The Offices for Community Engagement and Alumni at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) recognise, on an annual basis, alumni who excel in their respective fields. This year was no exception.
The University honoured three successful alumni, with the UJ Alumni Dignitas Award on Friday, 19 October 2012. At the same event, the University also presented three recipients with the Goodwill Ambassadors Award, for their outstanding contribution to the higher education sector. The Goodwill Ambassadors Award recognises prominent alumni that raised awareness about the aims, objectives and priorities of the University and its alumni, and also convey messages about its activities and to extend its public outreach.
Pietie Coetzee (Hockey Player & World Record Holder) , Herman Bosman (CEO: Deutche Bank SA) and Gideon Sam (President: SASCOC) were bestowed with Alumni Dignitas Awards recognising the crucial advocacy role they played in resource mobilisation for the University. The Alumni Dignitas Award is the highest honour any alumni at UJ can receive from their fellow alumni and university staff. Louwtjie Nel (CEO: WHBO);, Trix Coetzer (CFO: SARS) and late Bongani Hoboyi (Chief Executive: Hoboyi & Associates) received the Goodwill Ambassador Award.
Accepting his award as Community Engagement’s Best Student Volunteer, Thando Dlula summed up what Community Engagement stands for and what it could mean to those caring enough to get involved: “At first, I joined for a day, but soon realised that I could do so much more. It is wonderful to wake up in the morning knowing that you have done something for someone less fortunate than yourself.”
It came as no surprise that one of UJ’s biggest success stories, its Law Clinic under Eddie Hanekom, won first prize as Best Community Engagement Project for 2012. Not only did the Law Clinic open its flagship clinic in Soweto but it also celebrated its 30th birthday in 2011. The clinics work to achieve two primary goals:
- Clinical education of final year LLB students. These students, in a real law situation and with real clients, must develop their ability to think analytically. They are also made aware of practical consequences when theoretical knowledge is applied in practice. (Service learning)
- Delivery of free legal services to underprivileged members of the public in line with the guidelines of the Law Society of South Africa.
Service at the clinic constitutes practical work and is a compulsory year course for final year LLB students. Every student has to do 80 hours of clinical work in their final year, working with clients who are either unemployed or earning less than R6 000 per month.
The second prize was won by the Faculty of Health Sciences for its Phelophepa Train Project. This is an organised outreach project where UJ students, under the guidance of Ansunel de la Ray, offer screening and health education services at schools on the Phelophepa route as well as health awareness in rural communities. It is a Service Learning initiative that entails teaching and learning at identified communities. The impact of this project is clearly visible as service delivery and health care services are enhanced in a meaningful way.
The third prize went to the Faculty of Management’s EP Baumann School Project. An eating programme was established following a baseline study into disciplinary problems which was found to be the result of poor eating habits. Skills such as the preparation and handling of food are part of the programme . This is a Service Learning Project, under the auspices of Dr Hema Kesa and Pieter van der Weshuizen.