Change the world


VC's climb fans fundrasing fire in students

By Nicky Willemse

HIS fundraising climb up Mount Fuji earlier this month would go beyond a personal mission for Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Vice-Chancellor Prof Derrick Swartz – as dozens of students followed his lead.

As Swartz trekked up Japan’s highest peak on August 7 – his #climb4nmmu quest raising just over R1-million for academically deserving but financially needy students – a group of top-achieving NMMU students set about growing a mountain of money for the same cause through a “R10 for 10 days” challenge, which they have decided to turn into an annual event.

Among the more creative profit-making efforts was a “Mind for Change” project, set up by student Natalya Apopo. She invited fellow students to attend group-based learning sessions, where she guided them through self-imposed limitations in different aspects of their lives, that were preventing them from reaching their full potential. She charged participants R10 for the first session (the rest were free), making R650 from her initial R10 investment.

The most profitable project was spearheaded by students Andrea Oelofse and Monet Swanepoel, with the assistance of another student Anja Nell, who raised a profit of R3,120 through raffles for six different meat prizes, selling tickets at R50 for the discounted meat products they had managed to source.

Nearly all of the students involved in the fundraising drive came from NMMU’s PinnAcle Leadership Programme for top-achieving students from the School of Accounting. They started the project with R10 from their own pockets. Their resulting profit, at the end of 10 days, was just short of R20,000.

The students, who have already handed over a cheque to Swartz, will be recognised for their efforts at a PinnAcle function on Wednesday (26 August).

Other students sold popcorn or baked goods, while others approached shops for donations of chocolate and other products, which they then sold for a profit.

PinnAcle coordinator Elize Naude said: “The students learnt various entrepreneurial skills about how to make a profit from a very small ‘investment’ of R10 ... The project dared our students to step outside their comfort zone and humble themselves to ask for support, even though they did not directly benefit from the fruits of their labours. At the end of the day, they learnt that, as [American author] David McCullough once said, ‘one should climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world’, thus shifting the focus from themselves to the wider NMMU community of students, for whom they were raising funds.”

Swartz’s Mount Fuji climb was his personal contribution to NMMU’s 10th birthday celebrations this year: he needed to climb 10 stages, across 10 base caps, before reaching the summit. The students’ “R10 for 10 days” project was also linked to NMMU’s 10-year milestone.

All funds raised have gone into the NMMU bursary fund.

George Campus come to the party

The George Campus hosted the World Forestry Congress Indaba during the winter recess and presented a very successful Indaba with about 350 delegates from Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, international dignitaries, including the Deputy Minister, General Cele.  The campus made available R10 000 of the income from the presenting of the Indaba towards the worthy cause of the VC.

Alumni dig deeper!

The NMMU Alumni Association made a further R40 000 contribution to the VC Climb4nmmu Campaign making its total contribution R50 000. The Association thanks all alumni and friends for supporting its various projects and events. Every small contribution allows the Association to support the institution in various meaningful ways. The Association thanks Prof Swartz for his role in raising funds for financial needy and deserving students. “The Association would like to encourage other stakeholders to support the Campaign to reach the R1 000 000 mark” says NMMU Alumni Association President Dr Randall Jonas (pictured left).   



Engineers put their hands in their pockets...

eNtsa, in the Faculty Of Engineering, the Built Environment & IT, donated R15 000 from their unit as well as an additional R160 from the pockets of staff and students. 


3rd Year Mentorship meeting

The 3rd year Pinnacle Programme Accounting students had a mentorship meeting where the 10 RAND FOR 10 DAYS Project was discussed

10 runs for 10 years for 10 stages

Last weekend the PinnAcle group and members of the NMMU community took part in the 5km Parkrun along Hobie Beach as part of their “10 RUNS FOR 10 YEARS FOR 10 STAGES” initiative in honour of the Vice-Chancellor and in order to voice their support for his Mount Fuji Project. The 5km Parkrun/walk will once again be taking place this Saturday 07:30 for 07:40 at the Pier, Hobie Beach and the PinnAcle group will be completing it in  partnership with the children from Lukhanyiso Children’s Home. All NMMU staff and students are welcome to join and should wear NMMU branded clothing or black/navy clothing.

3rd year Graphic Design students rise to the challenge!

NMMU Graphic Design 3rd Year Class of 2015 have pledged R700 of their own money to the Bursary Legacy Campaign as part of the VC’s fundraising climb.  

They decided as a class to support potential students just like themselves who may not have sufficient finance by saving and pledging to the campaign.  

"To feel the intimacy of brothers is a marvelous thing in life. To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life. But to feel the affection that comes from those whom we do not know, from those unknown to us, who are watching over our sleep and solitude, over our dangers and our weaknesses — that is something still greater and more beautiful because it widens out the boundaries of our being, and unites all living things." Pablo Neruda.

They challenge other NMMU student classes across the university to meet or better their pledge.  

Back from left: Lethabela Kgole, Michela Formento, Thessa Boshoff, Christopher Smith,  Aimee Taylor, Carla Dreyer, Matthew Larkin. Front: Devonia Such, Abigail Miles, Clarise Botha, Shannon Garrison, Chantelle Allers, Danielle Botha.

R10-a-day challenge

NMMU’s PinnAcle Leadership Programme members and the Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship students have started a R10-a-day challenge in aid of Prof Swartz' campaign. From left - Chandre Chrysanthou, Mikaela Oosthuizen, Ronnie Strydom, Sivuyile Dzina Duane Rensburg and Nikisha Lalloo. 

Fun rowing challenge...

The VC, along with a group of students and staff took part in a fun rowing challeneg as art of the build-up and preparation for the climb. Students were also given an opportunity to ask him questions and then challenged each other on the ergo machines.

Tea with the VC!

On Friday, 24 July - Prof Swartz invited Bursary Legacy Scheme recipient, Sakhumzi Dukwe (a second year Psychology student) to have tea with him and to give him the chance to ask him questions. Sukhumzi was delighted at the opportunity and spent an hour asking the VC where he grew up, what he studied at univeristy, what his leadership style is and what his vision for Africa as a whole is.

Stair challenge to benefit students

ACCESS to the top of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s main building is usually via a lift – unless you’re a vice-chancellor with a mission.

NMMU Vice-Chancellor Prof Derrick Swartz is using the 18-story climb to his office as part of his preparation to climb Mount Fuji in Japan to raise funds for needy students.

And now he’s challenging others to do likewise.

Prof Swartz has invited corporates to join him in a time trial challenge up the 18 flights of stairs to raise further awareness and funding for academically-deserving but financially-needy students throughout the country.

Joining Prof Swartz in the stair challenge on Tuesday, 21 July 2015 are participants from Investec, Fedics, Volkswagen Community Trust, Sanlam and Standard Bank.

Participants will meet at the bottom of the stairs to begin the “race” to the top of the building.  Prof Swartz will lead the way with challengers following alphabetically, every 5 minutes.

The #climb4nmmu campaign is particularly focused on the needs of students in the Eastern Cape, recognised as South Africa’s poorest province.

The R9.5 billion distributed as part of the government's National Student Financial Assistance Scheme (NSFAS) annually does not meet national needs, and certainly not within NMMU.

The stair challenge is one of several initiatives by Prof Swartz to prepare for the 3,7km climb of Mount Fuji, which is also symbolic of the obstacles many students face in order to get a tertiary qualification. There are 10 base camps leading up to the peak, one for each year of NMMU's first decade.

All funds will go to the University's Bursary Legacy Campaign run by the NMMU Trust. Their Ignite a Candle campaign is already supporting worthy students.

The University is hoping to raise at least R500 000 to support further students for the duration of their degrees or diplomas.

Participants’ starting and finishing times will be recorded as they enter the stairwell and exit the stairwell on the 18th floor.