The College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES) recently hosted its first management/ Student Representative Council Indaba on the Westville campus to discuss matters of importance to both parties.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the CAES, Professor Albert Modi, welcomed leadership of the College and the SRC to the event.

SRC leadership members from all University campuses were invited.

The forum enabled management in the College and SRC leadership to get to know each other in terms of their roles in each division, with discussions aimed at improving relationships between management and the student body.

SRC representatives thanked the CAES for arranging the event and demonstrating their support for students.

‘This meeting is about students,’ said Modi. ‘The view of the College is that one of the core objectives of our strategy and values is that we have to deliver to stakeholders, including students.

‘The SRC should encourage students to participate in making sure the objectives of the SRC, College and University are met. We rely on them to ensure that the visibility of students as stakeholders is present,’ said Modi.

Modi reminded participants about of the vision and mission of the University. It was confirmed that the College hoped to conclude each proposed agenda item with an “in principle” resolution.

Proceedings started with discussions about the need to formalise communication between the College and the SRC on student issues through enforcing the class representative system, and via student participation in College meetings. The SRC requested that they be involved in the planning of new initiatives, and stated their aim to plan proactively with the College.

Ms Shelley Barnsley of Student Support Services (SSS) listed the services offered under the agenda item of student wellness; with participants confirming the need to improve student wellness through the use of these services, including access to the measures in place for after-hours emergencies.

In terms of extra-curricular and non-academic activities, it was proposed that activities such as competitions relevant to academic disciplines be arranged to stimulate students to participate and improve their performance. Employment opportunities were discussed with the SRC requesting that the College prioritise working closely with industry to improve opportunities for students, and that internship opportunities be explored.

Health and safety on campus was debated, especially methods of encouraging students to take responsibility for and exercise leadership in matters of health and safety.

Other matters included proposals for events to interest students and encourage their participation and improve the quality of life on campus and in residences.

Participants indicated their support for this forum becoming a regular event for improving dialogue between University management and students.

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photograph: Bheki Mthembu