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September 13, 2010 | by  | in News |
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Canterbury’s Student-University Relationship on Shaky Ground

Students pitching-in want university to do the same

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake that hit Christchurch last Saturday has left students in shock as a result of both the destruction and Canterbury University’s cancellation of their study week.

The Facebook group “Bring back study week!”, which already has over 2000 members, calls for students to email their respective lecturers in order to gain a class-free final week of term.

“It’s really unfair for us, especially with full year papers,” says a third-year Law student. “I don’t understand how they expect us to perform to the best of our ability without study week.”

Some lecturers, such as Commercial Law lecturer Sacha Mueller, have already cancelled their lectures during the last week for students.

The power of Facebook was also proven by a group of Christchurch students who have put together a “Student Volunteer base for Earthquake clean up” public event. The site lists where the clean-ups are occurring around Christchurch, provides details and maps, and transportation possibilities.

It also provides an opportunity for members of the community to pitch in, demonstrated through the offers of baking, snacks, equipment, and overwhelming numbers of volunteers evident on the page.

The response to cries for help in Christchurch has been phenomenal, particularly in the aftermath of such a shocking event, says one Canterbury student.

“It was bizarre, the reaction was jubilation that none of us were hurt, shortly followed by guilt because people lost so much. But I feel that, because of the help, there is at least some positive effect.”

This is particularly important with the new estimate of the cost of the earthquake damage coming to $4 billion.

There is still a possibility that more damage will result from the aftershocks, despite the fact they are slowing down.

Victoria University’s Dr John Townend says that these aftershocks are to be expected given the severity of the earthquake.

“This is what big earthquakes do. They cause aftershocks and they do rattle on for some time so nerves will be frayed.”

He says that the smaller shocks will probably go on for weeks, although they will become less forceful over time.

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