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Maties lecturer tackling up-hill Comrades for students in need AND healthy brain cellshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10637Maties lecturer tackling up-hill Comrades for students in need AND healthy brain cellsFaculty of Science (media and communication)<p>​​Prof Ben Loos, head of the Department of Physiological Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU), will use the challenge posed by the Comrades Marathon – also called “the ultimate human race" – to raise funds for science students in need.<br></p><p>This will be his second Comrades Marathon, but his first time tackling the uphill race.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I know it sounds a bit mad to run almost 90 km, for fun. The run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg is going to be a tough run, almost a whole marathon length up-hill. I am quite worried, and that is probably a good thing!" he commented this week. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">But besides running for students in need, he has another reason for keeping fit! His research group in the Department of Physiological Sciences at SU studies the biology and physiology of the cell, using advanced microscopy and biochemistry tools to understand what goes wrong in our brain cells in the case of neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We know that exercise increases the levels of autophagy, a cellular process during which brain cells get rid of damaged proteins, thereby decreasing the risk for the onset of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. This is where my research interest and the running come together," he explains. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">He hopes to raise at least R20 000: “It has been a hard beginning of the year for the students, with many struggling financially, often because funding has been tight and delayed. Their resilience and grit are inspiring and wants you to do more," he says.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We are proud of our students, and we look to them for new ideas and solutions. They do the tough work, and often push past what is possible, for a better blot, a better micrograph, another repeat, a novel approach, and that often under immense personal pressure and financial vulnerability. This deserves celebration." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">While he enjoys the Comrades Marathon's incredible spirit of togetherness, it is for him also a celebration of life and conquering that which at first seemed unachievable.</p><p>Please support Prof Loos' initiative at the <a href="https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https://www.givengain.com/project/ben-raising-funds-for-stellenbosch-university-south-africa-78574&data=05%7c02%7c%7c95884a6ed7a947e5f5c608dc75ac867a%7ca6fa3b030a3c42588433a120dffcd348%7c0%7c0%7c638514631063788613%7cUnknown%7cTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7c0%7c%7c%7c&sdata=GUVPyj44jnbj6HLD/o0mBnDdE3BjKte17ihCzU2mvc8%3D&reserved=0">GivenGain platform</a>, where he will be joining a growing number of SU staff, students and alumni running the #Move4Maties Comrades Marathon for students in need. </p><p>Click <a href="https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https://chat.whatsapp.com/DD9JPhA0eky01q0E5tw0rF&data=05%7c02%7c%7c95884a6ed7a947e5f5c608dc75ac867a%7ca6fa3b030a3c42588433a120dffcd348%7c0%7c0%7c638514631063800000%7cUnknown%7cTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7c0%7c%7c%7c&sdata=Iab0Qxzg/EFEfo311cI6epJlwwah2OW5zLmpSJrUVF4%3D&reserved=0">here</a> to join the #Move4Maties Comrades Marathon WhatsApp group.</p><p>In April this year, <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10583">Dr Marietjie Lutz</a> raised over R60 000 for BSc chemistry students in need when she cycled a gruelling 600 kilometres in six days.</p><p>On the image above - Cells undergoing the process of autophagy: The green vesicles in the image are so-called autophagosomes – small vesicles that are responsible for the engulfment of cargo to be degraded. Here, the cell is very active and in the process of removing old and damaged proteins. These proteins are broken down into their separate molecules, which are then available again for the cell to build new ones or to generate energy. A very efficient recycling system at play. Images: Ben Loos<br></p><p>​<br></p>
Senate vote on Gaza resolution http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10597Senate vote on Gaza resolution Prof Wim de Villiers<p><span style="color:#4c4c4c;">​​Dear colleagues and students</span><br></p><p><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-3-4"><span> </span><br><span>Stellenbosch University (SU) respects and upholds the principles of safety and freedom of association as enshrined in our national Constitution. In this spirit, we support our academic and student communities in expressing their views peacefully and engaging in constructive discussions within the boundaries of University policies and the law. </span><br><span> </span><br><span>The University confirms that its Senate did not pass a resolution on the Israel-Palestine crisis. The motion was themed “Proposed resolution for Stellenbosch University Senate on the Genocide and Destruction of Scholarship and Education in Gaza”.</span><br><span> </span><br><span>Senate held a special meeting on Tuesday, 30 April 2024 to discuss the motion after it had been tabled at a scheduled meeting in March. Senate voted 80 for and 101 against the motion, and 18 abstained. </span><br><span> </span><br><span><strong>The proposed resolution read:</strong></span><br><br><span>Stellenbosch University Senate therefore resolves as follows:  </span></span></p><ol style="font-size:14px;background-color:#fffcff;"><li><p><span class="ms-rteThemeFontFace-1"><em>Call for an immediate ceasefire and the cessation on attacks on civilians in Gaza and Israel, the passage of humanitarian aid and the return of all captives including the safe return of hostages captured by Hamas, *and including the safe return of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons.​  </em></span></p></li><li><p><span class="ms-rteThemeFontFace-1"><em>Condemn the destruction of the education sector in Gaza and the massive scale of killing of teachers and university staff in the current war. </em></span></p></li><li><p><span class="ms-rteThemeFontFace-1"><em>Urge the international community to ensure that the provision of humanitarian aid includes the restoration of the education sector in Gaza.  </em></span></p></li><li><p><span class="ms-rteThemeFontFace-1"><em>Express our concern and opposition to any attempts to curtail academic freedom by labelling criticism of Israel or Zionist policies as antisemitism. </em></span></p></li><li><p><span class="ms-rteThemeFontFace-1"><em>Reject the definition of antisemitism by the IHRA. </em></span></p></li><li><p><span class="ms-rteThemeFontFace-1"><em>Express our support for academic colleagues in Gaza who are surviving under appalling conditions and our intention to assist in the rebuilding of the academic sector after the war. </em></span></p></li><li><p><span class="ms-rteThemeFontFace-1"><em>Express our solidarity with academic colleagues victimised for their willingness to speak out against the educaracide in Gaza.</em></span></p></li></ol><p><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-3-4"><span> </span><br><span>While the resolution was not passed by the majority of Senate, SU recognises that the Israel-Palestine crisis affects our community, and as such, it therefore emphasises that our institution stands firmly for the principles of peace, respect for human rights, freedom of expression, and the principles of International Humanitarian Law. As a leading university in Africa, SU acknowledges the importance of academic freedom, sharing knowledge and views in times of crisis and upholding platforms for the exchange of diverse perspectives, both within and beyond our academic community. We are committed to supporting and fostering environments where all viewpoints can be heard.</span><br><br><span>SU expresses deep empathy with all those who suffer, directly and indirectly, as a result of the unfolding humanitarian crisis.</span><br><br><span>The SU Rectorate also affirms that all academic discourse at Stellenbosch University takes place within the framework of the values of the University, namely excellence, compassion, accountability, respect and equity. This is also the basis for hosting and participating in conferences, webinars and networks; and for maintaining collaborative partnerships across the globe.</span><br><br><span>Our commitment to academic excellence and the well-being of our community is unwavering. We will continue to uphold these principles while navigating the complexities of this issue and other global challenges. <br><br>Click <strong style="text-decoration:underline;"><a href="/english/Documents/2024/Mailer_isiXhosa.pdf">here</a> </strong>to read the isiXhosa mailer. </span></span></p><p><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-3-4"><br><span><strong>Prof Wim de Villiers</strong></span><br><span><strong>Rector and Vice-Chancellor</strong></span></span></p><p><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-3-4"><span><br></span></span></p><p><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-3-4"><span>*The original message to staff and students did not include the phrase “and including the safe return of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons" – an amendment that was made at the Senate meeting.<br></span></span></p><p><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-3-4"><span>​</span><br></span></p>
Two honorary doctorates, many qualifications to be awarded at March graduationhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10517Two honorary doctorates, many qualifications to be awarded at March graduationCorporate Communication and Marketing | Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking <p>Stellenbosch University (SU) will confer 3 061 qualifications across 11 ceremonies during its March graduation week. Graduation, which is a highlight on the University's academic calendar, will take place from Monday–Thursday, 25–28 March 2024.<br></p><p>The March graduation brings to close the University's 2023 graduation series, which consists of awarding of qualifications during December 2023 and March 2024. </p><p>During this graduation series, the University recorded a total 8 870 qualifications - 5 809 for December 2023 and 3 061 for March 2024. The overall number of graduates increased by 2<strong>,</strong>4% from 2022 to 2023, with the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science recording its highest number of undergraduate qualifications, increasing from 442 in 2022 to 486 in 2023 (10% increase). The Faculty of Science also recorded its highest number of undergraduate qualifications, with an increase from 497 in 2022 to 571 in 2023 (an increase of 15%).</p><p>For this graduation series, the Faculties of AgriSciences, Engineering, Law and Science had the highest number of postgraduate qualifications on record, while the FMHS recorded a record number of 58 doctorates.</p><p>The prestigious event will also feature the awarding of two honorary doctorates to extraordinary recipients who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields and made a significant contribution to society.</p><p><strong>Honorary doctorates</strong></p><p>The recipients of the honorary doctorates include:</p><p><strong>Prof Leonard Wantchekon</strong></p><p>A professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, Leonard Wantchekon has made substantive contributions to the fields of political economy, development economics and economic history. His research centres on Africa, with a focus on democratisation, clientelism and redistributive politics, the resource curse, and the long-term social impact of historical events.</p><p>His innovative work includes research on political institutions and governance, for which he did field experiments with politicians competing in real-time elections to investigate the effects of policy and campaign messaging on voters' behaviour. Other ground-breaking studies related to the long-term economic effects of historical events, such as the Atlantic slave trade, on Africa.</p><p>Wantchekon will be awarded the degree Doctor of Commerce (DCom), <em>honoris causa</em>.</p><p><strong>Prof James Robinson</strong></p><p>Prof James Robinson is a thought leader on economic development and political institutions. He has played a key part in establishing and advancing the field of quantitative economic history in South Africa and is recognised for his commitment to working in the global south and actively collaborating with emerging scholars in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.</p><p>Robinson's affiliation with SU dates back several years. He supported the University as it prepared to host the first-ever World Economic History Congress in Africa in 2012. Engagements following this event precipitated the establishment of the Laboratory for the Economics of Africa's Past (LEAP) to elevate African voices in the disciplines of Economic History and Economic Development.</p><p>Robinson will be awarded the degree Doctor of Commerce (DCom), <em>honoris causa</em>.</p><p>*Click <a href="/english/honorary-doctorates"><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1">here</strong> </a>to read more about the honorary doctorate recipients.</p><p><strong>Academic home</strong></p><p>SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers commended the graduands and all those who championed them along the way.</p><p>De Villiers said a qualification from SU will open doors for graduates. “We have a good reputation locally and globally, aided by the fact that our graduates make a strong impact wherever they go," he said.</p><p>“I know the lessons that you have learnt here will stand you in good stead, and I hope you will continue to live by SU's values – equity, compassion, accountability, respect and excellence."</p><p>He also encouraged the graduating class to be part of their alma mater's future through its global alumni network. </p><p>“Please visit <a href="http://www.matiesconnect.com/"><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1">www.matiesconnect.com</strong></a>, where you will be able to maintain ties with your University friends, view job offers and find mentors and networking opportunities – all in one place. SU will always be your academic home, and participating in alumni activities will enhance your professional development going forward."​<br></p><ul><li>The ceremonies will be livestreamed at <a href="/streaming"><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1">www.sun.ac.za/streaming</strong></a><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1">.</span></li><li>Click <a href="/english/students/Pages/Graduation.aspx"><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1">here</strong></a> to find out more about the <a href="/english/students/Pages/Graduation.aspx">March graduation series</a>.​<br><br></li></ul>
SU newcomers officially welcomed for 2024http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10440SU newcomers officially welcomed for 2024Corporate Communication and Marketing | Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking <p>​The Stellenbosch University (SU) campus was abuzz with excitement during the official welcoming ceremony, held on 1 February 2024 at Danie Craven Stadium.</p><p>Thousands of newcomer students and their friends and family attended the event. This included students from the Tygerberg and Saldanha campuses. After the ceremony, students participated in the Dream Walk in Victoria Street. Launched in 2019, this initiative sees students walk through the street to symbolise the official start of their academic journey at SU.</p><p>Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, said the official welcoming ceremony was important because it helps to shape newcomers' sense of what university life will be like.</p><p>“I believe an event like this plays an important part in giving our new students a sense of identity; a sense of what it means to be a Matie," said De Villiers.</p><p>Both De Villiers, and Phiwokuhle Qabaka, the Student Representative Council's (SRC) Chairperson for 2024, emphasised the importance of embracing SU's values to use as a roadmap for their time at University.</p><p>“Excellence, compassion, accountability, respect, equity. Use these five words as your guide in all circumstances. They'll remind you that you belong here. The idea that Stellenbosch University is a place for a certain group of people, is long gone. This place is yours," said De Villiers.</p><p>Qabaka spoke about SU's history of exclusion, but appreciates the steps the University has taken to advance transformation.</p><p>“My experiences within this institution has groomed and shaped the proud black Xhosa womxn that I am today and continue to become. The words of our Vice-Chancellor constantly remind us that our university is not an English, IsiXhosa or Afrikaans institution, but a multicultural, multiracial, and multilingual university, where students from all walks of life are welcomed – embedded in unity."</p><p>At the start of his speech De Villiers also mentioned the ongoing investigation regarding the items found in two rooms of the Wilgenhof residence. He assured students and their parents of SU's commitment to students' safety.</p><p>“The safety and well-being of our students are non-negotiable. The University has a zero tolerance policy toward any acts, behaviour or structures that contribute to the demeaning of any member of the University community. We don't just want you to FEEL safe, we want you to know that you ARE safe," he said.</p><p>The official Welcoming Programme runs until 11 February before classes start on 12 February.</p><p><a href="/english/welcome"><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1" style="">Click here</strong></a> for the official welcoming website.​<br><br></p>
SU alumni dream team takes first place in Cambridge Misinformation Hackathonhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10346SU alumni dream team takes first place in Cambridge Misinformation HackathonWiida Basson (Media: Faculty of Science)<p>​A web-based plugin which addresses misleading numerical claims in online media reports earned three Stellenbosch University alumni first place in the <a href="https://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/39806/">Cambridge Misinformation Hackathon</a> recently.<br></p><p><a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/gregorfeierabend/">Gregor Feierabend</a>, <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/josephinerey/">Josephine Rey</a> and <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/luca-powell/">Luca Powell</a>, who are all enrolled for the MPhil in Advanced Computer Science at Cambridge University, are SU alumni in respectively mathematics, computer science and electrical engineering respectively.  All three of them are also fortunate to be on full scholarships: Gregor is a <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9872">Gates Cambridge Scholar</a>, while Josie is an awardee of the Patrick & Margaret Flanagan scholarship, and Luca is a Skye Foundation scholar.</p><p>According to Gregor, the trio have known each other since day one of their undergraduate studies at SU: “We have jointly participated in several competitions already, which probably makes us such a good team. In our first year, Josephine and I were part of the winning team of the <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6626">2019 Stellenbosch Hackathon</a>. All three of us are also regular participants in the <a href="https://cs50.harvard.edu/x/2023/puzzles/">Harvard Puzzle Day</a>, a fun competition hosted online by the CS50 Computer Science course at Harvard University".  </p><p>“Each of us contributes with different skills and different backgrounds to our team. The Cambridge Misinformation Hackathon emphasises the importance of interdisciplinary work - not only within computer science, but also in the humanities and social sciences," Gregor adds.<br></p><p>The Misinformation Hackathon is organised every year by Students Against Pseudoscience at Cambridge and supported by the <a href="https://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/about/">Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities</a> (CRASSH), also at Cambridge University.</p><p>According to the team, a significant source of misinformation lies in how numerical figures are reported on my official media outlets: “Probability principles are often misunderstood by the general public, and this is taken advantage of by the media," they explain in their submission to the competition.<br></p><p>For example, in one report bacon consumption is linked to a 20% increase in risk of pancreatic cancer. “This seemingly alarming increase does not, however, reflect the actual risk of initially getting pancreatic cancer: 1 in 80 people. A 20% increase to this initial rate would be 1.2 out of 80 people, which translates to 6 out of 400 instead of 5 out of 400 people getting pancreatic cancer, which is not as severe," they continue.<br></p><p>The team proposed a web-based plugin which can identify misleading numerical claims in online news articles and highlight these. When a reader then hovers over these highlights, an overlay clarifies why the claims may be misleading and converts any misleading numbers to an easily understandable format. For example:<br></p><ul><li>Relative claims are converted to a standardised format, e.g., “5 in a 1000" becomes “0.5%";</li><li>Relative changes are flagged as potentially misleading and the user is urged to do further research to find the correct context in which the claim is made, e.g., “50% fewer car accidents" could mean a decrease from 2 to 1 or from 200 to 100 incidents.</li><li>Rankings of absolute quantities are flagged as potentially misleading and the reader is urged to compare these with relative rankings, e.g., “more people die by car accidents than by shark attacks" might be misleading as it does not mention the relative risk of injury".</li></ul><p>According to Gregor the MPhil in Advanced Computer Science at Cambridge is half taught, half research-based and covers a wide range of subjects. <br><br> Josephine majored in BSc Computer Science at SU, followed by a BSc Hons in Information Technology at the University of Cape Town. At Cambridge, she is doing research to support Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in education in Africa. Luca completed his BEng degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at SU and is now implementing federated learning on satellite constellations for his research project. Gregor, who majored in BSc and BSc Hons Mathematics at SU, is doing research on the mathematical foundations of computer science to develop formalisms that allow us to prove software correct. <br></p><div><em>On the photo, from left to right: Gregor Feierabend, Luca Powell, and Josephine Rey. Photo supplied</em></div><p>​<br></p>
Message from the Rector - assessment wishes and important information about SU support serviceshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10275Message from the Rector - assessment wishes and important information about SU support servicesProf Wim de Villiers <p>​​​​​​​<br>Dear students<br></p><p> At the start of the November assessment period at Stellenbosch University (SU), I would like to wish you all the best with your exam preparation, final studies for the year, writing of papers and submission of year-end assignments and proposals. May you truly be awarded for all your hard work and commitment during a challenging year. Now is the time to focus and put in some extra energy for the final stretch, but it is also important to sleep enough and look after yourself.<br>  <br> Therefore, I would also like to use this opportunity to remind you of the important and valuable support services that SU offers to students during the assessment period. Please see below for information about security and shuttle services, psychological support, academic support, arrangements during loadshedding, venues with Wi-Fi and access to open dining halls and catering services for PSO and commuter students.<br>  <br> Please make use of these various support services and ask for help should you need it.<br>  <br> Best of luck! We are thinking of you and we wish you well.<br>  <br> <strong><em>Forward together.</em></strong><br>  <br> <strong>Prof Wim de Villiers</strong><br><strong> </strong><strong>Rector and Vice-chancellor</strong> </p><p><br><span style="color:#61223b;"><span style="color:#61223b;"><strong>SU SUPPORT SERVICES AND ASSISTANCE FOR STUDENTS</strong></span></span><br>  <br> <strong>Walk-with service – Stellenbosch campus</strong><br> We advise students to use the walk-with service that is available every evening from 18:00 onwards. Students can request to be accompanied by a security officer at night, when walking between buildings or parking areas on campus. This service is available throughout the year. Students can send a request via WhatsApp to 082 808 2333 or phone Campus Security at 021 808 4891.<br>  <br> <strong>Night shuttle service – Stellenbosch campus</strong><br> Students are encouraged to make use of the night shuttle service. This is a <strong>booked</strong> service for students studying late at night from the pick-up point at the Neelsie Student Centre to private housing in the broader town. The shuttle departs every hour on the hour from the Neelsie Student Centre, and transports students within a 7 km radius from the campus. Please make a booking via the MySun platform: MySun > Services > Reservations: Shuttle Services.<br>  <br> <a href="https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https://www0.sun.ac.za/sustainability/pages/services/transport/campus-shuttle-service.php%23Stellenbosch&data=05%7c01%7c%7cc44d7cc0847c42e0ccf208dbdaae02ec%7ca6fa3b030a3c42588433a120dffcd348%7c0%7c0%7c638344213128886450%7cUnknown%7cTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7c3000%7c%7c%7c&sdata=VfoDqLnV3t2mywwnM22xBLNjrSclVfnuBn6Oqdzpxeo%3D&reserved=0"><strong>More information</strong></a> about the shuttle service on the Stellenbosch campus.<br>  <br> <strong>Shuttle services – Tygerberg campus</strong><br> <a href="https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https://www0.sun.ac.za/sustainability/pages/services/transport/campus-shuttle-service.php%23Tygerberg&data=05%7c01%7c%7cc44d7cc0847c42e0ccf208dbdaae02ec%7ca6fa3b030a3c42588433a120dffcd348%7c0%7c0%7c638344213128886450%7cUnknown%7cTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7c3000%7c%7c%7c&sdata=cKfFB3ADPdAfWk8zc1cC5R%2BHKYdKGnG5rCtqRmR0OYg%3D&reserved=0"><strong>More information</strong></a> about the shuttle service on the Tygerberg campus.<br>  <br> <strong>Campus Security</strong><br> Please report any security-related incident to Campus Security. They are available 24/7.</p><ul style="list-style-type:disc;"><li>0800 02 5827 (tollfree)</li><li>021 808 2333 (Stellenbosch campus)</li><li>021 938 9507 (Tygerberg campus) </li></ul><p><strong>Therapeutic and academic support services</strong><br> The Centre for Student Counselling and Development (CSCD) offers professional support and counselling to students who are experiencing personal, professional or academic challenges, emotional or mental trauma or mental health challenges.<br>  <br> The CSCD will continue to provide support and therapy to students during the assessment period. The services are free and confidential.<br>  <br> To reach out for therapeutic support during office hours (08:00–16:00), please contact the CSCD at <a href="mailto:supportus@sun.ac.za"><strong>supportus@sun.ac.za</strong></a> or 021 808 4994 (Stellenbosch campus) or 021 927 7020 (Tygerberg campus).<br>  <br> In case of a crisis after hours, please phone the ER24 crisis line on 010 205 3032.<br>  ​<br> Students in need of academic counselling can contact the CSCD on 021 808 4707 or send an email to <a href="mailto:studysuccess@sun.ac.za"><strong>studysuccess@sun.ac.za</strong></a><br>  <br> More information on services provided by CSCD: <a href="/cscd"><strong>www.sun.ac.za/cscd</strong></a><br>  <br> <strong>ER24 emergency number</strong><br> 010 205 3032<br>  <br> <strong>Loadshedding – venues with power and Wi-Fi</strong><br> Students are reminded of the availability of workspaces with continued power supply and Wi-Fi access. These are indicated on the interactive campus map, which can be accessed <a href="https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https://campusmap.sun.ac.za/&data=05%7c01%7c%7cc44d7cc0847c42e0ccf208dbdaae02ec%7ca6fa3b030a3c42588433a120dffcd348%7c0%7c0%7c638344213129042745%7cUnknown%7cTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7c3000%7c%7c%7c&sdata=fNixOS5a5F31/QRWrMCoFXN0qaZHYlN2OemsLuYGkno%3D&reserved=0"><strong>here</strong></a>. Click on Layers and then on Campus Loadshedding. Please contact us at <a href="mailto:communication@sun.ac.za"><strong>communication@sun.ac.za</strong></a> should you have any difficulty in locating these spaces.<br>  <br> <strong>Loadshedding during assessments</strong><br> During the year-end assessment period, SU will ensure that adequate contingency arrangements are in place in the event of loadshedding disruptions. Please see the <a href="https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https://stellenbosch.evlink2.net/public/messages/view-online/14ApqSSo15jB5Dbg/xbpj9uarSLfF4VAW/ZtrXOTN4zsdNMSiv&data=05%7c01%7c%7cc44d7cc0847c42e0ccf208dbdaae02ec%7ca6fa3b030a3c42588433a120dffcd348%7c0%7c0%7c638344213129042745%7cUnknown%7cTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7c3000%7c%7c%7c&sdata=9lP1H%2BgnupUzLZE7ZJF3Iy3GY0SIDUDQchwR4%2BJclWA%3D&reserved=0"><strong>update from the Electricity Crisis Contingency Committee</strong></a> dated 17 October 2023 for more information.<br>  <br> Click <a href="https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http://stellenbosch.evlink2.net/public/messages/view-online/14ApqSSo15jB5Dbg/xbpj9uarSLfF4VAW/8c076d7f32b476af&data=05%7c01%7c%7cc44d7cc0847c42e0ccf208dbdaae02ec%7ca6fa3b030a3c42588433a120dffcd348%7c0%7c0%7c638344213129042745%7cUnknown%7cTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7c3000%7c%7c%7c&sdata=K9OPEneE4/IC9pE3DPFDN7ogUPkGEEZbOPTpDgc9D9c%3D&reserved=0"><strong>here</strong></a> for contingency arrangements with regards to loadshedding during exam.<br>  <br> <strong>Writing Lab</strong><br> The Writing Lab offers free writing consultations until early December. Students may book consultation sessions to discuss any writing issues, including assessment questions and responses to it; bursary applications; CVs; theses; proposals; etc. The Writing Lab will help students to identify whether they interpreted the assessment questions correctly and how they can improve their responses to make it clearer and more focussed.<br>  <br> Sessions last 50 minutes. Online sessions (via MS Teams) and in-person sessions (at 44 Banghoek Road, Stellenbosch) are available. Click <a href="https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https://apex.sun.ac.za/apex/apex5/f?p%3D210&data=05%7c01%7c%7cc44d7cc0847c42e0ccf208dbdaae02ec%7ca6fa3b030a3c42588433a120dffcd348%7c0%7c0%7c638344213129042745%7cUnknown%7cTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7c3000%7c%7c%7c&sdata=zV6Iq8ygfuPiMQdfi%2B/q11yFhd21ycNcjn3Bo3SPVKY%3D&reserved=0"><strong>here</strong></a> for the Writing Lab's electronic booking system.<br>  <br> For more information or assistance, please email Anne-Mari Lackay at <a href="mailto:amlackay@sun.ac.za"><strong>amlackay@sun.ac.za</strong></a> or Vinelene Hartley at <a href="mailto:vhartley@sun.ac.za"><strong>vhartley@sun.ac.za</strong></a><strong>.</strong><br>  <br> <strong>Meal of the day – open dining halls – PSO students</strong><br> PSO and commuter students have access to catering services in residences. During their first-year registration, each PSO/commuter student is placed within a cluster. They have access to open dining halls within each cluster. Check here to see your cluster: MySun > Accommodation > Accommodation Status.<br>  <br> Before any meal can be booked, students need to make sure that they are registered to use COB and to book meals. PSO/commuter students need to activate their meal account. Please see <a href="/english/Documents/2023/Registration-PSO-student-cards-for-meals-open-dining-halls-at-SU.pdf"><strong>this document</strong></a> for information about activating these services, payments and where the open dining halls are.<br>  <br> To book meals on the Facilities Management System (FMS), students should register on the MySun portal. Click on <em>“</em>meal booking<em>".</em> After students have registered, they are welcome to book meals on the FMS at the allocated open dining halls. The FMS is available on MySun and <a href="https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https://fmsweb.sun.ac.za/&data=05%7c01%7c%7cc44d7cc0847c42e0ccf208dbdaae02ec%7ca6fa3b030a3c42588433a120dffcd348%7c0%7c0%7c638344213129042745%7cUnknown%7cTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7c3000%7c%7c%7c&sdata=sV7ZqUQif6lKBtwOU5lkiIpG10VRSLje1qzcaf1QaSU%3D&reserved=0"><strong>here</strong></a>.<br><br> Menus and costs are available on the FMS. If students have any enquiries regarding meals, they are welcome to email Lynique Bergstedt at <a href="mailto:lab@sun.ac.za"><strong>lab@sun.ac.za</strong></a><strong>.</strong><br>  <br> <a href="/english/learning-teaching/student-affairs/csc/private-student-organisations-(psos)"><strong>More information</strong></a> about Private Student Organisations (PSOs).<br>  <br> <a href="/english/learning-teaching/student-affairs/csc/clusters"><strong>More information</strong></a> about clusters.<br>  <br> <strong>Opening hours of SU libraries</strong><br> Please click <a href="https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https://libguides.sun.ac.za/hours&data=05%7c01%7c%7cc44d7cc0847c42e0ccf208dbdaae02ec%7ca6fa3b030a3c42588433a120dffcd348%7c0%7c0%7c638344213129042745%7cUnknown%7cTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7c3000%7c%7c%7c&sdata=ja668dCfqDEg//9YOcdpxK7%2BjrtZgIubhlgyJgSDcx0%3D&reserved=0"><strong>here</strong></a> to access the various library opening hours.<br> <br></p>
​SU Archive – our University's institutional memory bankhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10201​SU Archive – our University's institutional memory bankCorporate Communications and Marketing (Sonika Lamprecht)<p>American writer and Nobel Laureate Pearl Buck once said: “If you want to understand today you have to search yesterday.” At Stellenbosch University (SU), an investigation into the history of the University would undoubtedly lead you to the SU Archive. In light of Heritage Month, the Corporate Communication and Marketing Division looked at the people, processes and infrastructure that preserve the history of the University.<br></p><p>The Archive was established in 1996 at the request of the former Rector, Prof Andreas van Wyk. The purpose of the Archive is to collect, preserve and make available resources related to the University and its predecessors, the Stellenbosch Gymnasium and Victoria College, to those interested.</p><p>According to Karlien Breedt who has been the head of the SU Archive since early 2011, there are several reasons and criteria that determine which documents are kept. “In many cases, we are required by law to keep documents such as administrative and financial records. Other documents are archived so that they can be made available for research. One often asks oneself the question: Will it be used in the future?”</p><p>Breedt and her colleague, Qobolakhe Bohta, staff the archive and are always looking for publications, photographs and documents that capture the history and heritage of the University.</p><p>The oldest document in the SU Archive is a minutes dating back to 1864 – even before the existence of the then Victoria College. “Although it has been restored, the contents of this document are unfortunately illegible. I suspect it contains information about the establishment of the then Stellenbosch Gymnasium,” says Breedt. Other documents include, among others, property rights, minutes of Council and Senate meetings, yearbooks, as well as minutes and records of faculties, departments and societies.</p><p>“We also have an awful lot of pictures of people, buildings and events,” Breedt says. “We have two major collections – the Watson-Lockley Collection which depicts the period from c. 1900 to 1960 and the Edrich Photo Collection which includes photographs from 1946 to 2000. Both of these collections include thousands of photographs depicting the academic and social life of the University.”</p><p>The Archives regularly receives donations when staff members retire. “We then have to work through all the documents, clippings and photos to see if there is anything of value. There are almost always boxes full of things in our storeroom that need to be processed,” says Breedt.</p><p>Although there is an inventory and database of all the documents housed in the Archive, it cannot currently be found with an online search. Many of the sources, such as all the editions of Matieland and the abovementioned collections of photographs, have already been digitised. The digitisation of resources is an ongoing process as it is a very efficient way of preserving information and making it more widely available. It is planned to increase the online findability of the material.</p><p>In order to preserve physical documents, the temperature is kept at a constant 18° C and the humidity is limited to 40–50% Relative humidity (RH). Regular inspections are also conducted to ensure that other pests do not damage the sources. According to Breedt, the frequent power outages due to load shedding are not ideal, but it helps a lot that the archive is housed in the storage space under the lecture hall on the first floor of the Krotoa Building because it helps to limit temperature fluctuations.</p><p style="color:#000000;font-family:"times new roman";font-size:medium;"></p><p>On 10 December 2010, a fire destroyed a large part of the Krotoa Building (then still the RW Wilcocks Building). Water used to extinguish the fire seeped through the floor above the archive, causing a lot of the photographic material to become mouldy. “With the restoration of the building, the Archive was also upgraded and equipped with, among other things, sliding racks and a new gas firefighting system," explains Breedt. The renovation work also led to the creation of research, exhibition and reading spaces.</p><p>Breedt and Bohta regularly receive requests for information that is used in the compilation of publications – be it a book on the University's buildings or 100th anniversary, or the centenary celebration of the Faculty of Science, or a thesis – the archive is a treasure trove.</p><p>Of course, the archival sources also include parts of SU’s history of which the University is not proud, but Breedt reminds us “that one must stay objective because those items have academic and research value”.</p><p>And between all the documents, minutes, clippings and photos, there are also things that amaze and sometimes make one giggle. “There are letters in which staff had to apply for permission to live outside the boundaries of the town,” Breedt laughs.</p><p>Another such example dates back to the early 1960s when trousers were not commonly worn by women. “During this time, students had to ask permission in advance if they had to travel to SU from afar by train and would be wearing trousers on their arrival at the University. That says something about the zeitgeist,” she reckons.</p><p><strong>Visiting the SU Archive </strong></p><p>The SU Archive can be visited by appointment. To make an appointment, follow this link: Archive visits</p><p>Visiting hours: Monday to Thursday: 08:30–13:00, 14:00–16:00; Friday: 08:30–13:00</p><p>The Archive is closed on weekends and public holidays, as well as between Christmas and New Year.<br></p><p><br></p>
SU geology student earns top presentation award at international conferencehttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10188SU geology student earns top presentation award at international conferenceFaculty of Science (media & communication)<p>​​​Research on the origin of gold deposits in the Kibali region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has earned a geology student at Stellenbosch University (SU) the best student presentation award at the biennial meeting of the <a href="https://e-sga.org/meetings/sga-biennial-meetings/">Society for Geology Applied (SGA) to Mineral Deposits</a> which took place in Zurich, Switzerland, recently.<br></p><p>Yann Mpaka Waku, a PhD student in <a href="/english/faculty/science/earthsciences/research/economic-geology">economic geology and mineral geochemistry</a> in the <a href="/english/faculty/science/earthsciences">Department of Earth Sciences</a> at SU, works fulltime as a geologist for <a href="https://www.barrick.com/English/home/default.aspx">Barrick Gold Corporation</a> at Kibali Gold Mine in the north-east of the DRC. At <a href="https://www.barrick.com/English/operations/kibali/default.aspx">Kibali</a>, regarded as one of the largest gold mines in Africa, his role is to better understand the Archean gold deposit occurring in the Congo Craton shield in order to aid further exploration strategies. </p><p>Waku's research, under the supervision of Dr Bjorn von der Heyden, was presented in the session on “<a href="https://sga2023.ch/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/SGA2023_session-7a.pdf">Advances in analytical techniques applied for ore deposits research and mineral exploration</a>". In his talk he presents a novel approach to classify pyrites, combining traditional textural analysis, mineral trace elements chemistry, and a new tool for visualising high dimensional data called <a href="https://pair-code.github.io/understanding-umap/">Uniform Manifold Approximation and Projection</a> (UMAP).  </p><p>Waku explains that it is very difficult to decipher the timing and mechanisms of how gold was mineralised within Archean greenstone belts, such as the one found at Barberton in South Africa and at Kibali in the DRC, amongst others. These areas commonly experienced complex and protracted geological histories over millions of years.</p><p>That is why geologists have started to rather analyse the mineral chemistry of pyrites, as pyrites are the most abundant mineral in ore deposits hosting the gold. The Kibali gold district is no exception, with an abundant supply of pyrites in the various ore zones. </p><p>“We therefore analyse the trace element signatures in pyrites to better understand the conditions that gave rise to ore formation," he explains.</p><p>Waku analysed 91 samples from 26 diamond drill holes at eight different sites in the Kibali gold district by using a method called <a href="/english/research-innovation/caf/Pages/ICP-MS-%26-XRF.aspx">laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry</a> and secondary ion mass spectrometry. In practice, this means that a laser is used to ablate the in-situ minerals, after which their respective chemical and isotopic compositions are measured using a mass spectrometer. The large and rich datasets produced by these analyses were then subjected to further detailed investigation using dimensionality reduction and other “big data" techniques.</p><p>Using these big data techniques, he was able to categorise eight different types of pyrites (based on their chemical composition), thereby creating a better understanding of the conditions under which they were originally formed.</p><p>According to Waku, this novel approach will prove to become an important method to improve the classification and interpretation of trace elements in pyrite: “I believe our approach has the potential to revolutionise mineral chemistry, especially in the era of increasing big data acquisition," he concluded.<br></p><p><em>On the photo above, PhD student Yann Mpaka Waku. Photo credit: Wiida Basson</em>​</p>
Winning team combines computer science and data science skills in Data School Hackathonhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10174Winning team combines computer science and data science skills in Data School HackathonFaculty of Science (media & communication)<p>A team consisting of two fourth year <a href="https://www.cs.sun.ac.za/">Computer Science</a> students and one third year <a href="/english/datascience">BDat Science</a> student won first place in the annual Data School Hackathon, which took place in collaboration with Standard Bank Lab and Mobylaz in August this year.<br></p><p>Wicus van der Linden and Daniel van Zyl, both BSc Honours students in computer science, teamed up with Christiaan Hildebrand, a third year student in BDatScience, after they had first met each other as undergraduates in Majuba's Men's Residence in 2021. </p><p>Wicus says they were interested in taking part in a hackathon challenge oriented around data science, as they have not had as much exposure to machine learning and data science during their undergraduate studies.</p><p>“We knew each other well from time spent together in residence, and we were excited for the chance to prove ourselves in a more real-world orientated challenge," Wicus says.</p><p>This year the challenge posed to students was to investigate and analyse a set of telemetry data of various taxi vehicles insured by Mobalyz, aiming to gain insight into various characteristics such as driver behaviour, risk, or performance. The data included more than three million events, from ten different vehicles, with observations including g-forces, speed, and location, Wicus explains.</p><p>Teams were given ten days to submit their findings. From the more than 40 submissions from 25 teams, six teams were selected for a final round of presentations. Monetary prizes were available for each of the top three teams, as well as a bonus prize for <a href="https://www.eng.sun.ac.za/hackathon-2023/">the best performing women's team</a>.</p><p>The winning team produced a decision-tree-based risk assessment model, classifying taxi driving behaviour based on similarity to known insurance claim information: “We made use of external datasets for features such as weather conditions and traffic information from Uber. We also analysed driver routes and parking behaviour to identify which vehicles had significant changes in their daily or weekly patterns, possibly indicating driver changes" Wicus explains.</p><p>According to Daniel, the hackathon exceeded all their expectations: “To be honest, it was fascinating to have the creative freedom on an open-ended task, and to have data to work with that had real-world implications and stakeholders. I think it really showed us how we as data scientists can get to work with different industries, people and datasets. And that even students can add value to a business market," he added.</p><p>The winning team also thanked the efforts made by the School for Data Science and Computational Thinking, Standard Bank and Mobalyz to put together such an interesting challenge. </p><p>On the photo above: The winning team, from the left, Wicus van der Linden, Daniel van Zyl and Christiaan Hildebrand. Photo supplied<br></p><p>​<br></p>
New bursary donor centre elevates the importance of supporting student successhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10153New bursary donor centre elevates the importance of supporting student successDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p>​​Stellenbosch University (SU) officially opened its Masiphumelele Centre on Thursday 31 August, signifying a significant milestone in the meaningful engagement between existing bursary donors and the recipients of their generosity, SU students. This accomplishment, championed by the Senior Director: Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) at SU, Karen Bruns, actively strengthens student access and success at the University.<br></p><p>Thursday's inauguration ceremony brought together bursary and scholarship donors, including the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, the Crossley Foundation, Carl & Emily Fuchs Foundation, the Russel Botman Bursary Fund, Moshal Scholarship Programme, ISFAP, Feenix and Students for a Better Future, along with students and members of the SU community. </p><p>SU Registrar, Dr Ronel Retief, one of the speakers at the occasion, said education is the foundation upon which dreams are built, futures are shaped, and potential is realised. “We recognise that for our students to truly thrive, they need more than just financial support; they need an environment where they can grow, flourish, and connect. This Centre embodies that vision, providing a space for meaningful interactions between students, donors and the SU colleagues supporting the various programmes."   </p><p>Retief extended her gratitude to donors for their unwavering commitment to transform the lives of countless students. "You all are valued partners in the collaborative effort to help our students realise their aspirations. Together we are working towards opportunity, empowerment, and hope."</p><p><strong>'Let us succeed'</strong></p><p>The isiXhosa phrase 'masiphumelele', meaning 'let us succeed', inspired the name of the Centre, which originated from the efforts of the Development and Alumni Relations Division to extend its services to bursary and scholarship donors. The Masiphumelele Centre was funded through generous contributions from a number of donors.</p><p>This revitalised space on Banghoek Road, Stellenbosch, proximate to the engineering, arts and social sciences, law, and science faculties, offers an array of features, including office space, consultation rooms, flexible workspaces for students and donors, an area conducive to guiding conversations and mentorship, and a small workshop room accommodating 12 to 14 individuals.</p><p>Bruns emphasised the altruism of bursary donors who wholeheartedly support students' educational pursuits and ambitions. “The Centre represents a significant step towards enhancing the University's service to these critical supporters of the access and success of our students, while also underscoring our commitment to our students' holistic well-being and dignity."</p><p>The name 'Masiphumelele Centre' emerged as the clear choice through a survey conducted in May 2023 among bursary recipients, donors and staff who will be invited to use the space. Through sentiment analysis it was determined that students appreciated the unified vision of the University, the SU donors and fellow students to succeed and progress, with one respondent saying, “The Masiphumelele Centre will be for a community of individuals who wish to work together for a better future." Another student said, “Masiphumelele is a call for all people to come together for a common purpose, which is to thrive, as all of us should."</p><p>Bruns, added, “The Division takes immense pride in fulfilling its responsibility of facilitating institutional engagement between donors and the beneficiaries of their generosity. The Masiphumelele Centre will be instrumental in creating a physical space for collaboration and a common purpose. As a testament to SU's dedication to nurturing these essential relationships with donors, the Centre is symbolic of both our commitment to a good donor experience and to our student success."</p><p><strong>About</strong> <strong>Development and Alumni Relations (DAR)</strong></p><p>The Development and Alumni Relations Division builds relationships, creates awareness and generates support for the University's academic, research and social impact vision. The Division strives to ensure the future success of SU by securing private philanthropic donations and engages donors on the priorities most important to them. Putting donors at the centre of the process, DAR fosters an environment where excellence in student, staff and community interaction can be achieved through philanthropy and corporate funding.<br></p><p>​<br></p>