The University of the Western Cape (UWC) officially launched it’s Access to Success campaign at the SABC in Sea Point last week.
The campaign aims to proactively help needy students whose plight was highlighted during last year’s Fees Must Fall protests.
Through the campaign, businesses are urged to donate to a national fund, which will help fund university students.
There will also be campaigns run on SABC radio to raise awareness of the issue.
At the launch on Thursday August 26, Professor Patricia Law-rence, the head of the Department of Institutional Advancement, said: “Our students come from very disadvantaged backgrounds and often don’t have the means (to pay university fees).
“It is about us taking responsibility for supporting our students. We can’t wait for somebody to come to the party. We are going to have to support our students to get the best quality education and allow them to do the best they can.”
Ms Lawrence stressed that it was important for universities to take a pro-active approach.
“It’s not only a government resp-onsibility, it’s a collective one. It is about producing the best quality of graduates that we can for our society. That is what it is all about at the end of the day.”
She said it was an exciting challenge and they were glad the campaign was up and running.
“I hope it is something that we can be very proud of at the end of the day.
“We have to be able to sustain this next year and the year after.”
Ms Lawrence added that they hoped the project would grow in the future and challenged corporates to get involved and contribute to the campaign. “At the end of the day, the graduates we produce are of benefit to these businesses. That is what makes it a collective effort.”
Winston Middleton, also of UWC, said over 16 000 pupils commute from all parts of Cape Town to campus on a daily basis. He said 66 percent of the pupils at the university were seriously concerned about the funding of their studies, while 54 percent of pupils worked part-time during their matric year to help cover their bills.
Mr Middleton added that more than 60 percent of pupils at the university were first generation pupils.
“When we put all together what you find is a group of young people hungry for a tertiary education and having a burning desire to succeed. We say open access to higher education, barriers must fall to ensure retention of success.”
UWC students, staff and alumni have also been encouraged to get involved via the Access to Success Phonathon, providing students with the chance to build awareness around alumni relations, and giving alumni the chance to get involved with a current UWC campaign aimed at benefiting its students.
The campaign also encourages South Africans from all walks of life to support students.
For more information about the access to success campaign which was launched in Sea Point last week, visit http://accesstosuccess.uwc.ac.za/