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Friday, 21 January 2011

A warm welcome for first-years as 2011 academic year begins

“New students help us recharge our antique ways of thinking and how we empower young minds to become productive citizens of this great country, South Africa.” Those were the words of welcome of Vice-Chancellor Prof Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga, as first-year students and their parents and guardians gathered on the Cape Town, Bellville and Wellington campuses of CPUT at the start of Orientation Week. “Students are very important members of the CPUT family, as it is through their best performance that the university is regarded as successful, stable and sustainable.”

Extending a special word of welcome to parents and guardians, Prof Mazwi-Tanga stressed that CPUT is very aware of the huge responsibility the institution has to teach and empower their children. She urged students to make learning a priority, and make the most of their time in the robust learning environment that a University of Technology presents. “We are in a unique position to produce graduates who have a strong sense of work-integrated learning, so build networks during your studies and ensure that you become a well-rounded adult”, she said. With the welcoming ceremonies spread over 3 days and 3 campuses, here are some of the highlights of the start of the 2011 academic year.

The “house-father” and house committee of Murray Hall, Wellington campus.

The house committee are charged with welcoming new students to the residence and to campus, with fun activities planned to ease the homesickness of first-years in their new lives as students. With the student housing challenge always on the priority list, CPUT presently offers around 2500 beds for residence students. However, a new residence, Caledon, near the Cape Town campus, will be handed over in March, providing an additional 500-plus beds.

Llewellyn Fortuin is studying education and will be living in residence.

“I have mixed emotions,” says Llewellyn. “On the one hand I’m glad to be away from home, but I also miss my family. On my first day here, I just wanted to go home because I didn’t know anyone, but then we went on the first year’s camp and things started to ease as I made friends. All I want to do for now, is to focus on my studies and do well this year. I’m from Vredendal, so it’s not that far from home.”

Angelea Smit is also studying Education and will be living in residence.

“It’s been exciting, especially meeting new people who are just as new as you to this environment. I haven’t really worked out my emotions of being away from my parents, but I guess later when everything has settled, I will be a bit homesick. I did set a goal for myself and that is to pass well this year.”

Coleen Jones will be staying at home while studying education.

Colleen says, “I thoroughly enjoyed today. It was a nice experience and the speeches were good, but I’m actually looking forward for the classes to start. I won’t be staying on residence, which will make it that much easier for me to focus on my studies, instead of being homesick. And I think this is the reason why I chose to study at CPUT.”

Robyn Leigh Marks, the first female chairperson of the Wellington Student Representative Council.

“Language barriers and diversity needs to be prioritised on campus this year, and we’ll be focussing on change in a big way. We’d like to move away from the notion that only English and Afrikaans are spoken on Wellington campus. Students need to know that we are going into a South African working world with 11 different languages.”

First year Building students at Bellville campus, Nomazizi Rabula and Nkateko Hlungwane say they felt a mixture of emotions during their first few days of orientation.

“I feel very excited to be at this tertiary institution, even though I didn’t really enjoy the first few days of orientation. Although I felt a little lonely at first, I eventually made new friends and I realized that the people are actually very welcoming. Academically, all I desire is to pass all my subjects and of course have some fun!” said Rabula.

While Hlungwane, from Pretoria who’ll be staying in residence says “I feel excited, nervous, happy and scared, I think it’s because I know that this is not going to be like high school. I’m prepared to do a lot of studying and since I’ll be staying in res the prospect of being independent is so exhilarating, even though I already miss home. But I guess it is all part of preparation for the real world.”

Sisonke Cekiso, who will be studying Horticulture says he hasn’t experience any problems during orientation.

“I had no difficulties, everyone was very helpful and I truly enjoyed my first week here. My short term goal is to improve my mathematics and biology. Long term, I think I just want to finish my course in record time. I’d also like to join some extra mural activities like certain sports codes, as well as become a member of the SRC.”

Compiled by Jan Weintrob, Thando Moiloa, Andiswa Dantile and Mariette Adams.

Written by CPUT News