The Big Lift: A Nine-Day Long Encounter With Humanity By Aditee Hardikar

Leadership, selflessness, generosity, kindness, and humility.  The Big Lift instils it all.  Past volunteers have described it as: “the best experience offered at UTS to any student”.

As a student organization that strives to promote their message “paying it forward”, The Big Lift undertakes a range of volunteering activities and service projects to help communities. 

The whole idea of paying it forward means doing something good for someone else without expecting anything in return, hoping they pass it on.

In July, The Big Lift had their annual winter trip.  President of the Big Lift for 2018, Lucy Day-Williams says: “Something that surprises me every year is just how welcoming a group of strangers is to another group of strangers . . .”

“We’ve never met before, we’ve spoken on the phone a couple of times to one person and then you turn up at the town, and it’s like we’re already a family”.

The Big Lift, running since 2010, has visited many regional towns across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

This year, volunteers went to towns in NSW and VIC.  The towns visited were Mandurama, Wyangala, Whitton, Ganmain, Finley, Dingee, Hartcourt, Meredith and Skipton.

First-time volunteer Amy Wright said: “I’ve been shocked at how much this has impacted me.  I didn’t expect to go to all those small towns and experience such generosity and hospitality and kindness . . . even though what we did might’ve seemed so small to us it was something they were really grateful for.”

Shane Sachel, the principal at Meredith Primary School said: “I just think this project is an amazing thing for people to be involved in. I think it brings together people that have the same sort of values and expectations. I think its setting a good example of paying it forward”

Through the Big Lift’s annual winter trips, volunteers have visited a total of 59 towns 68 times since 2010. 2017 volunteer and 2018 crew member, Daniel Snell says:

“I think every year the trip’s different. You have completely new people every single year … no one knows what to expect so every year the participants make it their own trip and there’s aspects about every year’s trip that are different to the past year’s”.

Michael Jimenez, another volunteer said: “it was such a great experience, so different, it just breaks you out of your mould a little bit . . . you’re around such great people and it’s just a great experience, I would definitely recommend”.

Lucy Day-Williams says: “I won’t be part of the team next year . . . but I’m sure [The Big Lift] will continue to grow and improve so that we can keep making a positive impact for communities and UTS students”.

Applications for the 2019 Winter trip open in February.  Visit for more information.