In what is probably a first for South Africa, Stellenbosch University (SU) will host a conference that brings together a group of universities from small cities and towns, similar to Stellenbosch, to discuss matters related to meaningful campus and city partnerships.
The two day “Town and Gown Conference” forms part of SU’s centenary commemoration in 2018.
- Members of the media are invited to attend the conference to be held in the Ou Hoofgebou (Old Main Building) in Ryneveld Street in Stellenbosch from 28 – 30 November 2018.
“Town and gown” are the two distinct communities of a university town referring to the non-academic community and the university community. Although the term has strong historical connotations, especially referring to ancient places of learning like Oxford and Cambridge, it is also used to describe modern university towns as well as towns with a significant public university.
Prof Hester Klopper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategy and Internationalisation, says that, in the spirit of SU’s centenary commemoration, “this conference is a unique opportunity to both reflect on the past interaction between the University and the town and also to explore and look forward to new opportunities for collaboration”.
Commenting on the conference, Prof Wim de Villier, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, said that the conference will explore the unique relationship typical of university towns and cities globally – the interdependence between the staff, students, faculties and divisions of universities and the people, businesses and governance structures of the towns and cities in which they are located.
“SU is proud to be one of the anchor institutions of Stellenbosch. In fact, it is an inextricable part of our self-definition. We are deeply aware that our institution is embedded in a local ecology along with various others, and that we too have a role to play in addressing such challenges as poverty alleviation, job creation and inclusive economic growth. Being a research-intensive university, SU primarily fulfils this role by delivering highly skilled graduates, contributing cutting-edge research that offers solutions and innovations in response to societal challenges, and being a major employer in the region.”
A recent study by the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) at SU found that the economic impact of the University on output is estimated to be R5,1 billion in 2016.
Participants are from among others the University of Bath, Coventry University and Durham University in England; the University of St Andrews in Scotland; Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland; Lund University in Sweden; the University Goëttingen in Germany; Queen’s University in Canada; KU Leuven in Belgium; Penn State University in the USA; and, Rhodes University and the University of Fort Hare in South Africa.
Themes include Why is the relation between Town and Gown important?; Towards Social Cohesion: Complexities and opportunities of a strong town and gown link; The role of sport in bringing Town and Gown together; Restoring relations with the community; Economic Impact of the Gown; Town and Gown in support of internationalisation and How student projects are engaged to build community in community while developing competencies that underpin Graduate Attributes.
Source Stellenbosch University