Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) Vice-Chancellor Prof Derrick Swartz will be moving out of the familiar comfort of academia to “walk the talk” – literally.
As part of Prof Swartz’s personal commitment to the University‘s 10-year celebrations, he will be climbing Mount Fuji in Japan on 7 August to raise funds for academically-deserving but financially-needy students at NMMU.
The #climb4nmmu campaign will also give Prof Swartz the opportunity to highlight the extent of the need for financial support for such students especially within the Eastern Cape, which is recognised as the poorest province.
The R9.5 billion distributed as part of the government’s National Student Financial Assistance Scheme (NSFAS) does not meet national needs, and certainly not within NMMU.
“My view is that we – society at large – must find ways of augmenting the pressurized resources. All of us have the capacity to make a difference,” says Prof Swartz.
Prof Swartz’s 3,7km climb will be symbolic of the challenges many students face in order to get a tertiary qualification such as perseverance, taking responsibility and integrity. There are 10 base camps leading up to the peak, one for each year of NMMU’s first decade.
All funds will go to the University‘s Bursary Legacy Campaign run by the NMMU Trust. Their Ignite a Candle campaign is already supporting worthy students.
The University is hoping to raise at least R500 000 to support a further students for the duration of their degrees or diplomas.
To support the Vice-Chancellor in his initiative, a number of events to raise both awareness and funds will be hosted before his departure from Port Elizabeth on 31 July.
These include a rowing challenge and a time trial for running up the university’s main building of 18 storeys. Prof Swartz runs up to his office on the top floor daily and down again as part of his training for the challenging two-day climb.
The former will be with students and the latter against corporate sponsors.
“I studied at university because of the bursary support I received from people I never knew personally. My bursary was a gift from the past to the present.
“I strongly believe that this is our generation’s responsibility too. We can give back in thousands of different ways. The #climb4nmmu campaign is just one way.”
The University has created a dedicated website in support of the #climb4nmmu campaign.