By Nicolette van den Eijkel, Chief Director: Facilities Management
I'm writing this on 21 November “World Hello Day". The day was first created in 1973 to promote world peace through interpersonal communication. I like saying “hello" to people – most people respond well and give me a smile. I can “trade" on a smile for quite some time.
After the last two years, we were excited that 2022 was going to be a good year, but for me, it seemed quite a hard year. Hard to re-start work on the campus full time, hard to hear corruption stories, hard to deal with excessive load shedding, hard to process student deaths, hard to process colleagues passing on, hard to see GBV, hard to see increased crime statistics, hard that people are struggling financially, and hard to read the Khampepe report.
For many years I thought that being emotional at work and showing that I was happy or sad was not good, but as I got older I realised that it's those very emotions that motivate me to do my job better. Facilities Management is about people – they may be in a building or a library or on a field, but it's always about people and obviously, by people too. So, leaning into the “hard" has been difficult but necessary. Taking stock, introspection, gratitude, anger, concern – lots and lots of emotions. But out of the “hard" the resilience and professionalism, pride, and care of the FM people remained obvious. We still had a good year. Prof Stan's 120-page report to Council detailed our RC successes, including positive feedback from international visitors, DHET, and others.
I hope I've been able to help and guide, and make the “hard" a little easier for some. I hope my hellos have rung out and got a few smiles. I know that many of you have kept me going and helped me through the “hards". Thank you for everything each one of you did this year to make our division a success.
For those that can take a break – enjoy it and rest. For those that will keep our campuses safe and the lights on, thank you, we appreciate your dedication.
I hope that 2023 is going to be a good year. Of course, we'll have a lot to do, ensuring that everyone feels welcome at Stellenbosch University being the priority, but as always, we'll deliver together as a team.