An AUT Sport and Recreation student will represent New Zealand at an international volunteering forum taking place in Russia later this year.
Second year student, Claudia Raven, will be the country’s only university student representative at the International University Sports Federation (FISU) volunteering conference in Kazan, Russia in July.
Funded by FISU and supported by University and Tertiary Sport New Zealand (UTSNZ), Claudia will spend a week at the Volunteer Leaders Academy International Forum held by FISU.
Representatives from 170 countries will come together to create a global movement of young volunteer leaders in university sports, stimulating intercultural dialogue and international cooperation.
Claudia was visiting her old secondary school in New Plymouth when she found out that she was the successful candidate.
“I was with my old Deputy Principal only a few hours after my final interview with UTSNZ when I got the call to say I was going to Russia. I cried, I was so stoked to get it.”
Looking forward, Claudia is most excited about using the forum to learn new strategies to engage people and show why volunteer work is so important.
“Volunteering isn’t a job, it’s a passion. It’s about being part of the experience and seeing others achieve greatness.”
Claudia’s commitment to volunteering is driven by her passion to give back to the sporting communities that have allowed her to participate and succeed.
In 2016, she completed 68 hours of sports volunteering, mainly through her netball commitments as an AUT player, umpire and manager for the Year 8 North Harbour Representative team. In the same year, she was selected as a recipient of the Woolf Fisher First-in-Family AUT Scholarship as the first in her family to seek to complete a university degree.
AUT Sport and Athlete Support Manager Bruce Meyer has worked with Claudia in her role as AUT’s representative on UTSNZ’s Student Athlete Commission and believes that her community spirit and ability to put others first make her an exceptional leader.
“We have no doubt this will be a fantastic opportunity for Claudia, and one at which she will represent the New Zealand tertiary sector well,” Bruce says.
While Claudia’s achievements continue to soar to new heights, her health condition has posed as an obstacle in the path of reaching these sporting successes. Claudia deals with on-going problems with pancreatitis which causes her abdominal pain, however doctors are yet to determine the cause or reason for having this problem so young.
“It’s been challenging at times dealing with my health issues, but from this experience I’ve learnt not to take the days for granted and to be grateful that I can be active outside and spend time learning and achieving goals,” Claudia says.
Now, she draws on her own experiences to help others and hopes that the expertise she gains from this opportunity will help her secure her dream job of working with hallmark and major events and teams around the world like the Olympic Games, The Cricket World Cup or the Silver Ferns.
“If moving away from home and studying at university has taught me anything, it would be the difference that you can make to your life and to this world. If you are really passionate about something, in the end you will succeed.”
To learn more about the FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy International Forum visit the FISU website.