Stellenbosch University (SU) has greatly contributed to the development of both the country and the continent over the past five years by using its expertise and excellence in the service of society.
This is apparent from an analysis of the successes of the HOPE Project, which has taken shape since the inauguration of Prof Russel Botman as Rector and Vice-Chancellor on 11 April 2007.
“I said then that we are placing a development agenda on the table as a countermeasure to despair. When one looks at what has been achieved since then, we can take pride in the real difference that SU is making in people’s lives,” Botman said.
Highlights of the HOPE Project since its public launch on 21 July 2010 include (read more under "News" on this blog site):
The invention of the nanotech “teabag” filter for the purification of polluted drinking water.
The first medical doctors graduated from SU’s new Ukwanda Rural Clinical School.
76 PhD candidates from Africa enrolled at SU via the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences.
More than 3 500 Maties participated in activities of the Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert Institute for Student Leadership Development.
The HOPE Project is also successful as Africa’s largest higher education funding campaign. According to Ms Annamia van den Heever, Director: Development and Alumni Relations, nearly R2 billion in donations, research contracts and sponsorships have so far streamed in.
“Thank you very much to all our supporters for investing in a better future,” Botman said.
The University Council has reappointed Botman for a second five-year term. He says the greatest challenge facing the University now is sustainability.
“In the 21st century, serious efforts are needed worldwide to rectify the damage caused in the 20th century. Energy saving, water security and climate change will have to receive the attention of our best academics and researchers.
“This challenge will also have to be reflected in the further development of the University. New sustainable buildings will have to be erected and our carbon footprint will have to become smaller. We also want to inculcate critical thinking in our students about ‘green as the new maroon’.
“To achieve this, we will have to enter into very strong partnerships with foundations and companies and individuals who share our outlook. Sustainability will become SU’s trademark and we will forge strong bonds with others who also have this trademark.”
Botman said that SU can quite rightly celebrate its continued excellence and increasing relevance. In 2011, the University was included in three international rankings of the top 500 universities in the world for the first time.
“The excellence of the 21st century will have to reflect the character of sustainability. In this way we will make hope happen for our country and for our continent. In this way we will make hope happen for future generations.”
Support HOPE: www.thehopeproject.co.za
Driving sustainability: Prof Russel Botman. (Picture: DANIE NEL)