UTS students will cycle more than 200km and trek more than 100km through the Cambodian countryside to raise $60,000 for charity and develop essential leadership and life skills.
Fourteen students involved in the University’s ‘Beyond UTS International Leadership Development’ program (BUiLD) and who are members of the BUiLD Student Society will participate in the initiative that will see much needed funds go to the Oaktree Foundation.
Currently with 1,500 members, BUiLD focuses on developing student leadership abilities and capacities to make positive change in the world. The BUiLD Student Society has organised the trip.
Supporting the participants throughout the journey as mentors will be a select group of UTS staff and alumni. The mentors will take on two to three students to inspire, encourage and hone their leadership abilities.
Caitlin Ramrakha, a student leader in BUiLD said she and many other students wanted a broader view of the world, and to find ways to contribute to those with fewer opportunities.
"The world is becoming smaller and ever more globalised," Caitlin said. “Yet the differences between the wealthy and impoverished have never been greater. This initiative will let us make a difference in Cambodia while giving us life-changing experiences.
"We will experience the wild Cambodian environment and absorb the local culture for two weeks during January in 2013. Two of the days will be spent volunteering our energies to development projects taking place in Cambodia for locals."
The initiative is very much charity focused. Funds raised by the participants will be provided to The Oaktree Foundation because of its existing work in Cambodia helping schools in the poorest regions.
Chris Jones, another student leader in The BUiLD Student Society has worked previously with Oaktree. He said the organisation was started by and run by young people and had been involved in Cambodia for a couple of years. He said Oaktree was philosophically aligned with growing leadership abilities in the young.
"We hope that the University’s new relationship with Oaktree could lead to a lasting collaboration," Chris said. "We hope to create the template and structures that will enable future collaborations that could take place in other parts of the world where Oaktree has projects, and where there will be synergies for the BUiLD program.
"We hope to raise $60,000 for the organisation through a series of large and small scale events that will be run over forthcoming months.
"As well as funds, we are eager for support in the form of fitness equipment such as bike helmets, fitness training advice and help, and other forms of in-kind support."
To contact the BUiLD Student Society about donations or sponsorships emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Room is still available for participants in the program and also for mentors who may wish to get involved. Express your interest at the same address.