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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>
Two FMHS professors land prestigious Fulbright Scholarships http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10620Two FMHS professors land prestigious Fulbright Scholarships FMHS Marketing & Communications – Sue Segar<p></p><p>Stellenbosch University's (SU) Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) celebrates two faculty members awarded prestigious Fulbright Scholarships. </p><p>Professors Eileen Africa and Conran Joseph will use this opportunity to enhance their expertise in the US and contribute their learnings to South Africa's healthcare landscape. The Fulbright program allows South African university faculty to conduct research in their field for 3-9 months at a US institution.</p><p><strong>From local kinderkinetics initiative to US Play Strong programme</strong> </p><p>Africa, who heads up the Kinderkinetics honours programme within the Division of Movement Science and Exercise Therapy, travels to Ohio State University's College of Medicine in November to work with Prof James MacDonald, a paediatrician familiar with her Kinderkinetics work. </p><p>MacDonald is involved with a medically supervised wellness programme, called “Play Strong", which uses play to demonstrate the benefits of activity and encourages healthy fitness habits at home. </p><p>“Play Strong aligns closely with our Kinderkinetics programme at SU," says Africa. “Their programme is a part of the Nationwide Children's Hospital's offering, while ours is an external service. I believe I can learn a great deal from this programme and its application.</p><p>“I am interested in learning how they manage this programme in the hospital setting. We can certainly benefit from this," she said.</p><p>Whilst her main goal is to learn what she can at the hospital, Africa said she will explore the possibility of co-authoring an article with MacDonald or initiate a collaborative research project.</p><p>Africa, who has worked in SU's Department of Exercise, Sport and Lifestyle Medicine for 18 years, says the Fulbright Scholarship marks a significant moment in her career. “I took a leap of faith in applying, but I didn't want to get my hopes up. It's an incredible opportunity for my academic career. It opens doors to resources and expertise that I wouldn't have access to otherwise, setting a strong foundation for what I hope will be a fulfilling and impactful career in academia."</p><p>In terms of future plans, Africa says she aims to enhance the effectiveness of her programme, continue to have a positive impact on children in the community, conduct advanced research in paediatric movement science, and publish impactful papers.</p><p><strong>Co-creating a self-management model for people with neurological disorders</strong></p><p>Joseph, who heads the Division of Physiotherapy, will spend six months – from January to June 2025 – at the University of Vermont in Burlington, US, where he will be hosted by Prof Reuben Escorpizo. The two worked together previously on a large, ongoing international project relating to spinal cord injuries.</p><p>“Through this connection, we've developed a shared interest in support mechanisms for people with neurological disorders," says Joseph. “While at Vermont, we will work on an education-related project defining core competencies needed to promote self-management in persons with neurological disorders for rehabilitation sciences programmes."</p><p>The project developed from the need for a more behavioural change approach to managing rehabilitation services, and a shift from “hands-on" interventions to developing problem-solving capabilities and health literacy and self-management education amongst patients with health conditions such as strokes, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, etc.</p><p>“This project is of relevance to both South Africa and the US due to varying indigenous knowledge systems and explanatory models for health, wellbeing, disease and illness," explains Joseph. “To effectively guide towards self-management of health conditions it is essential to understand most of the explanatory models to ensure a culturally appropriate approach to building the therapeutic alliance and frameworks for enabling self-management."</p><p>He hopes his work will result in a “micro-curriculum containing constructs of self-management needed to effectively manage neurological conditions". </p><p>Joseph says he feels privileged to receive a Fulbright research award. “For as long as I've been in academia, it was always something I was striving to apply for one day and I was lucky to be successful."</p><p>He believes the award will provide further opportunities for networking and collaboration in the US. </p><p>“In my field and in the rehabilitation sciences, we have few collaborations with the US, yet there are several touchpoints and linkages with the US in terms of diversity, healthcare inequality, and social determinants of health and wellbeing that we can learn from."</p><p>Joseph says the Fulbright award also provides opportunities for networking and collaboration with the Fulbright network and alumni. He says he hopes to be an ambassador for South Africa, SU, as well as his Division and Department, whilst immersing himself in the culture and society of his host country.</p><p>“As the head of the Division of Physiotherapy, I also hope to promote the further internationalisation of my programme at SU."<br><br></p><p><em>​Caption: Professors Eileen Africa and Conran Joseph.</em><br></p>
Colleagues team up for fundraising successhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10602Colleagues team up for fundraising successDevelopment & Alumni Relations<div>​Stellenbosch University (SU) academics and senior leaders have taken up the opportunity to gain valuable fundraising insights at a recent upskilling workshop hosted by the Development and Alumni Relations Division (DAR). The workshop, in its second year, aims to equip participants with the skills and insights to solicit philanthropic funding.<br></div><div><br></div><div>This year’s workshop, entitled “Develop your fundraising pitch”, ran from 22nd to 26th April at the Stellenbosch and Tygerberg campuses and was coordinated by the Major Gifts & International Engagement unit within DAR. The week-long voluntary practice development sessions attracted participants from SU’s faculties, schools, and institutes.</div><div><br></div><div>Graeme Byrne, UK-based consultant at DAR, and founder of Lagotto Solutions, says it was heartening to see colleagues embracing the upskilling initiative.</div><div><br></div><div>According to Byrne, the job of fundraising at universities is not just for the fundraisers. "The philanthropic fundraising initiatives of the university will only be strengthened when DAR continues to partner with academics to raise the profile of the university. Therefore, many of the sessions focused on showing academics how they should go about interacting with fundraisers and how fundraisers should interact with academics. If it is done well, it means that the organisation is more likely to raise big gifts. So much of this is about building the right teams and working well together."</div><div><br></div><div>Byrne, who works with universities throughout the world to help them raise philanthropic income more effectively, says the aim is also to take the fear out of fundraising.</div><div><br></div><div>"I work with a lot of academics, and I always ask them, ‘What scares you about fundraising?’, and the response most often is the thought of being stuck opposite another person asking them for money. That thought can be quite daunting, but the truth is that most of the time they will be working with fundraisers who have years of experience in the field. The idea is that we will work with you to develop relationships and to identify the right time to ask for money.”</div><div><br></div><div>He says when you ask people to consider new ideas or do things that they haven’t done before, there is always a danger that it can be met by a level of cynicism. "But that was not the case when DAR presented the first upskilling programme in 2023, and judging by this year’s attendance, the programme continues to grow from strength to strength."</div><div><br></div><div>Director of Fundraising at DAR, David Marupen, says the upskilling programme was introduced to foster collaboration between DAR and SU colleagues, and to upskill and expose them to best practices that will help attract philanthropic support for projects and initiatives.</div><div><br></div><div>"We wanted to reach as many of our colleagues as possible through this programme because it also ties in with the long-term Strategic Fundraising Plan that we are developing. This strategy aims to not only guide our fundraising activities within DAR, but also within the broader institution," he says.</div><div><br></div><div>According to Marupen, the success of the programme has prompted DAR to plan and host more workshops in the future, ensuring this valuable training reaches a broader audience. ​<br></div><div><br></div><div><em>Photographer:  Ernest Birkenstock<br></em><br></div>
Irshaad's journey to successhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10568Irshaad's journey to successDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p>Irshaad Ahmad Parker's participation in the Stellenbosch University SciMathUS university preparation programme changed his life and taught him this profound life lesson: where you start out does not necessarily dictate where you will end up.<br></p><p>The SciMathUS programme gives high school learners who have already passed Grade 12 but do not qualify for higher education selection, a second opportunity to improve their National Senior Certificate results in mathematics, physical sciences and accounting. This will enable them to re-apply for university programmes.<br></p><p>Irshaad, who hails from the Cape Flats suburb of Grassy Park, explains: “The community I grew up in is not very supportive of youngsters pursuing their studies and one can easily get caught up in the elements the area is plagued with. But by equipping me with qualities such as punctuality and attention to detail, the SciMathUS programme made me realise that I am responsible for my own success. It helped me to unlearn the ingrained but mistaken belief that the circumstances I grew up in would determine where I would end up. This was a hard lesson to learn, but I am glad I did because now I believe I can accomplish anything I set my mind to."</p><p>He has no qualms about advising others to consider the SciMathUS programme.<br></p><p>“The programme gives you an opportunity to improve your marks while enjoying the full-on student experience. This offers a great advantage if you decide to study at Stellenbosch. Furthermore, many matriculants rarely ever know what they'd like to pursue as a career nor what their interests are. SciMathUS offers you the opportunity to find your niche, and what you'd like to pursue academically."<br></p><p>Irshaad says SciMathUS helped him to find his academic niche and the discipline to be successful in it.<br></p><p>“The programme helped me to realise that I have a passion for Biology, and after improving my math and physics marks, I enrolled for a BSc in Human Life Sciences at SU in 2017. This option was a great way to enter the sciences and helped to quench my thirst for understanding biological phenomena. Thereafter I pursued an honours degree in Biochemistry. This was a sensible option as Biochemistry offers a great variety of fields to explore."<br></p><p>During that time, he also distinguished himself in other areas, thereby exemplifying the programme's philosophy of delivering well-rounded, capable students and individuals.<br></p><p>“During my undergraduate years, from 2017 to 2020, I stayed in Helderberg Men's Residence. There I was a mentor for two years, chairperson of a critical discussion forum and served on the first year committee. In addition, I served on the Natural Sciences Committee as a social representative in 2020. I was class representative for numerous Biochemistry modules (214, 315, 345). At the end of my undergraduate studies, I completed my degree with a 73% average, securing me a scholarship for my honours year. During my honours year I lived at Huis De Villiers and received an award for being a section representative. I successfully completed my honours year, graduating cum laude. All of this was completed while working part-time for an international company (Systeme.io), launching a business (Local Cape Roots), developing another (Sprout Smart) and working on a contract basis as a project manager at family business Churchill."<br></p><p>In December 2023, Irshaad obtained his master's degree in biomedical engineering cum laude, also at SU. <br></p><p>“Upon the completion of my BSc Hons, I had set my sights on pursuing an MEngSc in Biomedical Engineering. This choice followed deep contemplation of future career prospects and personal development.<br></p><p>“When you think about a master's degree, one immediately thinks about research articles and experiments. While that is a great deal of mastering, the actual mastering is that of oneself. Principles such as discipline, time management and accountability, are really what the master's is about, for me at least."<br></p><p>He has signed a contract with the Panthera Conservation Organisation, where he will be taking point as their Conservation Support Coordinator. Using the skills from his research project, he will join the Panthera team in the fight against the loss of big cat biodiversity. “Our team will be implementing cutting edge machine learning techniques to track, monitor and protect big cat species in our wild parks," he says.<br></p><p>“When I think back to my SciMathUs days, I cannot believe the person I was. The transformation over these years has been incredible. I am so thankful and grateful for the opportunities and effort many of the SciMathUS staff put into me (you know who you are). I hope my success has brought you joy, and you can rest easy knowing that all that patience really fuelled my academic career."<br></p><p>He hopes, in his way, to be an example to the youngsters back home who are still stuck in the cycle of entrapment that he was so fortunate to escape.​</p><p><br></p>
SU awards honorary doctorates to economic expertshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10539SU awards honorary doctorates to economic expertsCorporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking<p>​​Stellenbosch University (SU) awarded honorary doctorates to two economic experts Profs Leonard Wantchekon and James Robinson at its March graduation. They received the degrees Doctor of Commerce (DCom), <em>honoris causa</em>, on Wednesday (27 March 2024) at two separate graduation ceremonies for the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.</p><p>Wantchekon was honoured for his substantive contributions to the fields of political economy, development economics and economic history, while Robinson received the degree for advancing the field of quantitative economic history in South Africa and for his commitment to working in the global south and actively collaborating with emerging scholars in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.</p><p>In his acceptance speech, Wantchekon, who hails from Benin, thanked SU for the honorary doctorate and said he felt honoured and proud for having received this incredible recognition. </p><p>“I am glad that I have been invited to join the effort to build strong, resilient, and cutting-edge academic instititutions in Africa, particularly South Africa.  </p><p>“This is a huge opportunity for me, and I cannot wait to engage personally and institutionally with SU and other elite universities, and the university system in South Africa. I am eager to continue what we have been doing at SU for the past several years."</p><p><strong>More about Wantchekon</strong></p><p>A professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, Leonard Wantchekon's 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>In 2014, Wantchekon established the African School of Economics (ASE) in Benin, his native country. The school identifies prospective African economists and policymakers and prepares them for industry or for doctoral studies. Several ASE students have since enrolled in PhD programmes in the United States and elsewhere.</p><p>Having previously held positions at Yale and New York universities, Wantchekon is a fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society, as well as an executive committee member of the International Economic Association.</p><p><strong>Prof James Robinson</strong></p><p>In his acceptance speech, Robinson<strong> </strong>said he was very happy with the great honour bestowed on him by SU.</p><p>“My collaboration with SU has been important to me personally and intellectually. Now I send my PhD students here as often as I can to work in the institute LEAP (Laboratory for the Economics of Africa's Past). The research at SU is revolutionizing the study of economic history of Africa and I just hope that I can be a part of that and scale it up to the whole continent."</p><p>Robinson encouraged the graduates to carry forward all the intellectual life and research at SU.</p><p><strong>More about Robinson</strong></p><p>Prof James Robinson is a thought leader on economic development and political institutions. His 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>With collaborators from SU, the University of Chicago and Harvard, he also embarked on a project focusing on women's political participation in sub-Saharan Africa in historical and contemporary contexts. The exchange between SU and Chicago remains active.</p><p>Robinson currently serves as Reverend Dr Richard L Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies, university professor as well as director of The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts – all at the University of Chicago.</p><ul><li><strong>Photo</strong>: Profs James Robinson and Leonard Wantchekon with their honorary degrees. <strong>Photographer</strong>: Stefan Els</li></ul><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p>​<br></p>
Psychiatry doctor continues family's PhD tradition; focuses on break-ups among emerging adults http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10532Psychiatry doctor continues family's PhD tradition; focuses on break-ups among emerging adults Corporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking [Alec Basson]<p>​Coming from a bloodline of academic intellectuals, it was only a matter of time before Alberta (Berte) van der Watt of Paul Roux in the Eastern Free State would scale the heights of academic success. She obtained her doctorate in Psychiatry at Stellenbosch University's (SU) March graduation on Tuesday (26 March 2024).<br></p><p>What makes her achievement special is that it brings the Van der Watt family's crop of doctorates to four – not something one encounters every day. Both her parents, Gideon and Ronél, and her sister, Lize-Marié, have PhDs – Gideon in Theology, Ronél in Psychology and Lize-Marié in History. They are also all Matie alumni. Gideon and Ronél obtained their master's degree at SU and their doctorates at the University of the Free State.</p><p>“I feel very proud to be able to hold my family's name high. I also realise how incredibly blessed and privileged I was (and still am) to have been able to study," says Van der Watt, who is currently based at SU's Department of Psychiatry.</p><p>“I always jokingly referred to the 'Van der Watt PhD disease' and said I wasn't going to contract it, but well, here we are."</p><p>Van der Watt's parents say they are very proud of their daughter's achievement, especially her hard work and perseverance. They also greatly appreciate her supervisors and the Department of Psychiatry for the opportunities they created for her.<img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/AlbertavdWatt_7.jpg" alt="AlbertavdWatt_7.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:540px;height:360px;" /><br></p><p>According to Van der Watt, she was never under any pressure to also obtain a doctorate like the rest of her family.</p><p>“I've been blessed with wonderful parents who allowed me to find my own path, do my own thing. They were always very supportive. My family has been incredibly supportive of me, giving me advice on how to break the back of the work, how to deal with the politics of academia, and how to keep praying."</p><p>Van der Watt says her path to academia wasn't exactly straight forward.</p><p>“I actually wanted to be a Haute Couture designer and first did a three-year diploma (and one year internship) in fashion design, as well as short courses and diplomas in event and conference management, among others. Things didn't work out the way I had planned so I decided to go to university.</p><p>“After obtaining my master's degree in psychology, I left academia and ventured into project and construction management. But the academic bug bit again and I became the research assistant to Prof Soraya Seedat at our Department of Psychiatry, and the rest is history."</p><p><strong>PhD research</strong></p><p>In her research, Van der Watt looked at the emotional effects (specifically post-traumatic stress disorder) of crumbling love relationships on emerging adults. Emerging adults are 18–25 years old.</p><p>She says research shows that these break-ups can be quite traumatic, causing symptoms similar to those seen after physical or sexual assault. The characteristics of these break-ups (for example, specific reasons why the relationship ended) can put emerging adults at greater risk of experiencing trauma.</p><p>“Recognising the traumatic nature of the associated experiences can help individuals to seek support and improve their mental wellbeing. The findings suggest that the use of trauma-focused treatments should be explored as potentially useful therapy to address the post-traumatic stress symptoms associated with crumbling romantic relationships among emerging adults."</p><p>Van der Watt says she had to process broken love relationships herself and the comments she received often made her feel as if her pain was not valid and her feelings were meaningless.</p><p>“As a result, the hurt, the break in confidence, the feeling of not being good enough was never truly dealt with. The emotional wound was only soothed, which makes people develop a distrust and an unhealthy attachment that has other negative consequences and can hinder future relationships. I realised there are so many other emerging adults who are going through exactly the same thing."</p><p>According to Van der Watt, her findings can help emerging adults avoid unhealthy attachment, stop the negative circle of bad relationships, and show more respect for their feelings.</p><p>“They are already under so much stress to find their way, find a career, find a life partner – if things don't work out, they need help and recognition of their feelings."</p><p><strong>Future plans</strong></p><p>Although she has already reached the pinnacle of academic success, Van der Watt wants to do another master's degree in clinical psychology and also combine clinical work and research.</p><p>“I desperately want to develop a trauma-attachment-oriented intervention for emerging adults struggling to cope with a break-up.</p><p>“I'm thinking specifically of a combination of long-term exposure therapy and rupture repair. For this, I need further education, especially in therapy."</p><p>Van der Watt describes herself as an open book. “My face has never been able to hide anything either." She says people are sometimes surprised when they hear she likes the German heavy metal band Rammstein.</p><p>Apart from her involvement in research projects in the Department of Psychiatry, Van der Watt is also a freelance editor.</p><p>When she has time for a break, Van der Watt goes to the gym, plays tennis or visits wine farms. She also enjoys board games, reading and watching television series.</p><ul><li><strong>Main photo:</strong> Dr Alberta (Berte) van der Watt at the graduation ceremony. <strong>Photo 1</strong>: Dr Alberta (Berte) van der Watt with her parents at the graduation ceremony. <strong>Photographer</strong>: Stefan Els</li></ul><p>​<br></p>
“Wheels of Opportunity” – Stellenbosch chemistry lecturer cycling 600km for student supporthttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10508“Wheels of Opportunity” – Stellenbosch chemistry lecturer cycling 600km for student supportFaculty of Science (media & communication)<p><span style="text-align:justify;">Dr. Marietjie Lutz, a first-year chemistry lecturer at Stellenbosch University, is embarking on an ambitious effort to raise funding for undergraduate BSc students facing financial challenges by cycling from George to Stellenbosch over the Easter weekend, covering 600 km in only six days.</span><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Lutz says the inspiration for embarking on this project came after trying to find ways of helping a bright first-year BSc student attending her classes in 2022: “The student was on the brink of homelessness and food insecurity. Despite facing immense financial stress, this determined student excelled academically, demonstrating resilience and determination".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Lutz then realised she can use her passion for cycling – she has, inter alia, completed the Cape Epic in 2016 and 2017 – to empower students who are dedicated to their studies, but lack the financial resources to complete the journey.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">With the support of her husband and four children, she will cycle mainly on gravel roads from George through the towns of Oudtshoorn, Calitzdorp, Riversdal, Swellendam, and Greyton to Stellenbosch. This unique fund-raising effort will take place over the Easter weekend, from 29 March to 3 April 2024.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">She invites individuals who share her vision of providing opportunities for promising students to contribute to this meaningful cause.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">To support the "Wheels of Opportunity" initiative, interested individuals can donate through the<strong> </strong><a href="https://www.givengain.com/project/marietjie-raising-funds-for-stellenbosch-university-south-africa-75358"><strong>GivenGain platform​</strong></a> (click on this link to make a contribution)<strong>.</strong> Every contribution, no matter how small, will make a significant impact on the lives of students striving for excellence against all odds. For those interested in participating or supporting the cause in any alternative manner, contact her directly at <a href="mailto:mlutz@sun.ac.za">mlutz@sun.ac.za</a>.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"> Together we can make a difference.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">​<strong>Event details:</strong> "<a href="https://www.givengain.com/project/marietjie-raising-funds-for-stellenbosch-university-south-africa-75358"><strong>Wheels of Opportunity: Cycling for Student Support</strong></a>"  (Click here to make a contribution)<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Dates:</strong> March 29 to April 3, 2024<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Route:</strong> George to Stellenbosch (via Oudtshoorn, Calitzdorp, Riversdal, Swellendam, and Greyton)</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Distance:</strong> Approximately 600 km in 6 days<br></p><p><em>​On the photo above, Dr Marietjie Lutz in front of her first year chemistry class in the General Chemistry building. Photo: Stefan Els</em><br></p>
Show your support for Global Recycling Day: bring your e-waste to the Rooiplein on Monday 18 Marchhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10506Show your support for Global Recycling Day: bring your e-waste to the Rooiplein on Monday 18 MarchPetro Mostert<p></p><div class="OutlineElement Ltr SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;clear:both;cursor:text;overflow:visible;direction:ltr;color:#000000;font-family:"segoe ui", "segoe ui web", arial, verdana, sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;"><p class="Paragraph SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin-bottom:10.6667px;padding:0px;vertical-align:baseline;background-color:transparent;color:windowtext;"><span class="EOP SCXW108861340 BCX0" data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":278}" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;"><span style="">To raise awareness about Global Recycling Day on 18 March 2024 and International Day for Zero Waste (30 March), the Environmental Sustainability team of Facilities Management is partnering with the UNASA student society, Wasteplan, and EWASA for an e-waste recycling drive.</span> </span></p></div><div class="OutlineElement Ltr SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;clear:both;cursor:text;overflow:visible;direction:ltr;color:#000000;font-family:"segoe ui", "segoe ui web", arial, verdana, sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;"><p class="Paragraph SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin-bottom:10.6667px;padding:0px;vertical-align:baseline;background-color:transparent;color:windowtext;"><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US" class="TextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;"><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">E</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">lectronic </span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">waste, or e-waste, contains numerous chemicals and heavy metals that can pose a risk to human and ecological health. It is also high-value material that can be reused and save the mining of raw materials. Keeping it out of landfill sites, recycling what is possible,</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> and discarding the harmful components in certified</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> responsible</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> ways is essential</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> for our planetary health</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">.</span></span><span class="EOP SCXW108861340 BCX0" data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":278}" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;"> </span></p></div><div class="OutlineElement Ltr SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;clear:both;cursor:text;overflow:visible;direction:ltr;color:#000000;font-family:"segoe ui", "segoe ui web", arial, verdana, sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;"><p class="Paragraph SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin-bottom:10.6667px;padding:0px;vertical-align:baseline;background-color:transparent;color:windowtext;"><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US" class="TextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;"><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">SU </span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">provides</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> a </span><span class="NormalTextRun SpellingErrorV2Themed SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;background-repeat:repeat-x;background-position:left bottom;">separate</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> collection str</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">eam </span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">for e</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">-waste </span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">on</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> our </span><span class="NormalTextRun ContextualSpellingAndGrammarErrorV2Themed SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;background-repeat:repeat-x;background-position:left bottom;">campuses </span><span class="NormalTextRun ContextualSpellingAndGrammarErrorV2Themed SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;background-repeat:repeat-x;background-position:left bottom;">and</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> </span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">works</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> with</span></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-ZA" class="TextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;"><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> registered waste management compan</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">ies</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> that legally</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> reuse, </span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">strip and recycle electronic waste</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">. For this effort, SU will </span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">receive a manifest and a safe disposal certificate for e-waste </span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">collected from campus</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">.</span></span><span class="EOP SCXW108861340 BCX0" data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":278}" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;"> </span></p></div><div class="OutlineElement Ltr SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;clear:both;cursor:text;overflow:visible;direction:ltr;color:#000000;font-family:"segoe ui", "segoe ui web", arial, verdana, sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;"><p class="Paragraph SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin-bottom:10.6667px;padding:0px;vertical-align:baseline;background-color:transparent;color:windowtext;"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-ZA" class="TextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;">Please note that only </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-ZA" class="TextRun MacChromeBold SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;font-weight:bold;">non-SU asset items</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-ZA" class="TextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;"><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> can be dropped off at Monday's yellow e-waste bins on the Rooiplein</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">.</span></span><span class="EOP SCXW108861340 BCX0" data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":278}" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;"> </span></p></div><div class="OutlineElement Ltr SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;clear:both;cursor:text;overflow:visible;direction:ltr;color:#000000;font-family:"segoe ui", "segoe ui web", arial, verdana, sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;"><p class="Paragraph SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin-bottom:13px;padding:0px 0px 1.33333px;border-width:0px 0px 1px;border-style:none none solid;border-left-color:initial;border-right-color:initial;border-top-color:initial;border-bottom-color:#000000;vertical-align:baseline;background-color:transparent;color:windowtext;"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-ZA" class="TextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;">Bring your e-waste on Monday and help us create a healthier environment.</span><span class="EOP SCXW108861340 BCX0" data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":278,"335572079":6,"335572080":1,"335572081":4278190080,"469789806":"single"}" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;"> </span></p></div><p>​<br></p>
Record number of Maties cyclists tackle Cape Town Cycle Tour to raise at least R350 000 http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10480Record number of Maties cyclists tackle Cape Town Cycle Tour to raise at least R350 000 Corporate Communication & Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie & Bemarking [Anél Lewis]<p>​A record number of 70 cyclists will be moving for Maties in need during the Cape Town Cycle Tour on Sunday 10 March.</p><p>Lead by Prof Wim de Villiers, Stellenbosch University (SU) Rector and Vice-Chancellor, the group of alumni, staff, students and friends of the University hopes to each raise at least R5 000 for #Move4Food, one of the priority initiatives that form part of the University's Bridge the Gap fundraising campaign. </p><p>Combined, the efforts of this intrepid group of veteran and newbie cyclists could raise at least R350 000 to help hungry SU students who may not have the financial resources to cover their food costs while they are on campus. </p><p>While in the past, participants taking part in the event to raise funds for the University used to be able to choose their own cause, the dire need to support students grappling with food security led to the decision to concentrate the cycle tour's fundraising efforts in Move4Food. “The need for support keeps growing each year. This year alone at least 5 000 students are silently battling hunger," explained Alwin Mabuza of SU Development and Alumni Relations, “and we want to change that." </p><p>Speaking at the official jersey handover ceremony this week, Mabuza added that the student-led campaign is one of the ways in which SU can provide immediate relief for hungry students. Viwe Benxa, Alumni Participation Coordinator, shared some of the stories of students who have benefitted from the campaign in recent years. “Poverty is not a choice, and Move4Food is the reason why we can still smile and retain our dignity," reported one of the beneficiaries. </p><p>The number of SU cyclists taking part for a worthy cause has grown from five a few years ago to a substantial 70 participants. “Next year, we aim for 100," quipped De Villiers, who will take part in 2025 for the last time as Rector and Vice-Chancellor as his term ends. A veteran of the 109 km event, Prof De Villiers shared sage advice for the debutants encountering Suikerbossie for the first time. “You are going to be having a lot of fun while doing good. When you go up Suikerbossie, just start singing. Soon, others will join and that, as well as the shouts of 'Go Maties', will carry you through." Admitting to having not done much training, he said he was hopeful that “muscle memory" would carry him over the line.</p><p>Brandon Como, SU Event and Security Operations Officer, agreed that the spectators' cheers would help tired legs keep moving. “Also, hearing shouts of Move4Food during the race are a reminder that there is a bigger cause behind you." Ferdinand Mettler of the Stellenbosch Business School is cycling to raise funds for the Future Fund, which supports postgraduate students with bursaries. Admitting that he is “one of those cyclists who gets a push up Suikerbossie", he said knowing the hard work was for a worthy cause made the efforts worthwhile. “We want to make a difference."</p><p>First-time participants and postgraduate students Siphiwe Phetla and Tendani Tshauambea said they're taking part as their way of “paying it forward." Both have firsthand experience of the difference #Move4Food can make in the lives of students in need. “This is my way of giving back, as I too have received support from SU," said Tshauambea. While nervous about the daunting 109 kms that await him in less than two weeks' time, Phetla said he was looking forward to completing the race “for a greater cause". </p><p>Ferdi van Dyk, Alumni Participation Manager, said he was pleased to see the growing popularity of the fundraising event. “We want to build a culture of Maties making a difference on campus."</p><ul><li>To support any of the Maties cyclists taking part in the CTCT for #Move4Food, visit <a href="https://www.givengain.com/campaign/move4food"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">https://www.givengain.com/campaign/move4food</span></a><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> or go to </span><a href="https://www.givengain.com/campaign/move4food"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">GivenGain</span></a> and search for Stellenbosch University and its fundraising campaigns. <br></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
Engineering graduate plans to pay SU skills forward http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10420Engineering graduate plans to pay SU skills forward Corporate Communications and Marketing (Hannelie Booyens)<p>​​​When Kabelo Tlhabadira moves to the town Kathu in the Northern Cape in January to start his career as a civil engineer-in-training at the Sishen Mine, he will be accompanied by his younger brother, Onalenna. The main reason for uprooting the Grade 10 pupil from the brothers' hometown, Thabazimbi in Limpopo, is to impart the invaluable academic skills Tlhabadira has learned over the past five years at Stellenbosch University (SU) where he's just completed a BEng Civil Engineering degree.<br></p><p>“Most young people in Thabazimbi go work in the mines after school. The economy is very bad at home and there's little inspiration to make more of your life," Tlhabadira explains. “I want to make sure my brother gets a head start. He will start Grade 11 at Curro Kathu High School and I will support him over the next two years to get the best possible matric marks."</p><p>Tlhabadira has big dreams for his younger brother, hoping that he will receive a law degree from SU and one day make it to one of the world's top universities such as Harvard or Yale.</p><p>The confident young man, who graduated with flying colours on 13 December, is a completely different person from the uncertain teenager who arrived in Stellenbosch in 2019 to join SU's SciMathUS programme. This programme offers learners who have already passed Grade 12 a second opportunity to improve their matric results in specific subjects to enable them to reapply for university programmes.</p><p>Tlhabadira's mother, Maria, heard about the SciMathUS programme when he had already registered to study occupational hygiene at North-West University (NWU). His poor matric marks had limited his university options. “Although I never failed a subject, I was always an average learner. I passed matric with 45% for physics and 54% for maths. At the time I didn't realise what my potential was," he says.</p><p>A bursary from the Sishen Iron Ore Company-Community Development Trust (SIOC-CDT) enabled Tlhabadira to come to SU to join SciMathUS. At first, Tlhabadira wasn't sold on the idea. “I felt I was going to fall behind my peers. However, my parents reminded me that my marks were not good enough for the engineering courses I had applied for and that I had settled to study in a field I wasn't passionate about at NWU. They urged me to give SU a chance, also because it would mean I could get funding for my studies."</p><p><strong>Radical improvement</strong></p><p>After completing the SciMathUS programme, Tlhabadira's amazing potential became evident. When he repeated his matric exams at the end of 2019, he received 90% for math and 85% for physics. The year at SciMathUS was a life-changing experience, Tlhabadira says. “SciMathUS was an eye-opener. It opened so many doors for me. I developed a deeper understanding of who I am and what I could achieve if I applied myself. It made me realise that I didn't have the right skills to study at school. I came to understand what's required to get the marks to make it at university."</p><p>Tlhabadira's first year as an engineering student coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures brought a fresh set of challenges. He found online learning difficult, but after he returned to Stellenbosch, things started improving. “Luckily, I passed the second opportunity of the first-year exams I had failed, and eventually I started to find the right balance. I realised I'm a slow learner and I had to put in double the time and effort to get the same results as the top students. I stopped going out with friends. At night I would review the work we did in class to make sure I was keeping up." As time went on, exams also became less stressful. “I was no longer panicking. I knew I had done the hard work."</p><p>Getting used to res life was another challenge, but Tlhabadira eventually became good friends with fellow-engineering students at Eendrag residence. “Initially, it was very hard. But as time went on, I started becoming comfortable and I blended in with everyone. I was committed to making the most of my university experience. Failing was never an option because I couldn't afford to lose my bursary. There were still days of self-doubt and times when I struggled emotionally, but I kept going because I knew if I succeeded at my studies, I could help my family. That's always been the biggest driving force in my life. <span class="ms-rteFontSize-2 ms-rteThemeFontFace-1" style="line-height:107%;"><span class="ms-rteFontSize-2 ms-rteThemeFontFace-1">I was also inspired to follow in my father’s footsteps, as he graduated as a mechanical engineer at Tswane University of Technology. He played a massive role in my education path</span>.</span><span class="ms-rteFontSize-2 ms-rteThemeFontFace-1">"</span></p><p>Tlhabadira says he will always be grateful for the impact the SciMathUS programme had on his life. “When I arrived in Stellenbosch, I was full of self-doubt. I used to aim for the bare minimum academically. The guidance I received from lecturers such as Dr Elza Lourens forever changed my life. She motivated us and her enthusiasm when we got the answers right was so encouraging. At SciMathUS I learnt study techniques and life skills that gave me confidence. It changed me from an average person into someone exceptional."</p><p>Tlhabadira is excited to apply his engineering skills in Kathu for the next three years while also getting practical experience as a PIT (professional in training) in the mine's projects department. After the completion of his work contract, he hopes to return to SU to start an MBA degree. If all goes well, both Tlhabadira brothers will eventually be proud SU graduates.</p><p><strong>PHOTO: Stefan Els</strong></p><p><br></p>