When Stellenbosch University was established in 1918, the University had 503 students. In the subsequent decades, the number of students has substantially increased as the University’s academic offering expanded to the current ten faculties – AgriSciences, Economic and Management Sciences, Medical and Health Sciences, Engineering, Military Sciences, Arts and Social Sciences, Science, Education, Law and Theology – spread over five campuses. We currently have a student corps of over 30000! Moreover, we are delighted to have over 170 000 alumni located across 123 countries around the world. Maties are increasingly global citizens with greater international mobility and it has become increasingly clear that we as the alumni relations team must continue to take these new realities into account.
Over the past year, as the Stellenbosch University Alumni Relations Manager, I have had the great pleasure of meeting and getting to know many of our alumni across South Africa, Namibia, the rest of the African continent, the UK and Europe, the USA and Canada as well as Hong Kong and Singapore. Our Maties alumni never disappoint—they are always instinctively welcoming, warm, curious, open, and passionate about making a difference in the world – wherever they may find themselves located.
The best universities in the world all have strong alumni networks. They arouse strong loyalty from those who studied there – mostly during those crucial, formative years of early adulthood. Stellenbosch University is no exception. It has become increasingly apparent that our alumni are our ambassadors and champions across the globe and we are looking forward to reconnect with many more Maties going into 2019 and beyond.
The SU alumni relations team is looking to enrich the lives of alumni and engage all Maties as volunteers, advocates, and contributors who continue to strengthen Stellenbosch University. As part of our visits to and engagement events with alumni across the country, Africa and indeed the world, it has become increasingly clear that Maties do well wherever they may find themselves and that ‘Once a Matie, Always a Matie’ is certainly reflected in the conversations and engagements that I’ve had with our alumni during our recent events.
We acknowledge the continued support of our alumni to SU and reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that the university continues to be guided by our motto: Pectora roborant cultus recti, which essentially means ‘A sound education strengthens the spirit’. Moreover, we are pleased to note that the SU vision 2030 of being an inclusive, innovative, and future-focused institution that is a place of discovery and excellence is certainly one that all alumni can be proud of as we continue to make great strides in ensuring that we create networking and engagement opportunities for a broad and diverse spectrum of Maties.
As we prepare for our 2019 Maties Alumni Homecoming Weekend which will take place from 1- 4 March next year (2019, be sure to keep in touch with us via our social media platforms as we’re putting together a variety of tailor-made activities, especially selected for our alumni who wish to come and visit their alma mater during the Centenary activities. A music extravaganza, class and residence reunions, a family fun day, a mountain-biking experience and other sport and recreational activities, as well as a host of other social activities and SU Woordfees shows will likely be on offer again. Visit www.matiesalumni.com for updates on what to expect in 2019.
Universities need their alumni and friends more than ever – that’s the case internationally, and also in SA, including here at Maties, particularly during these very dynamic times in the higher education sector.
University is sometimes perceived as a long-anticipated storm. Many know of its coming; most prepare all their lives for it, and more often than not, it is over as quickly as it came. University can sometimes leave people in a daze, wondering what happened to the best three or four (or more!) years of their lives, and how they are supposed to cope with entering the real world like all the other graduates alongside them. Nonetheless, the alumni relations team is working towards ensuring that we put in place a programme of activities that will provide support to all of our alumni across the generational divide.
Fellow Maties, if you are passionate about your alma mater or wish to stay connected to the place you once called home, there are a multitude of ways to keep yourself in the loop and connected. In addition to a wide range of alumni events, clubs and international hubs that we are activating for alumni around the world, consider the following ways to stay connected with SU:
In the age where social media dominates nearly every phone or computer, and where the words “like” or “pages” hang on the corner of every mouth, websites such as Facebook are a great way to keep in touch with SU and get the latest info on exciting achievements and developments at SU. From upcoming events to a blast from the past, there is no easier way to figure out all the details on the next big event. It is also a great way to find other alumni through the Facebook page, thus expanding your connections and networks even further!
Twitter – https://twitter.com/SU_Alumni
Too distracted by the real world to read the fine prints of every single Facebook post? Twitter’s 140-character post limit allows the reader to get to the point in a short amount of time. It is a fast, efficient, and simple way stay up to date on the latest SU conversations and to see pictures of places where you once hung out during your educational career.
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/groups/74670
If you haven’t gotten a LinkedIn account yet, then this would be a wonderful time to start. LinkedIn is essentially like Facebook, but for all your professional connections and a place for you to really show off your skills and work experiences. We at SU have our own LinkedIn account to help our beloved alumni make connections with other alum. It’s a great way to widen your professional circle. You may never know what opportunities may come your way simply because you were following the SU Alumni LinkedIn page!
Alumni can also follow our page on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/matiesalumni/