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Maths For Food and Fun: Math Club Soup Drive Helps Students Cope With Exams

Author: Nicklaus Kruger

The UWC Math Club food drive: 200 helpful mathletes; 1 day; 100 litres of soup; 280 loaves of bread. And hundreds of University of the Western Cape students given one less thing to worry about as they study and write their exams.

(Published - 8 June 2019)

It’s hard to do maths on an empty stomach. That’s why the University of the Western Cape Math Club, in partnership with the Faculty of Natural Sciences, held a Soup Day on Monday 3 June 2019.

“UWC Math Club isn’t just about celebrating mathematics - it’s about solving problems. And this was one of the most pressing problems around,” said Dr Deon Solomons, Chair of the Maths Department’s Media and Marketing Committee. “For this reason, staff and students involved with the UWC community joined hands in support of our students writing exams on cold wintry May and June days.”

The Math Club, together with the Faculty of Natural Sciences, the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, the Gender Equity Unit, and the UWC ResLife Math Hub, held a food drive.

“Knowing that around 1 500 students from different departments would be sitting for their June examinations in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, we decided to take up the challenge,” said Natural Sciences Officer Esethu Sontshete. “We requested food donations for students during the 2019 June examinations - and we were overwhelmed by the response.”

In total, 100 litres of soup and 280 loaves of bread were served...but it wasn’t guaranteed. In fact, it’s a tale that’s almost biblical in the telling.

Soup Day: Loaves And More Loaves

Ms Sontshete kicked the day off with a generous donation of two loaves of fresh bread on Monday morning. But as the Soup Day was scheduled to start (at 11:30, as students were finishing up the morning session of the Mathematics exams) it dawned on the support team that those were the only loaves they had.

“We calculated that we would actually need in excess of 200 loaves of bread, and at least 100 litres of warm soup to help our students get through the exams - at least for this one day,” said Dr Solomons.

So here’s the problem: A bread costs R12.80. The Club had less than R1000.00 budgeted. So how many loaves could they afford?

“That’s less than 80 loaves. Trust us; we’re the Math Club.”

Driving from store to store, searching for a solution, they somehow ended up at the doors of Albany Bakeries...where Sales Manager Stephen Keyser came to the rescue.

“Mr Keyser first suggested 100 loaves of freshly-baked Everyday bread, and then, fantastically, changed his mind, and instructed 250 loaves to be donated to the UWC Soup Day,” Mr Solomon noted. “We thank you - and so do all the students fed as a result of your generosity.”.

Albany wasn’t alone in their generosity, of course. Professor Michael Davies-Coleman, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, and Professor Kailash Patidar, Head of UWC’s Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, and many others,,made generous donations.

“We thank all our donors for their wonderful and selfless support,” said Dr Solomons. “And we are grateful to and for the more than 200 members of the UWC Math Club for believing that this is a battle that is worth fighting, and a battle that the students of our communities and families will win.”

“Thank you to all who kindly donated cash, bread and their valuable time to make this day a success,” Sontshete concluded. “The UWC Math Club is committed to helping students with Mathematics, and we wish our students well in the June Examinations!”

UWC Math Club Food Drive: By The Numbers

Students have enough stress during exams; they don’t need to worry about empty stomachs as well. That’s why UWC Math Club held a food drive this week - and here’s how that went down.

  • 2 loaves of bread to start the day
  • 3 anonymous donors who added bread and cash to the Math Club Soup Day drive
  • 100 litres of soup served to hungry students
  • 200 members of the UWC Math Club who devoted their efforts to feeding their fellow students
  • 250 loaves of bread generously donated by Albany Bakeries
  • 280 loaves of bread served to accompany all that soup
  • 1 500 students writing Mathematics and Applied Mathematics exams
Want to know more about UWC Math Club? Of course you do! Looking for more amazing UWC numbers? Look no further!
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