Despite a hot and sticky summer day, which would have left most workers wanting to stay in their air-conditioned cool and cosy offices, Stellenbosch University (SU) staff members came out in droves to enjoy another fun and successful annual Institutional Sports and Recreation Day at the Coetzenburg Sports Ground.
A total of 433 SU staff members took part as teams in various traditional and recreational sporting activities, which included a fun walk, Zumba aerobics, chess, volleyball, bowling, soccer, darts and tag rugby to name a few.
Staff members could also mingle around a braai, sharing delicious food and good conversation throughout the day.
Launched in 2013, SU's Sports and Recreational Day was created to help improve the health and well-being of SU's staff, by giving them a special day to get away from the office and spend time strengthening relationships, relaxing and having fun with colleagues.
“Life is about a healthy balance," says, Dr Choice Makhetha, Senior Director: Student Affairs at SU, whose division walked away as overall winners of the Institutional Sports and Recreation Day trophy.
“Being overall winners for us it means we have a caring team; it confirms again that working as a team, bringing everyone's creativity on board, does wonders. In Student Affairs, we believe it is important to work and play. Having colleagues who are ready to play is wonderful, because playing awakens creativity and reminds us how important time spent together, out of office, is," says Makhetha.
At the event Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, welcomed the staff and thanked the organisers of the sports day, emphasising the importance of promoting staff wellness at SU, which helps create employers of choice at the University through team building events like this one.
The Institutional Sports and Recreation Day is facilitated by an organising committee, which comprises staff members of the Human Resources Wellness Division and Maties Sport.
The mission and vision of the Human Resources Wellness Division is to improve the health and well-being of SU's staff by providing accessible, effective and professional services to all through health promotion, assistance and support. It also wants to help the university have a well-balanced workforce who are able to function optimally in an enabling, caring and supportive work environment.
According to Shibu Mamabolo, Head: Employee Wellness, having events like the SU Sports and Recreation Day is a great way to promote staff wellbeing and teamwork among colleagues.
“The institutional sports and recreation day is an important instrument for social cohesion, emphasising physical fitness and staff wellbeing. Every year we hope staff engages meaningfully in a relaxed outdoor environment with each other, fostering teamwork and the importance of self-care," says Mamabolo.
Throughout the day, there was also an opportunity for staff to participate in some friendly competition. The other big winning teams for the sporting activities were:
- Soccer – Division of Student Affairs
- Volleyball – Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic from the Faculty of Engineering
- Tag rugby – Maties Sports Staff
- Netball – The Division of Student Affairs
- Tug of war - Information Technology (IT) Services
According to Shawn Hendrikse, Departmental Manager of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, the Sports Day is an ideal opportunity for all staff, support and academic, to take some time out to put their strengths together in a relaxed environment, have some fun, and forget about the stresses of work.
“The highlight was definitely winning the volleyball. The team has been practicing on and off throughout the year in a social setting. Winning the competition meant that the coming together not only foster better bonds, but can actually win competitions. This example of teamwork definitely illustrates that working together can achieve wonders. They went out to have fun and achieved the overall win," says Hendrikse.