Shaun Sproule and Ricardo Teixeira
On Saturday 17 February 2018, the University of Pretoria Mamelodi Campus Alumni Club was founded. The day marked a historic moment, commemorating the success of the students who started their academic careers at the campus.
The event was attended by Vice-Principal Prof Norman Duncan, Dean of the Mamelodi Campus, Prof Nthabiseng Audrey Ogude, the Dean of the Natural and Agricultural sciences faculty, Prof Jean Lubuma, the Deputy Dean of the Economic Management Faculty, Prof Johan Oberholster, and other distinguished guests.
Mamelodi campus plays an important role at UP. Mamelodi Campus hosts students completing extended program degrees with lower entrance requirements for students who did not meet the qualifying criteria for their chosen courses but are willing to take an extra year, to work hard to attain their degrees. These students are often very successful, as the Dean’s lists frequently include students that started at Mamelodi Campus.
The Alumni Club will play a specific role in the future of the campus, as members will act as ambassadors, securing financial support, contributions and bursaries for students. The members will also act as mentors to students on Mamelodi Campus, giving peer support and guiding younger students.
The formation of the Alumni club came as a result of a project undertaken by Griffiths Makgareetsa, who spent weeks creating the foundation of the Alumni Club. The Club forms an important part of Mamelodi Campus being an anchor institution as it ties the University to the surrounding community.
The lack of a student voice at Mamelodi Campus will be filled by the presence of the Alumni Club, as the extended program cannot be improved without knowing the experience of its students.
The University hopes the Alumni Club will create a sense of family and belonging, offering support during times of stress, helping students cope with possible failures, and inspiring self-motivation.
Outreach programs will also be carried out by the Alumni Club, as its members know without direction they would not be where they are today. As such, they are running a donations campaign, gathering items and resources students need.
Mamelodi Campus has a hand in assisting local businesses, in collaborations made through the Mamelodi Business Clinic, in the form of talks and information sessions. The Mamelodi Campus Garden Initiatives established a food garden on the Campus, targeting the youth and women in the surrounding community. The goal is to alleviate poverty through development of agricultural crop production and entrepreneurial skills, and job creation. Makgareetsa encouraged Mamelodi alumni to come give back through the Alumni Club. “Our time here gave us the direction to get where we are today…. Those who made it through can come back and make the experience and success of this campus the best it can be.” He further reiterated that the goals of the Alumni Club can only be brought about through participation and effort.