Uni and polytech students in Christchurch

Students at the University of Canterbury had only one and a half days of classes before the earthquake on Feb 22nd. The university then closed for three weeks. A number of buildings had red stickers, including the two newest buildings – Commerce and Law. On March 15th, classes for first year students began again in 14 tents. One tent is big enough for 250 students. The following week, second and third year classes were held in some of the wooden houses on the perimeter of the campus and in a few rooms in the College of Education or off campus. Other classes are on-line. Tomorrow, some classrooms in the Engineering school will be open and two libraries. About 80% of all classes will be offered from tomorrow. After Easter, it is hoped that tents will not be needed. New temporary buildings on the athletics track will be ready by then.

It is difficult for graduate students who cannot access their laboratories or offices. Spaces in the libraries are limited. Oxford University in England has offered 42 places for Honours and PhD students, with free tuition. The University of Canterbury will give a travel grant to those who are chosen.

Meanwhile, a large tent – named Intentcity 6.3 – outside the Student Union building is providing coffee and a place for students to meet between classes. It has wireless internet access too.

CPIT (the Christchurch Polytech Institute of Technology) is using church halls, Lincoln University and classrooms at their other campus where they usually teach trades, as well as on-line courses. Because the main campus is in the red zone, CPIT cannot use that campus yet. Some specialty courses like hospitality and chef training will have to wait until the Civil Defence allows people into the red zone. This may happen by the beginning of April.

Can you see the pun in the word Intentcity (intensity)? What is a pun? Why Intentcity 6.3?

Like many residents in Christchurch at the moment, students and staff have to be resilient. What do you think that means? What are the difficulties for students and staff at the moment?

Perimeter – around the outside of the campus. This is a mathematical word, used for the outer edge of a shape.

Trades courses are courses like motor mechanics and building.


  1. I wanna back to normal

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