Accounting students recently displayed sustainability in action, participating in a beach clean-up fieldtrip at Point England Reserve, Glen Innes. This is a part of the course curriculum for the Not-for-profit Accounting and Accountability paper, designed to not only raise students’ awareness and knowledge of social, environmental and sustainability issues, but also to integrate teaching with social impact research.
Many registered charities in New Zealand are facing challenges in establishing and employing appropriate systems to record and analyse charitable activities for the purpose of service performance reporting and audit. This is a critical issue identified by Dr. Cherrie Yang and Professor Deryl Northcott from their current research project, which examines the efforts of regulators to promote performance accountability reporting in the New Zealand charity sector.
In order to equip our students with the knowledge, skills and learning experience to become change agents, not-for-profit leaders and contributors, a number of activities were purposefully designed into the fieldtrip. These included collecting, counting, categorising and weighting rubbish, followed by an interactive discussion. The students were also required to prepare a reflective assessment drawing on the fieldtrip.
This event was positively received by the students, with some good feedback about becoming more sustainable and environmentally active.
Brittany Bos said, “Our experience provided me with an increased respect for the volunteers who frequently give up their time in order to perform activities that bring them no financial benefit.”
Ridge Rego said, “We did a small bit in contributing to a better and cleaner future, but to have a bigger impact it is important that we raise awareness amongst our communities about the various social and environmental issues.”
Tammy Kairau also related the experience to a greater purpose saying, “I now understand that charitable activity is closely related to charitable purpose and mission - not only to keep New Zealand cleaner but to also give future generations a sustainable future. I have more appreciation for the work involved, and it has motivated me to become more environmentally friendly and sustainable in my actions.”
The event was also supported by the participation of members of the AUT Accounting for Social Impact Research Group, CPA Australia, and the AUT Accounting Student Association.
AUT Accounting for Social Impact Research Group