"By 'paying it forward' to others, we allow ourselves to be open to a world full of learning and opportunities. It's these selfless acts of compassion that also welcome the act of giving back to the individual. This positive cycle of community engagement has every potential to inspire and empower the global citizens of today to collectively gain an understanding of how we can peacefully live together" - Jen, 2016 President

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What is The Big Lift?

The Big Lift is a volunteering organisation at UTS launched in 2010. Founded on the philosophy of 'paying it forward', throughout the year we run service projects to engage with university and external local communities. 

Annually in July (during the mid semester break), The Big Lift takes UTS students on a bus trip through regional Australia - 80 students, 10 towns, 9 service projects, 9 days, 2 buses. We visit regional towns to help them with projects such as land restoration, construction, and painting - all unskilled labour as our participants come from diverse backgrounds and educations. As we value community engagement, throughout the year we work closely with these communities to ensure we can make lasting and meaningful impacts through our visit. 

In 2010, one bus ran over eight days in July taking forty UTS students by bus through NSW and Queensland, stopping in six towns to help under-resourced community organisations. 

In 2012, two buses carrying up to eighty UTS students were sent out simultaneously.

In 2015, the trip was expanded by a day (from eight to nine) to have a joint town for the buses (this gives us the opportunity to have a greater impact on one place) , local service projects and on campus activities were increased, and an additional trip known as the Summer Trip with one busload of students over eight day was run (visiting Dalgety, Jindabyne and Gunning). 

2016 will be the first year The Big Lift will be travelling south through NSW and VIC.

The Big Lift aims to: inspire and show people how easy, fun and rewarding it is to give back to others, provide an opportunity to develop a sense of civic duty and leadership; connect city and international students with other parts of Australia to discover and learn more about the country and its people; allow students to meet new, diverse and yet like-minded people; and allow students to challenge and personally develop themselves. 

Our goal is to help create global citizens, empowered to explore the world beyond their own. 

What are the aims?

Our aim is to make a meaningful impact on the communities we work with through our service projects and activities. We also hope to foster a sense of civic duty and leadership in our participants, by giving them the opportunity to step out of the classroom and give back to the community in a practical way.

Who's involved?

The Big Lift is operated by student leaders, elected yearly by club members. They are assisted by the founders Melissa Bolton and Glenn O'Sullivan.

Where does the idea come from?

The Big Lift is based on an American university initiative called the Pay It Forward Tour. In 2009, Mel and Glenn joined one of these tours, leaving from Illinois State University in a town called Normal. Recognising the opportunities it offered, they adapted the model and began The Big Lift. You can read more about the Pay It Forward Tour here.

Would you like to jump on board?

The Big Lift runs annually in July, during semester break. Applications open in February - to find out more and stay up to date, please like our Facebook page.

Want to help?

The Big Lift would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. If you are interested in sponsoring The Big Lift, we'd love to hear from you!

The Big Lift