Sam Johnson is the founder of the Student Volunteer Army (SVA), which organized 9,000 students in 2011 to respond to the recovery needs following each of the major earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand. Johnson's work with SVA has lead to his involvement with student volunteer efforts around the globe. Johnson and other SVA leaders were invited to Japan after the Tsunami to work with a like-minded team of students. And during 2011, Johnson was a keynote presenter at the New Zealand Volunteering Conference where he presented on the role of youth in disaster at the World Summit for Youth Volunteering in Colombia, South America.
Johnson is in his penultimate year studying law and political science at the University of Canterbury (he suspended his studies during the height of the SVA’s activity) and also is an elected member of the a Christchurch City Council Community Board. He has a strong vision for the positive change that can occur if technology at our fingertips is harnessed by Gen-Y to build stronger community relationships.
In 2012, Johnson was recognized as the Young New Zealander of the Year. The award recognizes individuals aged 15 to 30 who are outstanding and exceptional young New Zealanders who strive to improve themselves and their communities.