Stellenbosch University (SU) is striving towards a welcoming campus culture that will make all students, staff and visitors feel at home, irrespective of origin, ethnicity, language, gender, religious and political conviction, social class, disability or sexual orientation. This includes creating a multicultural environment that enables a variety of cultures to meet and learn from one another.
While certain aspects of transformation are already under way in various spheres of the University environment, the Vice-Rector for Community Interaction and Personnel was requested in 2012 to submit in 2013 a comprehensive and integrated Transformation Plan, which will be implemented with renewed focus and greater speed. The promotion of diversity is an important aspect of transformation at SU, but transformation also extends far deeper and wider than the demographics of the campus community. Other objectives include a welcoming campus culture, accessibility, a multilingual academic offering, systemic sustainability, better integration of learning and living spaces as well as residence and private students, promoting entrepreneurial thought, academic innovation and relevance to society.
The University indeed committed itself to the diversification of its student and staff corps to reflect the composition of South African society; however, what is also needed is a diversity of ideas and views that would stimulate new thought and promote excellence. This commitment is expressed as a key priority in two directional policy documents: the SU Institutional Plan 2012–2016 and the Strategic Framework for the Turn of the Century and Beyond (2000).
A diverse and welcoming campus community assists SU in expanding its knowledge base, strengthening its status as a leading institution, and remaining an active role player in building a democratic South Africa. It also ensures that the University delivers critical and active graduates, well able to take their place in a multicultural civil society.
To SU, academic excellence and relevance, broad transformation, diversity, student success and a welcoming culture are all inextricably linked. While the Transformation Plan is being finalised, SU is continuing its existing initiatives to transform its student profile according to its set objectives, and to establish a more diverse staff complement. Sport is also regarded as a powerful tool to promote diversity and unite people.