“The old saying rings true, that it takes a village to raise a child - but it’s also true that it takes a whole campus to raise up a student. And when we all band together to help others become educated, there’s no limit to the benefits to society as well as the difference it makes to individual lives.”
So said Prof. Tyrone Pretorius, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Western Cape (UWC), speaking at the closing ceremony of the Access to Success Campaign - a fundraising initiative that raised R1 708 259 in pledges from UWC staff, alumni and the wider public - and empowered student helpers while doing so.
Access To Success is a UWC fundraising-initiative that aims to change the harsh reality faced by so many students throughout South Africa every year: the struggle to achieve academically while keeping up with the financial demands of higher education and student life.
From 7 August to 2 September 2017, 60 student callers worked through a database of 18 000 UWC alumni contacts from across South Africa and beyond, calling them with the aim to connect, update their contact details and raise funds to address student fees needs as part of the Access To Success campaign. Donations from alumni, businesses and even staff are put to work to fund academically achieving students who want to study at the University.
Patricia Lawrence, Director of Institutional Advancement at UWC, expressed her gratitude towards the public, alumni and staff for their generosity during this campaign.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without the students who manned the call centre for the duration of the campaign, calling up every alumnus of the University to make a contribution,” she said.
She complimented them on pushing through the grueling training sessions and congratulated them on making a success of the campaign.
“It is not only a great achievement, but in the process you’ve learnt new skills. This celebration is all about you - and the way you touched hearts and minds with your passion and dedication.”
Following the calls, feedback from alumni suggests that they felt a deep sense of appreciation that they were contacted by students from their alma mater - and many were more than willing to contribute.
“You truly embraced ubuntu and you shared your commitment to caring about others,” Prof. Pretorius, who also made a few calls himself, told the phonathon participants.
“You are aware of the need for students to have a dignified student experience, and you wanted to be part of the change. Small acts amplified can transform this University - and the world. Now that is something to be proud of.”
Access To Success: A Brighter Future
The Access To Success campaign began last year, when more than R1 million was raised in the phonathon linked to the campaign, and over 500 new donors were brought on board.
“With last year’s contributions, 93 students have already benefited,” says Samantha Castle, Manager of the UWC Alumni Relations Office. “Deserving students who might otherwise have dropped out can now go on to become teachers, and doctors, and scientists and philosophers - and make their mark in the world.”
Currently, students may apply for Access To Success funding through the UWC Financial Aid Office. The University hopes to assist even more students with the Access To Success campaign next year.