USA STUDY TOUR STUDENTS AND GCI GROUP REPORT BACK
By: Dale Munatswa
Bright ideas to improve student life were brought into context at the USA Study Tour and Green Campus Initiative (GCI) National Conference Report Back Discussion at Walsingham Residence on Saturday.
Students who went to the United States and National Mandela Metropolitan University courtesy of the Durban University of Technology’s Housing Department reported back on their experiences and findings.
According to the head of the Housing Department Dr Theophilus Mhyassengo, the USA study tour programme started in 2009. It involves the selection of students who visit universities in the United States. The aim of the tour is to learn programmes and means that better residence and varsity life there and adopt them. Upon their return, the students will try to apply the programmes at DUT.
Dr Mhyassengo said the tour has been yielding very good results since it started. Six students, 3 boys and 3 girls went on the tour this year; namely Snethemba Mazibuko, Mbalenhle Ngcobo, Smanga Sangwemi, Linda Nxumalo, Bongeka sithole and Thokozani Mbatha.
The students presented their findings and experiences to the house committees of all DUT residences at the conference based on the various seminars they attended on the tour.
Bongeka Sithole gave an insight of the various types of leadership skills analogous to the skills required to keep a ship sailing that can be used by DUT’s house committee. Mbali Ngcobo presented on the types of programmes which need to be put in place to improve the lives of the Transgender, Lesbian, Homosexual, Bisexual community in varsity residences. She highlighted the importance of a community which is tolerant to any sexuality. Linda
Nxumalo touched on how the USA is sustaining its environment. He said one of the largest universities in the US, the America University uses solar and wind energy to supply electricity throughout its campuses, and DUT is capable of doing the same.
Linda Nxumalo said that the programmes being implemented in US universities can be implemented at DUT with the committed leadership of the university and he encouraged students to work hand in hand with management
“It is very possible, for example the people in the administration like the idea of going green. The Vice Chancellor signed the pledge that the university will going green. Only if all of us work together it will be possible,” said Nxumalo.
The (GCI) group reflected on their experience at the GCI National Conference at the National Mandela Metropolitan University.
The team came up with many ways of improving varsity life using sustainable means. Some of the projects they proposed include; a clean-up campaign on taxi ranks adjacent to the institution, plantation of trees and awareness campaigns.
Senior Residence Life Officer Sthuthu Mashabane challenged the GCI group to do more. She encouraged them not to dwell on the challenges they are facing. She gave assurance to insist them in all their endeavors which promote favorable living and learning conditions for DUT students.
Mashabane said, “We have to stop blaming each other and start implementing programs to improve residence life. Let’s not talk about budget, there is no budget. Just come up with a program and we will support it.”
Thokozani Mbatha and the rest of the teams described their trips as exciting and educative. They gave assurance that they are ready to implement what they learnt. Hence they stand obliged to do as such.