice Project!

By Claire Young and Mariah Hori Te Pa, Student Directors

The Wellington Community Justice Project (or WCJP) is a completely student-led charity at Victoria University of Wellington Law School. Here are 10 things you should know about the WCJP and the people who run it:

1. Our key motivators are social justice for our community and personal development for our volunteers. We identify gaps in society and work with other community organisations to try and fill them. Every year we build on and create new projects to reach more people in more meaningful ways.

2. In 2017 we have 240 registered members and 180 of those people actively engaged in a volunteering project. We have an exec team of 13 people who keep all this humming. There are four teams under the WCJP kaupapa: Advocacy, Education, Human Rights and Law Reform. Between them they run thirteen different volunteer projects that people can apply to join from 200 level onwards.

3. We have volunteering activities that suit all kinds of people! There’s teaching legal rights to young people or people of refugee backgrounds; writing submissions, information booklets, legal guides or other publications; writing letters to prisoners or on behalf of refugees; there’s campaigning, advising, researching, speaking, presenting and the list goes on! You can find out more about each of our projects at our website.

4. We are committed to meaningful diversity. That doesn’t mean having as many Māori people or women on our books as possible (incidentally we are about 80% women). That means allowing diverse people to bring their true selves to the role that they’re appointed. Don’t just put a label on your application form; tell us how that part of your identity makes you 1000% suited to the role and why you’re better for it as a person!

5. Our sponsor firm is Buddle Findlay. They help provide for our annual Summit, host our AGM at the end of each year and provide us with solicitor services when we need it. Thank you for your enduring support, Buddle!

6. Our office is OGB 118 in the stairwell and we love having people drop by to say hi. We also have a cookie jar in our office that sits almost invariably empty. Who steals the cookie from the cookie jar? It’s unconfirmed but we strongly suspect our treasurer.

7. The WCJP is like one big whānau, and we’ve got a really close executive team. We’re in contact 24/7 thanks to our FB group, FB chat and Snapchat group. We especially love receiving snaps of Stephen’s beautiful “house giraffes” (aka greyhounds), Gabel and Lady. Apparently they are both “rescue doggos” even though Stevie is yet to name one person who they have actually saved.

8. We have the most amazing volunteers! WCJP members generally volunteer for two hours a week – more in some weeks and less in others. We would be nothing without the students who give up their time to actually do the mahi. We throw events to celebrate our volunteers, host development opportunities, recognise ‘Volunteers of the Month’ and long-service volunteers, and share their stories on social media like the proud mums we are. We love our WCJP whānau and cannot thank them enough for their work!

9. For many of our ranks, volunteering with the WCJP gave us a purpose (and friends, lol) at law school. At OGB the environment can get very competitive and the material often boring. Volunteering with the WCJP lets you use the skills you’ve learnt to actually help people and channel your energy into something tangible and positive. And you get to be surrounded by a team of supportive people who are motivated by social justice too!

10. Every week we have news to share about our projects and volunteers – you can keep up with us by following our Facebook and Instagram profiles.

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Do you like all these things that we like? Helping real people, serving communities, doggos, icebreakers, and most importantly #justice? Our organisation is growing every year and we need passionate students to join our ranks and take up leadership positions to guide the WCJP into the future. Project volunteers can apply to join at our annual Launch and executive team members are elected at our AGM. Keep your eyes peeled for our AGM this October and our next Launch in March 2018!