UP offers an abundance of societies, clubs and organisations that students can be a part of. This wide range of options makes it is easy to become overwhelmed by choice, and also makes it easier for some societies to fly under the radar. PDBY has featured and interviewed three of UP’s interesting, though lesser known, student societies.
The Chairperson of Tuks Exploratio, Stefan Schalkwyk, describes this society as one based on “going out and having adventures”. The focus of this society, Schalkwyk continues, is “rock climbing”, but “slacklining, […] hiking, and kloofing” are also activities the society partakes in. The society is fully equipped for these activities and new members do not need their own gear to take part. In 2021, Tuks Exploratio hopes to “grow the outdoor community” and create excitement around their adventures. The society also hopes to “grow [their] involvement in the slackline community” because it is “more social” and “a good time for people of every experience level”.
Upcoming events, in which first years can be involved, are their pre-beginners and beginners weekend, which Schalkwyk describes as “a rock climbing get-away”. On the agenda for the year are also “some social hikes and kloofing”, though these events are subject to the regulations regarding COVID-19.
Universiteit van Pretoria Debatvereniging (UPDV)
The UPDV is UP’s Afrikaans debate society and, according to Chairperson NJ Nel, “aims to create Afrikaans discourse that promotes debate skills, while improving general knowledge and providing awareness for [local and international] issues”. Nel states that the UPDV “provides a social environment where anyone who has a love of Afrikaans can further their debate skills and enjoy intelligent conversations with others”.
First years, and anyone else who is interested, are encouraged to attend the society’s yearly “Debat-101” event, where members of the society go through the basics of debate and give the attendees “a first-hand experience in what the society entails”. In addition, the society also hosts many social gatherings where attendees will be given “an opportunity to meet new people and to dispute radical points”. The UPDV annually competes in a national debating competition against other universities in the country, and try-outs for this competition are held yearly and are open to everyone. The society is also involved in various community projects, where they assist children in the community and help prepare them for university. This year, the society hopes to host multiple social gatherings, either physical or online (depending on COVID-19 regulations) where current topics can be discussed, particularly since, as Nel states, 2020 has given rise to “many different opinions”, which “we can talk about and dispute during debates”.
Tuks Anime and Gaming Society (TAGS)
Stephen Brookes, the Chairperson of the TAGS, states that this society, rather than having “a more rigid structure and mission statement”, seeks to “foster and grow a casual community of people who enjoy playing games”. The society hopes to be a place where “a student can come in [and] find people who they can share their interests in games with”.
In 2021, the TAGS plans to host many events, some of which will be open to student suggestions. In addition to these events, the society also intends to have “regular meet ups that allow students to play with their fellows regularly”. Brookes emphasises the fact that this society is “open to every student […] regardless of race, creed, religion or number of years having been a student”. This, therefore, includes first years, who are encouraged to join “so that they can find fellows in a chilled environment, without the stress that comes from a more traditional society”.
In line with the TAGS’s aim to be a more “casual” society, they are also “aiming for absolutely no fees to join”, as they do not want their members “to ‘stress’ over an obligation to the society when they feel either not in the mood to join or don’t have the time to do so”.
Brookes notes that, though they do have “tentative plans for large events” this year, they are dependent on COVID-19 regulations and can therefore, at this time, “not confirm that these events will happen”.
Images: Facebook – Exploratio; Facebook – UPDV; Facebook – Tuks Anime and Gaming