The Big Lift is a volunteering society based on the philosophy of paying-it-forward. We believe that small acts of kindness and community service not only create a better world but also stronger leaders within our communities.

Across regional Australia, locally in Sydney, and on-campus, TBL has built on an already powerful social justice movement creating a bigger and wider positive impact to our surrounding communities. In 2019 we have built upon the amazing work established by executives over the past 10 years.

Our society is built around two core regional volunteering initiatives. The first is our flagship ‘BigLift’ event which is an all-encompassing 9-day volunteering road-trip where we take up to 80 students and visit 9 under-resourced regional communities across NSW and QLD or VIC.

Secondly, our ‘Little Lifts’ programs are shorter weekend versions of the ‘Big Lift’ and run over three days to regional communities closer to Sydney. ‘Little Lifts’ were established only two years ago and have grown in rapid success. 2019 will be the first year that three ‘Little Lifts’ will be run in the same year, and also the first year to have featured a ‘Little Lift’ that visits two towns rather than one thanks to our April trip to Mandurama and Canowindra.

These programs and our efforts have helped build a sense of community and leadership amongst participants through activities, events, serviced learning and the main community service, creating a comprehensive student experience that touches many lives throughout Australia.
When we visit a regional town, we are welcomed with the overwhelming generosity of locals who we have never met before – and nonetheless, they welcome us to stay in a local hall or classroom and provide us with dinner and friendly conversation. Through leadership and self-development based activities run by facilitators, we also give members the opportunity to be a leader or practice leadership skills. 
For our Annual ‘Big Lift’ Winter Trip this year, we wanted to provide an even more meaningful reflection and connection through the introduction of an ‘Educational Framework’. It featured the introduction of four key values; City & Regional Relationships, Community - Towns, Community - Within The Big Lift and Personal Development, alongside our defining attitude of Paying It Forward. Service-learning as part of the trip was structured as a 20-minute session of group discussion facilitated by leaders on four service project days, coupled with pre-trip and post-trip personal reflection times. 


For more information on how to donate or become a sponsor for The Big Lift, please feel free to contact the president at

“Each year The Big Lift trip is unique to the trips preceding it. With 80 new students coming from every faculty of UTS, bringing their own culture and life experiences as well as their individual personalities, each trip is unique to the participants completing it. As leaders of these trips, we see such bright potential in every single participant to be the change that they want to see in the world. The Big Lift participants are some of the kindest, selfless and most inspiring people I have ever met in my life and I know that these students will go on to achieve fantastic things in their lives.”


Communications Executive, Daniel Snell (Bachelor of Communications (Media Arts and Production), 3rd year)

“The Big Lift is unlike anything else I have ever seen during my time at university. Being able to experience the selflessness of 80 students all at once gives me hope for the future, as each of these individuals will carry these values with them wherever they choose to go. If we have more people paying it forward in communities every day, we’ll soon start seeing big changes in the world around us. I am humbled to have been able to have shared in creating this experience with so many wonderful people. ”

President, Melissa Jimenez, (Graduate Diploma of Management (Not-for-profit and social enterprise), 2nd year)

“What made me decide to jump on board was that no other society had such an opportunity to do volunteer work as well as to have a trip that goes for 9 days. Even before going on the trip the description of TBL made it sound like an experience that would be very different to what you can have in most societies.”


Participant Jun Miller (Bachelor of Management, 3rd year)

“The largest issue most people faced was the ongoing drought, and the way TBL was structured, I don’t think I would have learned as much about what its true effects were on the communities we visited unless we talked to the local townspeople and got their perspective. In that way I think it really contributed to my learning more about regional Australia.” Participant


Ruvi Ratnayake (Bachelor of Laws, 3rd year)