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The Advancement and Alumni Relations Office at the Durban University of Technology has adopted the University’s Envision 2030 objective of stablishing mutually beneficial partnerships to improve the lives and livelihoods of the DUT community and society.

This was recently backed up by Feenix, a public benefit organisation that assists students in graduating debt-free, who awarded them the University of the Year Award for ensuring that access to education is not dependent on wealth.

Feenix Student Engagement Manager, Cara-Jean Petersen took time out to explain the reasons behind DUT being the best choice for this prestigious award.

She said despite this award, a DUT staff member, Mthetheleli Gwaza from the Advancement and Relations Office received a Feenix University Staff of the Year Award.

Gwaza who was appointed as the Feenix Liaison was honoured for his dedication when leading the Feenix-DUT relationship.

“What contributed towards DUT winning the University of the Year Award is the excellent responsiveness and administrative support during student recruitment drives and disbursement periods (student payments). DUT’s initiative in raising brand awareness of Feenix and linking students to alternative funding opportunities like an online crowdfunding profile. Regular media exposure (newsletters, social media posts, website etc.) Strong, invested and fruitful relationships between Advancement & Alumni Relations Office and Feenix Student Engagement Team,” said Petersen.

She said DUT also assisted with Student Ambassador recruitment and training, actively assisting with recruitment during the #CapTheGap campaign launched in response to COVID-19 and lockdown.

“The recruitment resulted in 109 students being assisted with laptops, data and food vouchers. The donation value was R823 130, 21. All efforts resulted in a 1400% growth of funded students when comparing November 2019 to November 2020 statistics. To date 34 DUT students have been funded with a total value of R791 429.86, thanks to this fruitful partnership,” explained Petersen.

Furthermore, Petersen said DUT consistently went above and beyond in building and strengthening the partnership in order to benefit their students and see more students progress through their academic journey debt free.

Advancement and Alumni Relations Director, Zwakele Ngubane said the DUT-Fennix relationship began in 2017 and they are looking forward to a long term relationship to increase the number of DUT students who benefits from the Feenix Crowd-Funding. He said they are looking forward to greater things during this year, 2021 and beyond. Ngubane thanked his team for their dedication towards their work, especially Gwaza for flying the DUT flag up high.

Pictured: Advancement and Alumni Relations Director, Zwakele Ngubane and his team when they were previously honoured for their excellence service (taken pre-covid)

Simangele Zuma

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