Our university has started to rethink our way of welcoming first year students, in such a way as to promote the HOPE project. The HOPE project focuses on three pillars:
It is the latter that has been revolutionary: for universities to accept responsibility in the community is less obvious than the former two.
This past Friday, we organised a community interaction day. We took our first years to various spots for service to the surrounding communities. The Health Sciences first years were taken to a nearby township where they performed skits about wellness promotion and served food to the school children.
We served and interacted with 15 000 children that day.
But I have no doubt that this was a huge turning point for many first years too – difficult as it was to see such poverty.