Stellenbosch University (SU) will be welcoming more than 5 000 newcomer students to its campuses this week with the start of its official Welcoming Period, which will run from Monday 31 January until Saturday 12 February 2022.
In contrast to last year's virtual welcome ceremony due to the pandemic restrictions at the time, newcomer students will this year be officially welcomed in person by Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers as well as SRC chair Ms Viwe Kobokana. This will take place at the Danie Craven stadium on Thursday 3 February. In line with level-1 Covid-19 safety protocols, the traditional mass welcoming ceremony will be replaced with two smaller events, each accommodating a maximum of 2 000 guests.
At these ceremonies, newcomers will get to know the University management, student leaders, house committee members and fellow first-years. The first event, at 14:45, will be attended by newcomers from the Rubix, Validus and amaMaties student clusters, while the 17:00 event will accommodate students from Wimbledon, VicMeyr, Victoria, Tygerberg and Huis Neethling. Parents will have access to a video recording of the welcoming event, which will be available on SU's website.
The welcoming event marks the official start of the University's Welcoming Period, comprising a comprehensive and fully integrated programme of welcoming activities during the first two weeks of February. During this time, newcomers are introduced to all aspects of campus and student life, including academic programmes and the wide range of student support services at their disposal. “The programme features meaningful and memorable events as well as information and orientation sessions to help the new Maties start their educational journey confidently," says Mr Pieter Kloppers, director of the Centre for Student Communities.
Another two exciting events lined up are the Dream Walk in Victoria Street on the evening of Thursday 3 February (20:00–22:15) and the Vensters street theatre on Saturday 12 February (09:00–22:00).
Iconic Dream Walk into its fourth year
Following the official welcoming event, students will participate in the Dream Walk in Victoria Street in groups of 100. Launched in 2019, this initiative sees students walk underneath a banner hanging across Victoria Street to symbolise the official start of their academic journey at SU. Students also get the opportunity to attach handwritten cards with their dreams to one of the trees lining Victoria Street.
“The symbolism of the Dream Walk, being the moment when you begin your academic journey and start realising your dreams, makes it an iconic event for newcomers," says Kloppers. “Whenever they pass that spot again, they will be reminded of their dreams."
Vensters 2022 a ticketed two-hour concert
Another highlight will be the Vensters street theatre, which will be hosted indoors at the Coetzenburg centre on 12 February 2022 (09:00–22:00). Newcomers will perform in a colourful two-hour music and dance concert in regular intervals throughout the day. Parents and other guests can attend this ticketed event. All Covid-19 protocols will apply at this event.
Newcomers will commence with classes on 14 February, which will also mark the official start of the University's 2022 academic year.
More information about the University's 2022 Welcoming Period:
- Students have access to an online onboarding programme to help prepare them for the practical aspects of their studies. The programme is offered on SUNLearn, the University's learning management system.
- The University's website, www.sun.ac.za, contains all the information newcomer students may need. The full welcoming programme and additional details, including the registration schedule, transport details, personal safety guidelines and information about SU Library, are available here.
- Social media updates about the Welcoming Period will be posted under the hashtag #helloMaties.
- Heavy traffic is expected on all main roads to Stellenbosch as well as in town on 2 and 3 February 2022.