Stellenbosch University
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A Day in the Life: Chevaan Peters
Author: Corporate Communications and Marketing
Published: 24/05/2024

Chevaan Peters manages the Knowledge Management function of Social Impact at Stellenbosch University (SU). He oversees the Social Impact Platform and handles marketing and communications, ensuring alignment with SU's strategic goals. Peters' dynamic role fosters collaboration and drives impactful initiatives across the University, contributing to meaningful societal change. As we started May celebrating Workers' Day, we dedicate this series of profiles to our staff and their crucial contributions to the University.

​What does your role at SU entail? 

Being accountable for the strategic and operational management of the Knowledge Management function of Social Impact (SI) for Stellenbosch University (SU), which encompasses the management and institutionalisation of the Social Impact Platform web application and managing the marketing and communications of SU's SI strategy and initiatives.

What does a typical day at work look like? 

A typical day is dynamic and varied, filled with a mix of emotions and expectations. With a cross-cutting and connected role such as this, it ranges from administration to strategic planning, collaboration, and hands-on project management, prioritising deliverables, reflection and executing with excellence.

Sometimes as much as a day may have been planned, everything can change, and one must adapt to the environment and most pressing needs. Such is the nature of being in a support environment.

Being accessible is of vital importance. A key function of my role is to ensure the management of the SI Knowledge Platform, communication, and marketing, as well as ensuring alignment with SU's Institutional Strategic Intent and Strategy and the SI Strategic Plan.

Often my role involves guidance, support, advice, engagement, encouragement, continuous improvement, mobilising, encouraging collaboration, design, creativity, analysis, profiling, and connecting with SI initiative holders, administrators, heads of departments and deans, as well as facilitating and enhancing the uptake of social impact across the University.

Sometimes my role requires the ability to be a listener or a voice of reason, but at the end of each day, as I reflect, I am reminded of the importance of this work, the commitment, and the values of our institution and that the reward lies not in the doing but in the impact it creates and the lives it touches. The true reward of endeavour is not merely in the action itself but in the meaningful change it brings about, the positive influence it has on others and the difference it makes in society.

Ultimately, the reward lies in knowing that my efforts are contributing towards the faculties and environments fulfilling their SI mandate, influencing, and advancing processes, plans, and policies towards a better and transformative SU.

How did your education or past experiences prepare you for this job?  

I believe in the philosophy of continuous learning to bring about transformative impact, and my education and experience have laid the foundation in preparation of and complementing my role at SU. My BA in community development has equipped me with a deep understanding of the social dynamics and challenges facing marginalised communities, which is invaluable for this position.

Further, my decade-long involvement in community engagement within South Africa's higher education sector has provided me with practical insights into the complexities of addressing social inequalities and promoting education access.

Through active participation in various community initiatives, I believe I have developed leadership, communication, and collaboration skills, all of which are crucial for my current role.

More than education and experience is the passion for making a positive impact and a dedication to advancing the University's mission of creating positive social change and advancing knowledge in service of society. I have the desire to learn and in a role such as this, one has to be open to learning, one has to remain relevant and be an example. Bruce Lee once said: “Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do."

What do you enjoy most about your role and working at SU? 

At SU, I have discovered a wealth of knowledge, rich history, beauty, and life-transforming stories, people who are driven and passionate about what they do and why they do it, and innovative and impactful initiatives that foster a better tomorrow.

What is satisfying in my role is the ability to add incremental and meaningful value, the opportunity to make a tangible difference, being able to contribute to initiatives that address social inequalities, the opportunity to learn, unlearn and relearn, the opportunity to collaborate, the opportunity to discover, the establishment of lifelong relationships, the restoration of hope, the expression of joy.

Tiger Woods once said: “No matter how good you get you can always get better, and that's the exciting part."

Tell us something exciting about yourself that few people would expect?

I am a superhero fanatic. There's nothing quite like the thrill of diving into the epic battles between good and evil, where courage triumphs over fear and justice prevails against all odds. From the pages of comic books to the big screen, superheroes inspire us to believe in the power of hope, resilience, and the human spirit.

What truly captivates me about the world of superheroes is not just their extraordinary abilities, but also their unwavering dedication to making the world a better place. Whether they're flying through the skies, swinging through city streets, or standing up for what's right in the face of adversity, these heroes remind us that even the smallest act of kindness can spark monumental change.

And it's not just about the flashy costumes and superpowers — it's about the values they represent. From Superman's commitment to truth and justice to Wonder Woman's compassion and strength, each hero embodies timeless virtues that resonate with audiences of all ages.

As a superhero fan, beyond the thrill of the action-packed battles, what truly keeps me coming back is the underlying message of hope.

PHOTO and VIDEO: Stefan Els