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 The Faculty of Arts and Design (FoAD) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) hosted its first-year student orientation at the DUT Courtyard Theatre, Ritson Campus on Monday, 25 March 2024.  The annual  programme was to officially welcome all its first-year students who are based in Durban.

The jam-packed programme was aimed at equipping students with useful information in making a successful transition to university life, featuring different, multiple support units from DUT.

Speakers included representatives from the Writing Centre, Student Support and Development Unit, Student Counselling and Health, Financial Aid and Scholarships, Student Governance and Development, Campus Protection Services, Club Societies and Library Services.

DUT’S Professor Runette Kruger, Executive Dean of the Faculty welcomed and addressed the students, emphasising the importance of actively taking care of their mental health.

“Studying can be overwhelming, but I want you all to be extra vigilant of your mental health. I  want every student to, at some point of their studies, become aware of themselves as an agent or someone who has the power of changing things on a global stage. I wish you all the best in this journey at DUT which is now your home and hope you will enjoy your studies,” she said.

The session continued with alumni guest speaker, Mr Philasande  Hlomuka, who urged first-year students to use the opportunity given to them to do well for themselves. He assured students that they are committed in supporting students the best way they can.

“The institution strives to not only give just academic excellence, but there are also a number of programmes that are able to politically develop you as well. Programmes that are here will help you in knowing how to take care of your mental health and social development,” he said.

Professor Colin Thakur delivered the keynote address on Online Netiquette: Managing your digital footprint. He described the importance of netiquette as a way of avoiding adverse consequences.

“Netiquette is a made-up word from the words net and etiquette. Netiquette thus describes the rules of conduct for respectful and appropriate communication on the internet,” he said.

 He further explained to students that the term is mostly used for dealing with unknown people on the internet and it is up to the operator of a website or communication app to specify the type and scope of netiquette.

Explaining the NSFAS financial eligibility were administrative assistants under the Financial Aid Unit, Sphumelele Dladla and Letsebela Morai, who began by explaining on the criteria’s that are necessary for students to adhere to in terms of applying for the funding.

Other speakers included  Ms Andrea Alcock from the Writing centre, Ms Nomcebo Mthimkhulu with Library services, Ms Kholeka Sengiphiwe Mfeka from Clubs and Societies, Sister Nomusa Mhlongo from Campus Health, Ms Phumzile Monageng from Student Counselling, Ms Francesca Verga from  DUT Art Gallery and Mr John Pillay from Campus Protection Services unit.

Academic Development Practitioner in the Faculty of Arts and Design, Mrs Roshnee Sunder extended her appreciation to all the attendees and encouraged students to focus on their studies.

“Everybody is here to support you and encourage you on your journey, but you have to play your part as students and be focused. Practice taking care of your mental health as you grow. You are building your identities towards becoming and being critical, global citizens beyond DUT,” she concluded.

Pictured: Professor Runette Kruger welcomes guests at the first year’s student orientation.

Thubelihle Dumakude

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