University Authorities Need to Increase Assistance for New Age Students
By Nomqhele Dube
Philanthropy - defined as the desire to promote the welfare of others expressed especially by the generous donation of money, goods or skills to good causes - is what makes an Enactus member passionate about working with communities. It is the love for humanity, a more conventional modern definition for this would be “private initiatives for the public good focusing on quality of life”, which combine an original humanistic tradition with a social scientific aspect developed in the 20th century.
Philanthropy has characteristics that distinguish or separate it from charity. Not all charity is philanthropy and not all philanthropic actions are charity, although in practice, there is a recognised degree of overlap. A difference often mentioned is that charity aims to relieve the pain of a particular social problem, whereas philanthropy attempts to address the root cause of the problem - the difference between the proverbial gift of a fish to a hungry person versus teaching them how to fish.
For Enactus, transformation is a process of profound and radical change that positions an organisation in a new direction and takes it to an entirely different level of efficiency and effectiveness. Unlike “turnaround” which implies incremental progress on the same level, transformation implies a basic change of character with little or no resemblance to the past configuration or structure.
A transformation is a dramatic change in form or appearance. An important event such as getting a driver’s licence, going to university, or getting married can cause a transformation in a person’s life. It is an extreme, radical change. When a transformation occurs, the phrase “undergo a transformation” is used in reference to the person or thing which has changed.
Institutions of Higher Education can effectively make a huge difference in transforming and adding value to the lives of Enactus members and members of other clubs and societies that work with communities through philanthropy.
For an Institution of Higher Education focused on improving student success outcomes, developing a definition of success in that particular institution is an essential first step.
Once the end goal is clear, the institution can develop a holistic, student-centered strategy across all dimensions of the student experience, from the classroom to support services to campus operations to relationships with the broader community, opening up job opportunities in the real world all designed to foster measurable improvements in persistence rates, time to graduation, and completion rates. Being a part of a club or society such as Enactus is more like having a second degree as being a member of the organisation is very time consuming and demanding.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal, for example, can increase academic assistance for students who are members of appropriate clubs and societies because not only are they raising the UKZN flag high, but they are also Inspiring Greatnessand thus being an example for (1) primary and high school learners who aspire to be in the mould of Enactus members, (2) the unemployed youth who had given up on achieving until they met up with an Enactus member who enlightened them and taught them about innovation and entrepreneurship, and (3) elderly men and women who have been taught a new way of farming that is not labour intensive, providing another opportunity of bringing in income to their households.
Universities are in contact with a lot of organisations which can teach individuals about leadership, and host workshops and seminars with various topics to benefit young people working to assist communities.
Universities should help individuals get opportunities to better themselves and to transform their characters so as to improve the philanthropic work being done in communities. Such opportunities could include scholarships as most individuals in clubs and societies working with communities are not A grade students - rather, they are average students who spend a lot of their time helping those in need, missing out on lectures to travel to an area far from the institution. Universities should also look into providing internships or graduate programmes to further the vision and mission of the institution, which has been instilled in Enactus members through the work done.
Institutions of Higher Education should adapt to the needs of the diverse, dynamic, and changing student population by providing flexible services and a greater sense of connection. When students fail to graduate in the allotted time, sometimes it is ordinary obstacles of daily life that are to blame. Conflicts with unreliable child care, lack of transport, and changing class schedules can all obstruct students in their progress towards the completion of their degrees. Officials should do their utmost to assist students to work around the challenges.
Nomqhele JD Dube is the 2018/19 UKZN Enactus Deputy President currently in her final semester of studies in Finance and Economics at the University’s Westville campus. She is motivated, ambitious and goal driven.