Alumni have an important role to play in the development of the Durban University of Technology (DUT) institution and the Alumni Relations Office is tasked with initiating and implementing an Alumni Relations programme which will create a desire amongst alumni to identify with and support their alma mater.
Given the responsibility it is tasked with to never lose connection with graduates as one pursues one’s career, the DUT’s Advancement and Alumni Relations (AAR) department held an Awareness Lunch at the DUT Hotel School, Ritson Campus, on 25 October 2019.
Welcoming the guests to the event was Zwakele Ngubane, Director: Advancement and Alumni Relations, who said that the purpose of the event was to showcase DUTConnect, the team behind the Advancement and Alumni Relations (AAR) department, the role it plays, as well as how DUT graduates and staff can lend their support through the department and the DUTConnect platform.
Elaborating more on the Advancement and Alumni Relations (AAR) department was Nishie Govender, Manager: Fundraising and Alumni Relations.
She explained that the AAR department, in its current formation, was established in 2012/2013 with the support of the KRESGE Grant with the view to build capacity for advancement at DUT.
“Our mission is to provide strategic support to the University through fundraising and establishing meaningful relationships with stakeholders and to run with the efficiency and rigour of a business,” she said.
Govender further added that besides staying in touch with alumni and updating them on DUT developments, her team also aims to cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with strategic partners.
“We develop and mobilise support for the programmes, ask for donations in cash or kind, as well as identify donor interest and match that interest with funding needs at the University. Our main projects are the bursary fund and food security project,” she stressed.
Elaborating more on how one can donate was Pretty Zulu, who is the Fundraising Officer at the AAR department. She said that universities relied heavily on donor support to fund special projects that enrich student life and academic experiences of students. She urged DUT staff to continue being donors and appealed for more staff to consider becoming donors and making a difference to students who are in dire need of bursaries as well as the food security scheme.
Giving more of an overview of how DUT graduates can make a difference by joining DUTConnect was the Systems and Database Officer, Zipho Chamane.
“This is a platform specifically designed for DUT graduates (alumni). It is a network for alumni by alumni. DUTConnect allows alumni to join groups based on affiliations, offer and seek mentorship, attend exclusive events, post or find jobs on the career portal and most importantly, DUTConnect is about building and maintaining connections that matter,” he said.
Chamane added that through this platform, it can help one reconnect with one’s fellow alumni and faculty, connect with professionals, as well as use the directory to search for other connections.
“So give your support by donating to various projects, volunteering, mentoring and sharing your success stories. So search, find and reconnect,” he said.
There were also a student testimonial from the 2018 Alumni bursary recipient, DUT’s fourth-year Bachelor of Health Sciences in Medical Orthotics and Prosthetics student, Luvo Gugwana.
The charismatic, young lad is one of the 14 local social entrepreneurs chosen to be part of the 2019 Red Bull Amaphiko Academy class. He thanked the DUT (AAR) department for believing in him and allowing him to grow and become a success story.
In closing, Ngubane reiterated that DUTConnect is one’s link for life and giving one’s support to such a platform is about building and maintaining connections that matter. For more information, go to www.dutconnect.co.za.
Pictured: Zwakele Ngubane, Director: Advancement and Alumni Relations, speaking at the event.