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24 August 2022
SDS Day 2022 - students and staff strengthen and celebrate UWC’s resilient spirit
The cold and rain on August 17 did little to dampen students’ enthusiasm and excitement during SDS Day, which was rekindled after a two year break due to the lockdown and phased return of students to campus. The SDS Day event was reimagined, and the Jakes Gerwel Main Hall was a hive of activity when different Student Development and Support (SDS) Departments came together to showcase their services and programmes. Students clearly missed such an interactive and sociable atmosphere. 
 
There were an impressive number of participants, and SDS Departments were kept busy with games, competitions, lucky draws, entertainment and, of course, disseminating information about the services on offer. SDS has a responsibility to keep the positive energy going, and there are so many other similar projects and activities lined up in the next few months. 
 
Prof Pamela Dube meeting students at SDS Day 2022

As an annual fun-filled event that brings students and staff together, SDS Day allows students to showcase their talents and get involved in social developmental programmes and creative projects or activities. The skills and commitment they display will be harnessed and supported, as the university is a supportive environment that invests resources in student projects that contribute directly to achieving key priority areas. 
 
During her address, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Development and Support, Professor Pamela Dube, highlighted the absence of the SDS Day over the last two years and sought encouragement from the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic drove the campus community into new paths of learning and connecting. This, she said, demonstrates the undying spirit that has always defined UWC as a great university. 

“Today, SDS reconnects with the students, an occasion specially tailored for them, as we highlight the purpose of the division, highlighting our mission of support which extends further and outside of the classroom, creating a fully holistic experience for all our students,” said Prof Dube.
 
The SDS leadership team interacted with students throughout the event, and the Director of Sport Administration, Mr Mandla Gagayi, could not hold back his emotions. 
 
“I’m over the moon seeing this hall so full, and I also think this is what our students have been missing. Some of them haven’t been to campus for almost three years due to the pandemic, so what better way for SDS to showcase what we are about, especially those that play a key role in supporting our students. So seeing them coming in big numbers gives me hope that our students see value in what SDS has to offer, and all our six department stalls are packed to show that our students are curious to know what UWC and SDS can offer them,” said Mr Gagayi.
 
Students responded positively to the event. They displayed the desire to know more about SDS, asked hard questions and made interesting suggestions to staff. Tamryn van der Merwe, a second-year social work student, was full of praise and remarked: “SDS is a blessing to UWC students and it is up to us to make use of these services. I am a second-year student and this my first SDS Day, and I will definitely join the co-curricular programmes, and make use of the services on offer. I will definitely come back next year.”
 
The audience was entertained by all the Udubs Got Talent Season 8 semi-finalists, namely, Skyla Kamaldien, Sinethemba Mamba, Ischa Lottering, Ntando Mavimbela, and the winner of Season 7, Kiahra Vantura. The ever charismatic masters of ceremonies - Vuyokazi Sophaza and Nqobile Gumede - kept the event alive.
 
A student accepts a prize from Prof Dube
Prize-winners on the day were Onam Nqwazi, a third-year Bachelor of Arts student who won a book voucher, Pheladi Rasteke, a second-year Pharmacy student who also won a book voucher, and the overall winner, Tamryn van der Merwe, a third-year Bachelor of Arts student walked away with a Lenovo laptop.

Prof Dube praised the entire organising team for working tirelessly to ensure a successful event. She called on all UWC students to make use of the opportunity to feed their curiosity, ask many questions, and take the information provided to benefit them.
 
The event also saw the biggest announcement and official launch of the new SDS brand identity, with Prof Dube’s address focusing on the new tagline - LEARN BECOME THRIVE. This is a warrior call that propels us into action 
 
SDS always supports students’ desire to LEARN, by providing the appropriate living and learning spaces on campus. Through the Financial Aid Office, funding options will be made available to deserving students, while Centre for Student Support Services (CSSS) and Campus Health and the Wellness Centre will continue to offer psychosocial and medical support to students. 
 
SDS lends a helping hand as students BECOME the global citizens; well-rounded active participants in the world around them, to extend their horizons beyond the lecture room, and to start the journey towards reaching their full potential as adults. Office for Student Development (OSD) is ready to discuss career choices and to explore what the future may have in store for students as they pursue their careers.
 
Students are encouraged to THRIVE inside and outside the lecture rooms through various opportunities in the many co-curricular programmes the university offers - many of which were displayed during the SDS Day event. Students are encouraged to be part of the SLIP programme, which nurtures the next generation of student leaders, destined to be South Africa’s leaders of tomorrow, said Prof Dube.