“Our Stellenbosch University community has once again shown that we are a caring global Matie community, and everyone is willing to go the extra mile for our students. Thank you so much to each and every staff member, to our alumni, the friends of the University and to our students who have donated and taken part in the University's annual Giving Day. Together we make a huge difference."
These were the words of Karen Bruns, Senior Director of Development and Alumni Relations, after yet another successful Giving Day held on the Stellenbosch and Tygerberg campuses.
Giving Day forms part of the Annual Fund, Bridge the Gap (BTG), that aims to remove the obstacles that are hindering Maties from having a meaningful student experience and obtaining that sought-after degree. The University is raising funds for several initiatives under the umbrella of BTG. These include, #Move4Food, the Tygerberg Pantry Project, #Action4Inclusion, #GradMe, #Zim4Zim, End Period Poverty, #MatiesHaveDrive and Caught in the Middle.
Giving Day 2022 activities included a movie marathon at the newly revamped Neelsie Cinema, a spin-a-thon, a table tennis tournament, a tree decorating competition for residences and PSO's, an art exhibition and art sale, and a Matie run. Also part of the activities was the Faculty Trolley Challenge which was set in motion during last year's Giving Day when the Dean of Engineering Wikus van Niekerk and the Dean of AgriSciences Danie Brink set about raising funds for the Tygerberg Pantry Project. The aim of the Faculty Trolley Challenge is to collect non-perishable food, sanitary products, toiletries and funds for students in need.
This year eight faculties took on the challenge and managed to collect more than 15 000 non-perishable food items, sanitary and toiletry products. "There was some stiff competition among faculties this year, but in the end our Faculty of AgriSciences was officially crowned as our 2022 Faculty Trolley Challenge winner," said Viwe Benxa, BTG ambassador.
"It was really a massive team effort within our faculty. Everybody – lecturers, technical staff, support staff, assistants, our students, and dean of the faculty, came together and made this happen," added AgriSciences' Bongiwe Mhlongo.
Benxa said more than 100 donations were received via the various giving platforms. "In the meantime, all the non-perishable food items, sanitary and toiletry products have already been dropped off at the social workers' offices in Stellenbosch and at Tygerberg.
"Thanks to all the Giving Day supporters, we are now able to supply food parcels and toiletry packs to assist our students in the last quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023 – peak periods of need among our students," said Benxa.
He added: “Giving Day 2022 is done and dusted, but there are still plenty of opportunity to get involved. Perhaps consider donating the cost of your weekly coffee or take-away lunches to any of the BTG priorities. Birthday coming up? Ask your friends to donate to BTG instead of buying a birthday present. Want to get fit? Take on the open road, but first set up a fundraising page on GivenGain and ask your network to sponsor a kilometre or two. It's all up to you!"