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Student Discount and Free Wi-Fi!

Student Discount and Free Wi-Fi!

As February tipped over into March, Wellington began to swarm with life as university students from all over the motu (land) began gearing up for Semester 1.

During Orientation Week (O Week) and the welcome festival at Victoria University, The Salvation Army Cuba Street was onsite mixing with students. O-Week is dedicated to orientating students to the university and to the city of Wellington. Various organisations and businesses run stalls during O Week to ensure students know what they have to offer. Mindful of the many first-year students trying to navigate life in a new city, Student Ministries Coordinator Noah Spargo wanted to make sure students knew there was also a supportive and loving faith community which they could be part of.

‘Those who show up as first-year students don’t always make friends easily. It can be overwhelming, and some don’t naturally engage with the social activities that happen during O Week. The university can do all the very best planning around connecting students but if it doesn’t happen, who is there for those students? Well, we are. And there is a café space on Cuba Street where you can get cheap coffee and have a chat, as well as a loving church community who want to support you and see you thrive,’ says Noah.

Students and young people from The Salvation Army Cuba Street volunteered at the stall, alongside some more ‘mature’ corps members, giving away free coffee and chatting with students. ‘We intentionally presented ourselves as both The Salvation Army Cuba Street and Hamodava Coffee Shop, so that students could see our capacity as both a café with student discount and free wi-fi, as well as a community church. The coffee was just a conversation starter for us to share who we are and what we have to offer students,’ explains Noah.

‘We’re genuinely stoked because we have already seen fruit from some of those conversations. We had a young lady show up at church on Sunday because we had a conversation during O Week. She opened the door by asking us about church and we happily responded to her question! She showed up at church explaining that she thought she would just come and see what it’s all about on Sunday. Even if she’s the only one who connects in from the hundreds of coffees we gave away, well the effort was totally worth it!’

The invitation for students to come along to the ‘Coffee Shop Music Sessions’ at Hamodava Café on the Saturday night of O Week was also extended. ‘We were super stoked that so many showed up to the gig—it was a great success,’ explains Noah. ‘Students we’d seen or chatted to throughout the week popped into that space, as well as members of the public. We were stoked with how it went.’ More sessions were scheduled for Wellington’s iconic Cuba Dupa weekend.

While the team didn’t have the capacity this year to also be present at Massey University (Wellington Campus), they made a significant effort to connect with students at the Halls of Residence by giving out free vouchers for coffee at the café.

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