Operations and Finance
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#IdeasForChange Food Security Challenge: Elevating Stellenbosch's Futurehttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10187#IdeasForChange Food Security Challenge: Elevating Stellenbosch's FuturePetro Mostert<p>​​<br><br></p><p>Stellenbosch Network's fifth edition of its #IdeasForChange Challenge will focus on revolutionizing the way we think about food security to inspire innovative ideas and encourage entrepreneurship in our community. <a href="https://forms.gle/Ycut9THTi9GzZ4ZR9">Submit </a>your ideas to stand a chance of winning your share of R30,000 in cash prizes and more, to help bring your idea to life.</p><p>In the heart of Stellenbosch, a taste of change is in the air. Having been at the forefront of some of South Africa's most transformative initiatives, Stellenbosch has over the years developed many initiatives to help the town secure a sustainable future for its residents. Such initiatives radiate significance, serving as the bedrock for sustainability within communities like Stellenbosch. In this synergy, the quality of life is elevated, fostering a profound and positive impact.</p><p>To help identify and uplift visionary entrepreneurs, Stellenbosch Network proudly presents the #IdeasForChange Food Security Challenge, in partnership with the Agricultural Sustainability Education Lab and the Department of Science & Innovation's Regional Innovation Support Programme (<a href="https://www.risp.org.za/">RISP</a>). This synergy of minds and expertise seeks to identify, nurture, and celebrate innovative solutions that address food security challenges that are unique to Stellenbosch.</p><p>The competition aims to uncover and support the development of innovative ideas, business models, process flows, and technology with the potential to improve food security and the quality of life of citizens, lessen the social and environmental impact of rapid urban development and enhance the sustainability of local ecosystems on which Stellenbosch is dependent.</p><p><strong>Our food system under pressure</strong></p><p>Despite the developing climate crisis - evident through the increased prevalence of droughts, floods and extreme temperatures - the South African food system is under pressure to produce more healthy food for more people while conserving the environment. Food isn't just sustenance; it's a thread that binds families, friends, and communities together. Regrettably, many among us still lack access to nourishing and affordable meals.</p><p>Food security refers to the condition where all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and preferences for an active and healthy life. It involves ensuring that people have reliable access to an adequate supply of food without compromising their well-being.</p><p>Food security is therefore a major area in the realisation of thriving families, societies and economies in South Africa. We welcome all creative and innovative ideas that will help improve food security and develop efficient food systems in Stellenbosch within the following thematic areas:<br>• Agritech<br></p><p>• Food waste solutions</p><p>• Food logistics</p><p> <strong>Who can enter?</strong></p><p>The challenge is open to anyone living, working and/or studying in Stellenbosch and its surrounds or any business/initiative operating in the Stellenbosch region.</p><p><strong>Categories for entry</strong></p><p><strong>1. New idea:</strong></p><p>This category is for potential entrepreneurs and innovators without an established business, but with a good idea that makes business sense. These ideas should be innovative and financially sustainable and aimed at solving real issues related to improving food security in Stellenbosch. Existing or operational businesses may not be entered into this category.</p><p><strong>2. Existing Business/Initiatives:</strong></p><p>This category is for existing businesses that provide digital and/or technology-based solutions, to improve food security in Stellenbosch. These businesses might be formal or informal and for-profit or non-profit. Regardless of the nature of qualifying businesses, these businesses should be revenue-generating, have the potential to become self-sustaining entities, should not be donor-dependent (e.g. charities), or be a limited-timeframe project.</p><p>To enter, submit your ideas <a href="https://forms.gle/Ycut9THTi9GzZ4ZR9">here</a>.<br><br></p><p><strong>About <a href="https://www.stellenboschnetwork.co.za/">Stellenbosch Network</a>:</strong></p><p>Stellenbosch Network is a cross-sector and inter-disciplinary membership organisation that brings people together from industry, government, society, and academia with the aim of sharing ideas, fostering connections, and encouraging collaboration and partnership for inclusive economic growth for the greater Stellenbosch area.</p><p><strong>About Agricultural Sustainability Education Lab:</strong></p><p>The Agricultural Sustainability Education Lab is an agricultural innovations ecosystem enabler positioned for awareness, competencies development (i.e. communication, collaboration, and critical thinking) and agency towards sustainable systems transitions in the agricultural sector. It is a pedagogically inclusive, multi-disciplinary and cross-national environment that enables both collaborative inquiry and momentum in a sustainable and resilient agricultural sector. </p><p>​<br></p>
Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden celebrates its centenary during Woordfees 2023https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10173Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden celebrates its centenary during Woordfees 2023Petro Mostert<p>​The Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden (SUBG) - the oldest academic botanical garden in South Africa – will be celebrating its centenary during the SU Toyota Woordfees from 7-15 October with a special event called the Stellenbosch Flora Festival (SFF).<br></p><p>The festival will not only showcase the garden's incredible impact on conservation, education and academic support but will launch recent infrastructure upgrades and give visitors the opportunity to relax, unwind, create art, have fun, learn and explore. This is the inaugural festival of an annual event that will also generate funds to grow a newly established SUBG Flora Fund, directly supporting the garden's conservation work.</p><p>Says SUBG curator Dr Donovan Kirkwood: “We are excited to showcase what we have achieved over the past century during this unique festival. We invite the Stellenbosch community to come and enjoy the activities we've planned and see what the garden has to offer during this special week."</p><p>Established in 1922, you will find this unique botanical garden of 1,7 ha in the centre of Stellenbosch, located in the Cape Floristic Region's botanical diversity, specifically within the highly threatened lowland ecosystems of the wine-growing regions.</p><p>SUBG's impact on plant and habitat conservation is visible in multiple initiatives. As an academic garden - a teaching garden - substantially supported and funded by Stellenbosch University resources and stakeholders, the garden also supports aligned academic work, with academic expertise in turn adding tremendous value to research and conservation collections, and educational content. “SUBG not only holds key living collections supporting long-term research programmes at SU; it is also the perfect place to showcase the fascinating and relatable research work being done. Our world-class <em>Oxalis</em> living collection and many other projects are only possible because of the collaboration between SUBG and Stellenbosch University academic colleagues," says Kirkwood.</p><p>SUBG now has nearly three hundred conservation-grade collections of species that are at real risk of outright extinction in the wild. Most are from the immediate surrounding Winelands.  Unlike most botanical garden collections in South Africa or worldwide, SUBG <em>ex-situ</em> conservation collections meet global best practice criteria in terms of population sampling and collection management.</p><p>You only need to join SUBG's educational garden tours, to understand why this garden ticks all the boxes as one of South Africa's foremost botanical gardens addressing threats to plant and habitat survival through education, research and conservation. Kirkwood's passion for, and dedication to, building this unique garden, is clear to all the interns, staff, lecturers, and students working with him daily – a passion that plays out in every part of this uniquely laid-out garden.</p><p> “In the space of only five years, I'm actually amazed that I've managed to grow our team and make really meaningful progress towards global ex-situ conservation targets, while also getting multiple major infrastructure upgrades completed or underway. It is so much more progress than I hoped possible, and I am so grateful to our amazing staff and colleagues in SUNCOM and the life sciences departments who have enthusiastically supported the garden," said Kirkwood.</p><p> </p><p><strong>The 2023 programme</strong></p><p>Visitors can join the festivities in the garden, daily from 08:00 – 17:00.</p><p><strong>Your</strong> <strong>R60 day pass will give you access to:</strong></p><p>All-day events:</p><ul><li><p>Botanical Art exhibition: a curated selection of original works by South Africa's top botanical illustrators and artists, including sales and print sales.</p></li><li><p>Rare plant vendors: indigenous and exotic succulents, carnivorous plants, rare aroids, bulbs, and loads of specialty plants including special releases of SUBG rare plants.</p></li><li><p>Contemporary art exhibition of well-known South African painters, ceramic artists, printmaking, and woodturning artisans.</p></li><li><p>See globally-renowned landscape artist Strijdom van der Merwe install a major sculptural artwork celebrating a local threatened plant and the SUBG mission.</p></li><li><p>Ceramic art, sculptures, and plant art throughout the garden.</p></li><li><p>Botanically themed gift, homeware, and décor sales. High-quality reproductions of previously unreleased historic plant Illustrations.</p></li><li><p> Live lunch-hour music at the Lily Ponds</p></li><li><p>Wine and gin tasting</p></li></ul><p> </p><p>Scheduled events and walkabout tours:</p><p>09:00-10:00: <strong>Breath in the garden, </strong>yoga or pilates session</p><p>10:00 to 11:00: <strong>Daily curator's tour</strong>, covering conservation, the garden strategy and history, and much more. Join Dr Donovan Kirkwood, SUBG's curator, for an hour-long walk in the garden sharing his wealth of knowledge, experience and vision for this unique place.</p><p>12:00 - 13:00: <strong>Daily talk</strong> on specialist subjects from Medicinal Plants, and our unique Cape flora to Growing Indigenous. Special guests include Prof. Nox Makunga, Prof. Leanne Dreyer, Prof. Guy Midgley, Dr. Itumeleng Moroenyane, and Dr. Paul Hills.</p><p><strong>Daily workshops</strong> of 2-3 hours can be pre-booked for a separate fee (R500-R850). Workshops include teaching printing with botanicals, cyanotype making, and master classes in terraria, propagation and bonsai.  Booking for all workshops includes a day pass.</p><p>Special lunches, food vendors, picnic baskets and beverages will be available in the garden.</p><p>For details and updates please visit www.sun.ac.za/botanicalgarden and click on the Events tab.</p><p> </p><p>Or scan this QR code.</p><p> <img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/QR%20code.png" alt="QR code.png" style="margin:5px;" /><br></p><p> </p><p>Media enquiries</p><p>Petro Mostert</p><p><a href="mailto:petromostert@sun.ac.za">petromostert@sun.ac.za</a></p><p>M 0823346193<br></p><p><br></p>
SUNFin is livehttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10079SUNFin is livePetro Mostert<p></p><p>The work that started four years and three months ago, culminated in Stellenbosch University switching over its financial system from its 35-year-old legacy system Tera Term to its new platform Oracle Cloud Financials on 26 July 2023.</p><p>The SUNFin project team, consisting mostly of staff from the Finance and Information Technology divisions has been working around the clock to reach this milestone: implementing the largest system of its kind at the University.</p><p>“Going live with OCF, was the start of a new era at SU, with a system that offers the opportunities to support the University's financial processing effectively and efficiently, while recognising and working towards minimising the challenges that this significant change will impose on users of the system," says Manie Lombard, Chief Director: Finance.</p><p>Over the past years, the project has been postponed at stages as the team encountered obstacles caused by a very customised and complicated legacy system, engrained in the woodwork of the Institution. Despite many challenges, late nights, and sacrifices from a magnificent team, the go-live went seamlessly, thanks to a carefully planned sequentially cutover process aligned with the user training.</p><p>"It is chaos, but great chaos. Somehow everything is working and we are solving issues and learning as we go along," was the words of Annemi Murray, Director: Financial Planning and Budgeting, one of the champions of this project and someone who has burnt a few candles on both ends over the past years to ensure this project takes flight.</p><p>“The success we are experiencing now, is because of our users who are taking ownership of the system," says Elizebeth de Beer, who is championing the OCF training – which is ongoing for a few weeks now. “I am amazed to see the willingness and excitement of the staff who are embracing this new way of doing financial accounting at the University."</p><p>SUNFin business owner, Brendon Grindlay-Whieldon ensured that a SUNFin service desk is in place to provide a communication channel where you can log on to the systems' major business processes.</p><p>Prof Stan du Plessis, Chief Operating Officer, congratulated and thank the team for celebrating going live on Wednesday, 26 July 2023. “I only hear great things from people using the system. We are grateful to the SUNFin team who pulled out all the stops to make this deadline."</p><p> <br></p><p>​<br></p>
Stellenbosch University and St Stithians College collaborate on green energy solutions https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10057Stellenbosch University and St Stithians College collaborate on green energy solutions Petro Mostert<p>​​A delegation from St Stithians College, one of South Africa's most prestigious schools from Johannesburg, visited Stellenbosch University in July for a working session on finding green energy solutions for the school's 105 ha campus. Innovus-spinout company GreenX Engineering, which has been instrumental in helping schools in the Western Cape save on their energy bills while providing energy solutions was part of the SU delegation.<br></p><p>Dr Jason Samuels, managing director of GreenX, said they have been in discussions with St Stithians for some time now working together to find energy-saving solutions. “The College has identified a piece of land on their campus suitable for an alternative energy solution that is able to meet the school's 3GWh demand ."</p><p>Thando Bili, Head of Operations of St Stithians College, said they are excited to collaborate with Stellenbosch University on ways to be less reliant on the Eskom grid and become more sustainable. “We have as many as 8 000 people on campus daily, and this number can grow to as many as 60 000 when we host a festival. It is crucial that we find sustainable energy solutions to also augment our water-saving solutions for our college," says Bili. He says the College aims to be completely self-sustainable by 2030. </p><p>This will not be the first project GreenX worked on with the College. Following an electricity energy and spatial analysis audit, the GreenX team issued an energy performance certificate (EPC) for one part of the college. This is the first time GreenX awarded an EPC to a South African School.. The first of the Colleges' buildings to get an EPC was the Girls' College and Girls' prep sections. They received a B-rating for energy consumption with a 33 kWh/m2.<br></p><p>Last year, GreenX Engineerings' initiatives helped equip Cloetesville Primary School, in Stellenbosch, with energy-saving technology, ensuring that it became the first school in South Africa to receive an energy performance certificate (EPC). The school received an A-rating for the electrical consumption of the system, with 17 kWh/m2.</p><p>“The achievement of the first EPC cements St Stithians commitment to energy efficient solutions and is aligned with the long-term sustainability plan of our College," said Bili.</p><p>According to Samuels, more energy management and energy efficiency projects are in the pipeline for St Stithians and GreenX.</p><p>In the coming months, SU, GreenX, and St Stithians (together with their engineering partner, Madonse Consulting Engineers) will work together on creating a feasible solution for the school, which could include a cost-saving solution for their energy systems such as a potential solar PV and a loadshedding solution that integrates diesel generators and an energy storage system, for instance, batteries.</p><p>“Our journey of establishing a PV plant for the College is central to the core business of the day: ensuring the continuity of Teaching and Learning," said Bili.</p><p>Samuels says he hopes this work is the start of a fantastic energy journey for the College as they pioneer being energy resilient.<br><br></p><p><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/GreenX%20EPC%20copy.jpg" alt="GreenX EPC copy.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /><br></p><p><em>Caption for photo</em></p><p>In the photo, Thando Bili, Head of Operations of St Stithians College (right), receives the EPC certificate from Jason Samuels, managing director of GreenX Engineering. ​<br></p><p><br></p><p>Media inquiries</p><p>Petro Mostert</p><p><a href="mailto:petromostert@sun.ac.za">petromostert@sun.ac.za</a><br></p><p>M 082 334 6193<br></p><div><br><br></div><p><br></p><p>​<br></p>
Facilities Management give back to Stellenbosch Police Station on Mandela Day 2023https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10060Facilities Management give back to Stellenbosch Police Station on Mandela Day 2023Petro Mostert<p>​​“In the 32 years that I've worked at Stellenbosch's Police Station, it was the first time that we received this kind of visit from our community. Normally we would go out to the community on Mandela Day to do good. Today we received so much good from Stellenbosch University and its service provider community. We are deeply thankful."</p><p>These were the words of gratitude from Captain Nathalie Martin, Stellenbosch Police Station's communication officer, thanking SU's Facilities Management team and their service providers who came out in full force to paint, clean, assist with maintenance and do whatever it took to give back to the people that protect Stellenbosch.</p><p>And like last year on Mandela Day, when this team worked for a couple of weeks to help improve the AF Louw Primary School, our colleagues from FM, their service providers, and contractors gave of their valuable time to make a difference in the work environment of our Police force on Stellenbosch, the “people who keep us safe," as Chief Director Nicolette van den Eijkel said.</p><p>Once again, this brilliant idea came from Aloma Fourie, Manager: maintenance planning at FM's Property Services. She and Robert Todkill, FM's technical advisor at Property Services, have once again taken the lead and mobilised FM's staff and service providers to take hands and create a better working environment for the SAPS. “We thought it is time that someone give back to the people who never receive the goodwill they deserve. They keep us safe, day and night. This is the least we could do," said Todkill.</p><p>It was indeed a hive of activity on SAPS premises in Du Toit Street on Madiba's birthday. “We fixed pipes, toilets, basins, tiles, and paving. We cleaned the cells, the walls, the floors, and the garden, fixed window frames, fixed and cleaned gutters and painted where needed. We even provide them with a complete structural engineers report they can submit to the Department of Public Works to motivate for much-needed maintenance to the building," said Fourie.</p><p>The team used high-pressure equipment to clean the whole building, fixed door frames, and glass, and even ensured that the residents of the single quarters can enjoy a leakage-free shower system in a long time. “There was a faulty pipe and leak that we picked up and fixed," said Todkill. Furthermore, the team fixed broken lights, unblocked the stormwater and sewage drains, and disinfected the pipes and drains.</p><p>“Nelisa Mpama, from our environmental sustainability team, and some of the staff members helped with a brand-new garden for the Police Station and even introduced them to SU's three-bin recycling system," said Aloma.</p><p>Together with Aloma, Robert and Nelisa, they also had the helping hands from the rest of their Mandela Day organising committee of Emile Maritz, Patrick Esterhuizen, Niven Adonis, Alfonso Bailey, Melany le Roux and Cleo Julies. A huge thank you to our FM service providers  of Bidvest (who donated a great lunch for staff who came to help), and: </p><ul><li>Servest</li><li>DJ Hansen Gardening</li><li>Paving Expert</li><li>Waste Plan</li><li>Stellenbosch Woodcutters</li><li>Triple Desire</li><li>Indawo</li><li>Emminence Fixing Solutions</li><li>Eikestad Maintenance</li><li>ELTB Construction</li><li>ASR Glass, ZICM</li><li>Ingelos</li><li>Gramwill Signs</li><li>Tsebo</li><li>Aqua Power Jet</li><li>Winelands Renovations</li><li>OBB</li><li>Ultibuild Consultants</li><li>CBD Plumbing</li><li>Pinpoint leak detection<br></li><li>Plumb Guarantee.​</li></ul><p>Thank you so much to you all. </p><p> <br></p><p><br></p>
If the going gets tough, you go canoeing around Mauritiushttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10050If the going gets tough, you go canoeing around MauritiusPetro Mostert<p>Liezel Matthee, our Chief Director Facilities Management’s personal assistant, and her husband decided to explore the famous island of Mauritius a little differently this year: by canoeing around it, and visiting some beautiful sites for eight days.<br> <br>The duo started their trip at Grade Gaude on the northeastern side of the island and ended their journey at Ille Aux Cerfs Island. In her own words, Liezel tells her story on this pdf <a href="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Canoeing%20trip%20around%20Mauritius%20-%20April%202023%20-%20Liezel%20Matthee.pdf"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/15/images/icpdf.png" alt="" />Canoeing trip around Mauritius - April 2023 - Liezel Matthee.pdf</a>​<br></p>
I am because you arehttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10040I am because you arePetro Mostert<p>​<br><br></p><p>"Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu" or "I am, because you are" is an African philosophy known loosely as a sense of belonging. "I am because we are". Ubuntu as a philosophy speaks to the fact that we are all connected and one can only thrive if those around you also thrive. It is an acknowledgement of the interconnectedness of our lives in human society.</p><p>With the dawn of the new democratic South Africa in 1994, traditions and concepts such as Ubuntu became prominent reference points in negotiations around the emerging political dispensation, creating an environment that respects human rights and fundamental freedoms and in which people can exercise their freely expressed will.</p><p>In our Responsibility Area: Operations and Finance, we interact with each other daily. We inform, negotiate, debate, create and innovate. We talk face-to-face, through emails, and online. It has been my great pleasure to work in this environment since 2017 and it is an abiding pleasure to work with our committed and outstanding staff at all levels. Sometimes, mercifully infrequently but nevertheless, we find ourselves in situations where we react out of frustration or even anger, opening the laptop and typing an email without thinking clearly. The result is mostly a reply email in the same tone of voice. After several of these, where you've cc'd in an ever-growing chorus of bystanders, we call in the mediators and consultants to resolve the situation and start anew.</p><p>While not all such cases end in the chambers of our University's truth and reconciliation committees, they leave our colleagues disappointed, angry, and despondent because of a thoughtless email or unresolved conflict which often could have been prevented.</p><p>Google or ask ChatGPT for the top ten solutions to resolve conflict in the workplace, hire the best life coaches and phycologists, or put a red sticker on your send button. Write on it: "pause". Stop, think, and breathe. And always ask yourself what you would have done if you were receiving that specific email. How would you feel? How would you react? The “golden rule" teaches us to treat others as we wish to be treated, and there is a reason why this is common to almost all moral codes.</p><p>I have spoken about our University's values at a number of our RC events, and specifically about the value of Respect. You will recall what I called “owed" respect: The respect we owe each other as colleagues (and students) since we are all inherently valuable and we acknowledge the important, though different, contributions we all make to creating this world-class University.</p><p>Respecting others as you respect yourself. It is not rocket science nor a nice-to-have quality. If you are valued and respected in your workplace, you will soon enable a positive work culture in which you are fulfilled, loyal, engaged, and motivated to perform at your very best ability. In the same way, you need to value and respect those around you.</p><p>One of my colleagues told me they start all their meetings by reminding each other of our University's values: Compassion, Equity, Accountability, Excellence, and Respect. It is essential to remind ourselves about these values every day as it also affects our lives outside of work.</p><p>Our values:</p><p><strong>Compassion: </strong>Recognition of and care for the well-being of all our students and staff</p><p><strong>Equity:</strong> Restitution in response to our past legacy and fairness in our aspirations</p><p><strong>Accountability:</strong> Accepting the highest level of responsibility for our actions</p><p><strong>Excellence: </strong>Academic freedom to pursue knowledge that adheres to the highest standards of integrity, innovation, and relevance</p><p><strong>Respect: </strong>Civility in our mutual and public discourse due to regard for the freedom, equality, and dignity of all and respect for the environment.<br></p><p>During the pandemic, we were reminded of the importance of staff wellness in many ways, including supporting our fellow colleagues. No one knows what is going on in other people's lives – hence why we should always be mindful of how we treat each other. No matter your position in a company's or organisation's hierarchy – we are all as vulnerable as the situation we face at any given time.</p><p>Finally, I believe respect creates the fair and supportive environment we all want and need. As an employer, the University provides us with many opportunities to flourish as a person or a team, showcasing our skills and knowledge regardless of where they come from. Respect prevents playing favourites and allows everyone to be heard. And for you to hear, you need to listen.</p><p><em>“I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university." </em>— Albert Einstein</p><p>Enjoy your June newsletter​<br></p><p>Prof Stan du Plessis</p><p> </p><p><br></p>
A private commitment to a public goodhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10042A private commitment to a public goodPetro Mostert<p>​<br><br></p><p>More and more South Africans are looking for backup power solutions to their homes as Eskom's unpredictable loadshedding drives them insane. And while you are shopping for batteries and photovoltaic panels, don't forget what happened in 2018 when we faced Day Zero and started buying every bottle of water we could get. While getting off the grid, maybe consider becoming greener and saving on water usage.​</p><p><br>You might say it is easier said than done, but if Prof Stan du Plessis, Stellenbosch University's Chief Operating Officer, could find time and energy to get him and his family almost off the grid and on a greener road, so can we all.<br></p><p>We asked him about his green journey; let's hear what he and his family are doing to live a less reliant life on grids and pipes and more on natural sources.</p><p><em>Q: Prof Stan, how “green" are you on a scale of 0 to 10, and why do you say that?</em></p><p>Prof Stan: I'll give us a 7 for a strong start but with a few important challenges remaining including electric vehicles charged by solar power.<br><br></p><p><em>Q: When did your “green journey" begin?</em></p><p>Prof Stan: My wife Helena has always been very environmentally conscious, and my daughters really encouraged me in the same direction. I remember how our eldest daughter, then 7, asked me on the way to school what I was going to do that day. As it turned out I was going to address a group of students on the international challenges with mitigating climate change. She immediately took a National Geographic from her backpack and showed me a picture of a large (and very old) sturgeon recently caught in the rivers of central Asia and she asked me very seriously why people would do that. I replied that people want caviar for sushi, to which she offered me a deal: If I told all the students at the conference no longer to eat sushi with caviar, she would tell all the teachers in school the same. <span lang="EN-US">So, this young activist got me thinking about what we can do, and how we can convince people, including our own families, to act consistently with our environmental consciousness, since as an economist I didn’t believe people would just stop eating sushi because I had asked them nicely.          </span>​          </p><p></p><p><em><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/DSC03852.JPG" alt="DSC03852.JPG" />Q: What were the first things you changed in your house to become more kinder to our planet?</em></p><p>Prof Stan: We installed a rainwater system and 10 000-litre water tanks to collect the water for garden usage. Later we added a sophisticated three-phase filter to clean the water to a standard high enough for domestic use. At the same to we changed the garden to be more water-friendly by switching to more local flora.  <br><br></p><p><em>Q: What measurements did you put in place to reduce your dependency on Eskom and Stellenbosch Municipality (water)?</em></p><p>Prof Stan: The rainwater collection and filtration system together with water conservation habits we adopted during the last drought, including a pool cover and the disconnection of the irrigation system in our garden, reduced our water usage from the grid dramatically. We added a grey-water system to use bath and shower water in the garden.  ​</p><p>On the electricity front, we installed an inverter with solar panels that can generate up to 4 KWHp with a substantial battery bank. For about two-thirds of the year, we are largely off the grid in terms of power but when we have sustained poor weather as these last few weeks, we depend on grid power to charge the batteries. The added benefit is that we have not been inconvenienced by load-shedding as we have sufficient battery power to last through the worst load-shedding we've experienced with ease.</p><p>A third initiative that is actually quite important for us as a family is waste management. We sort the house's refuge carefully and have minimal waste to be collected by the municipality. On Tuesday mornings I often push an empty black bin to the sidewalk since I don't want the municipality to forget about our house and do want them to collect the glass and other recyclable waste.  All organic waste is collected in compost bins for our garden and plastics are cleaned and compacted in eco-bricks.  </p><p><em>Q: It was a costly exercise, but are you seeing the rewards in your utility accounts? How long did it take to break even?</em></p><p>Prof Stan: With current electricity rates you can repay the capital outlay for a solar installation in 4 years, but our large battery bank will not easily be repaid from savings on our utility bill. These batteries protect us against loadshedding and help us to make excess solar power generated during the day available at night but it is not nearly as economically efficient as the panels themselves. Of course, as technology lowers the price of batteries these considerations will change in the foreseeable future.  </p><p><em>Q: Do these systems require a lot of maintenance? How do you do that?</em></p><p>Prof Stan: They do require maintenance and since it is not my strong point, we have contractors who service the systems.   <br><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/DSC03860.JPG" alt="DSC03860.JPG" style="margin:5px;" /><br></p><p><em>Q: How do you keep a tab on your family's usage? Was it difficult for them to buy in, or are they as nature conscious as you are?</em></p><p>Prof Stan: They are more conscious than I am! Especially with the waste management they had to show me and convince me of better practices. My contribution was perhaps most clear with our electricity consumption; with the new system, we got a dashboard linked to the PV panels, inverter, and batteries. It really helped me to see our electricity usage and also to help us plan our energy-intensive activities around the availability of solar power or stored power. </p><p><em>Q: What is your advice for our staff who want to go the green route at home? How should they start? What should they do first?</em></p><p>Prof Stan: Behaviour change is the cheapest and can have a high impact. I mean maintaining those good habits you learned during the drought with respect to water and changing your garden to a more water-friendly layout. Secondly, waste management is easy to learn but requires a bit of planning. The beneficial impact is massive though.</p><p>Thirdly is solar with an inverter, on the one hand for your geyser and on the other with an inverter for electricity generation.  </p><p>These steps are to be followed by rainwater collection and a battery bank.<br></p><p><em>Q: When will you trade in the ML for an electric car?</em><br></p><p>Prof Stan: I have test-driven three alternatives already. But realistically not before 2024 because I have to save a bit more for the trade-in.<br></p><p><em>Q: If you could change one thing that will have a massive positive impact on our green planet, what would that be?</em><br></p><p>Prof Stan: I would price carbon accurately That would raise the price of many products and services which are currently cheaper than they would be if we factored in the full cost they impose on the environment. Economists call that mispricing a negative externality; it means we impose costs we are not asked to pay for when we buy such products and services. This negative externality is the main cause of the climate crisis and can only be fixed if we adopt a full-cost approach to all our activities.<br></p><p>​<br></p>
Another Stellenbosch school can keep the lights on https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10015Another Stellenbosch school can keep the lights on Petro Mostert<p>​​Despite the challenge of loadshedding, there is light at the end of the tunnel for another school in Stellenbosch – iKaya Primary School in Kayamandi – which will soon receive a hybrid 15,12kw photovoltaic (PV) system that will enable the school to switch seamlessly from the Eskom grid when the lights go out.<br></p><p>The school will soon be able to bank almost R50 000 in yearly energy savings through this system.</p><p>iKaya is the second school in Stellenbosch that will benefit from green initiatives being rolled out to various schools in the Western Cape as part of a partnership and more extensive initiative with the Western Cape Education Department, Stellenbosch University's social impact division, and other partners. The project involves funding to pilot IoT energy management and lighting efficiency retrofits at 75 no-fee schools in the Western Cape.</p><p>The first school to benefit from this project was Cloetesville Primary School – known as the Green School – which received a 7.5kW PV system, generating approximately 14MWh (14 000 units) of electricity per year, negating almost 13 tonnes of CO2 annually and saving R20 000 per year while selling electricity back to the grid. The Green School also became the country's first school and second building to receive an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Cloetesville Primary will now be upgraded to a hybrid system with a hybrid inverter and batteries. Next in line is Cloetesville Secondary School, which will be equipped with energy-saving systems as part of SU's social impact programme. From their side, the WCED will roll out similar programmes to another seven schools in the Western Cape region.</p><p>Dr. Leslie van Rooi, Senior Director Social Impact and Transformation at SU, said the University has contributed just over R1 million to this project. "We do this because we believe in the possibilities of our local schools and because we know that our collaboration, support, and learning together are fundamental to SU and our town's possibilities. The University is very grateful that we can join hands this way. This complements other SU-related activities and collaborations in our local schools."</p><p>"Loadshedding and the cost of electricity have a devastating impact on our economy," says Prof Thinus Booysen,<span style="color:#4d5156;font-family:arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px;background-color:#ffffff;"> Professor and Chair of the Internet of Things at the Faculty of Engineering at Stellenbosch University</span>. "The cost is not limited to business, as they directly affect operations at what we believe to be the lifeline of our fledgling democracy: schools. We are incredibly privileged to have the support of Stellenbosch University's Division for Social Impact to effect real change at the schools that need it most. This intervention at necessitous schools will substantially reduce their monthly electricity expenses, reduce their carbon footprint, and keep essential services going through bouts of loadshedding. Moreover, the burden on our frail grid will be reduced, immediately benefitting us all."</p><p>"We hope that this much-needed change will not only positively impact the effects of load shedding and electricity costs but also aid learners' learning experiences. After all, as part of science for society, our learners should understand how energy produced by the sun can be stored and used at our schools," said van Rooi.</p><p>Jason Samuels, who recently received his Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof Booysen, and his team have spent the past two years covering many miles to do extensive energy audits at various schools to determine how it can retrofit them with energy-saving lights and meters to measure and manage their usage.</p><p>"By doing this, we reduce a school's energy bills with anything from 21 percent to as much as 39 percent," says Samuels.</p><p>​ <br></p><p>Media enquiries</p><p>Petro Mostert</p><p><a href="mailto:petromostert@sun.ac.za">petromostert@sun.ac.za</a></p><p>Mobile 0823346193<br></p><p><br></p>
Stellenbosch University LaunchLab back with Innovushttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9998Stellenbosch University LaunchLab back with InnovusPetro Mostert<p>Innovus will again be the official home for Stellenbosch University LaunchLab, when it becomes a division of Innovus, with Brandon Paschal as the new Deputy Director to lead this entrepreneurial incubation hub from 1 July 2023 onwards.<br></p><p>Paschal will take over from Joshua Romisher, who joined the LaunchLab in 2020 as chief executive officer. With his new venture, Romisher will continue building on the success of SU LaunchLab's climate-focused investment and business-building platform, ClimateLab (<a href="http://www.launchlab.africa/climate-lab">www.launchlab.africa/climate-lab</a> ).</p><p>"Helping to build SU LaunchLab has been an incredible experience. Working with many startups every year, inspiring annual attendees at our events, and achieving profitability were all major milestones for the organisation. SU LaunchLab moves from strength to strength within SU and under Innovus. We're excited and committed to its continued growth in the future," said Romisher  </p><p>Paschal is no newcomer to the LaunchLab. He was instrumental in forming the SU LaunchLab from 2015 to 2021. He led the incubation programmes, overseeing the incubation of more than twenty companies, refining SU's incubation processes, engaging with investors, running innovation programmes for corporates, and keeping a bunch of high-demand startups happy. He also led the efforts in building the programmes and activities that saw SU LaunchLab receive global recognition from <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6913">UBI Global as Africa's leading university incubator.</a></p><p>Paschal returned to the Innovus team in May after two years of consulting in the research spinout company space. Most recently, he has worked with various agricultural industry bodies and high-tech ventures to develop ecosystems for growth, product strategies, and fundraising.</p><p>"Moving the LaunchLab back to Innovus will align and integrate our Innovus technology transfer and incubation teams seamlessly, providing a much more streamlined process and better service for researchers and entrepreneurs from invention disclosure to incubation. It is also far more cost-effective than running the LaunchLab as a separate company," says Anita Nel, Chief Director Innovation and Commercialisation at SU's Innovus division.</p><p>Prof Stan du Plessis, SU's Chief Operating Officer, says integrating the LaunchLab back into Innovus demonstrates the University's commitment and investment in supporting our campus-based entrepreneurs and the broader business community. "It confirms Stellenbosch University as the benchmark for entrepreneurial universities on the African continent and a global leader in this field." </p><p>Media queries</p><p>Petro Mostert</p><p><a href="mailto:petromostert@sun.ac.za">petromostert@sun.ac.za</a></p><p>M 0823346193<br></p><p><br></p>