During the month of August, The University of the Western Cape (UWC) Alumni Relations Office will embark on its 2019 UWC Alumni Phonathon to seek donations from the thousands of women and men who have walked the corridors of this historic institution.
Public tertiary institutions relying solely on traditional funding models are finding them unsustainable. Universities have to make up the shortfall in creative, sustainable ways.
UWC has, like many universities around the globe, appealed to the goodwill of its growing alumni community, many of whom have gone on to become captains of industry and leaders in their communities, and who are using innovation to change the world.
During the phonathon, UWC students will lead the way by making contact with alumni from their respective faculty.
“The phonathon is not solely to ask for donations. It is an invaluable opportunity for students to network with alumni working in their field of study,” says Niven Maree, Alumni Relations Manager at UWC. “Students will also receive training on, among other things, phone etiquette, time management and effective communication. In the past, many students have, thanks to the phonathon, even secured employment after graduating. It also serves as an opportunity for potential donors to hear about, first-hand, the harsh realities students are faced with on campus.”
The phonathon forms part of a broader fundraising campaign called Access to Success, which was started in 2016. The initiative’s sole purpose is to fund academically deserving students at UWC through support from businesses and even staff. Hundreds of staff members have heeded the call by pledging a portion of their salaries – starting at R50 a month – to the campaign.
Maree says that to date, in excess of R2.3 million has been raised through Access to Success, and more than 150 students have benefitted.
UWC postgraduate student Zandile Gqada participated in the 2017 phonathon and was also a beneficiary of the campaign. “I was in need financially, and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was so grateful when they paid my fees. It encouraged me and gave me hope. It made me want to pursue my dreams and motivated me to do well,” explains Gqada, who says that manning the phones was an eye-opener.
“I informed alumni about happenings on campus, heard about their stories, and I could relate to them. It was encouraging to know that I would be as successful as they are some day.”
Author: Aidan van den Heever