UP offers a lot more to students than only academics. Student life can be enriched through membership of a student society or structure, and there are a broad variety of options available at UP. PDBY breaks down some of the student societies on campus.
The STARS Mentorship Programme is a development programme aimed at helping first year students transition into university life. The programme strives to improve the academic performance of member students, while offering them emotional and social support. First year students are assigned a senior student, a mentor, who assists them with goal-setting, navigating around campus, and finding relevant people and services on campus.
The Inklings is a literary society that strives to cultivate an appreciation for culture, language, literature, and the arts on campus. As one of the oldest student societies at the University of Pretoria, they offer countless activities for anyone interested in literature, including creative writing workshops, theatre productions, poetry performances, and writing competitions. They also publish their own annual poetry collection, Inclinations.
The Tuks Leadership and Individual Programme (TULIP) is a student-run non-profit organisation focussed on helping students from six disadvantaged schools in Pretoria reach their academic potential in order to be admitted into tertiary institutions. According to Chris Cloete, the organisation’s head of applications for academic development, “the programme makes use of a holistic development strategy by teaching learners financial, academic, social, and leadership skills”. Members can act as ambassadors, “who help facilitate monthly school visits”, or as tutors, “who assist students academically on a one-on-one level every Saturday”. The organisation also supports these learners through other initiatives throughout the year, such as stationary drives, pad drives, and a career day.
Day students who want to experience all that student life has to offer can join one of the four day houses on campus: Dregeana, Vividus, Luminous, or Docendo. Day houses offer a wide variety of activities that members can participate in, ranging from movie nights and formals, to sporting events and community outreach initiatives. Day houses also offer many opportunities to socialise with members of other day houses and residences.
Tuks FM is the largest on-campus radio station in South Africa and the six-time winner of the Campus Station of the Year award. The station plays a mix of hip hop, house, RnB, and pop music, while providing students with relevant news, sport recaps, and interactive conversations. Any new student who has an interest in radio should consider joining this society, as new recruits are given plenty of opportunities every week to experience live broadcasting for the first time. The rest of the students on campus can also attend the annual Tuks FM Freshers music festival or participate in any of Tuks FM’s community outreach programmes aimed at supporting disadvantaged students.
The Student Representative Council (SRC) is the highest student governance structure at the University of Pretoria
and members are elected annually by their fellow students. According to members of the SRC, they have members in many of the student structures that fall under the Department of Student Affairs (DSA), which is responsible for the facilitation of organised student-life activities. One of these structures, the Student Culture Committee (STUKU), is responsible for managing student cultural events, including 1nsync, Step It Up and UP A Capella. UP RAG (Reach Out And Give) is another structure with an SRC member and is responsible for overseeing student-driven, non-profit and community engagement projects and programmes, such as Kagiso, “a four week training programme that educates students about the essence of community engagement and charity”. The DSA’s Student Sports Committee aims to “connect students to sport events, TuksSport and to other students and it has many initiatives geared specifically towards first year students”, such as the First Years Football Tournament and the First Years Netball Tournament.