The University of Johannesburg (UJ) Office of Community Engagement, together with the Alumni Relations Office, recently launched Tsalanang Fridays – an activation campaign aimed at spreading awareness about community engagement initiatives for students at UJ.
Community Engagement (CE) at UJ has three components, namely Service Learning, Community Based Research and Organised Outreach.
This is a form of community engagement that entails teaching and learning directed at specific community needs, and is circulated into (and therefore also assessed as part of) a credit-bearing academic programme. Service Learning enables students to participate in, and subsequently reflect on, contextualised, structured and organised service activities that address identified service needs within a community. It also seeks to infuse students with a sense of civic responsibility and promote social justice.
This entails research projects that make a significant contribution to a community in the form of services, products and/or new knowledge and skills transfer.
This is a form of community engagement that entails institutionally organised activities, which are carried out by students and employees initiated either within faculties or in other divisions of the institution, and are separate from academic programmes. These activities address the development need of community interest groups by providing them with services and resources as determined by such communities.
Community Engagement can be explained as initiatives and processes that employ the knowledge capital and resources of a higher education institution in the creation of partnerships between the institution and communities that address the development needs of those communities. Such initiatives and processes are made available by the institution to the communities for no financial consideration.
Volunteer Fridays, the new activation initiative, will see existing volunteers interact with students on campus, spreading the word about volunteering and offering them the opportunity to sign up as volunteers themselves. Volunteer Fridays (referred to as Tsalanang Fridays) will take place on each of the four UJ campuses, namely Doornfontein Campus, Soweto Campus, Auckland Park Bunting Road Campus and Auckland Park Kingsway Campus every Friday.
In order to drive the activation further and get more students to volunteer for Community Engagement, UJ has strategically formed partnerships with communication channels such as the UJFM.