NWU kicks off community engagement series in Mahikeng
The North-West University (NWU) recently kicked off its Community Engagement Colloquium series with the first of three events taking place at the campus in Mahikeng.
The first colloquium – aimed at university staff and students – was moderated by Bophelo Seleke. The aim of the event was to inform the university community of the work the institution is doing in its surrounding communities, as well as student initiatives to further community empowerment and social responsibility.
The panel of speakers comprised various NWU representatives. They included Prof Marilyn Setlalentoa, deputy vice-chancellor for community engagement and campus operations, Dr Mathew Nyirenda from the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Hillary Visser form the Faculty of Law, Dr Mokgadi Molope, deputy dean for community engagement in the Faculty of Humanities, as well as Kopano Meko, Student Campus Counsel officer responsible for community engagement.
In her presentation, Prof Setlalentoa said that, as a leading teaching-learning and research institution with a footprint that spans two provinces, the NWU recognises its responsibility to generate a wealth of knowledge and to harness it to the benefit of the community it serves.
“As much as we share our research findings and innovative ideas with society in general, we make it our business to engage with our communities to learn from and be taught by them too,” she said.
“In fact, the NWU core business activities can only be regarded as significant and sustainable if we succeed in actively engaging with our communities to ensure that both the university’s expertise and the rich experiences of the people we serve are put to best possible use.”
Guiding the delegates’ participation by sharing their own experiences, moderator Bophelo Seleke remarked that the basic understanding of community engagement is that it is a catalyst for community development.
“In the execution of their corporate social responsibility mandates, institutions must understand that communities are not without answers to their own problems. They simply lack the infrastructural support to implement their solutions.”
He concluded by saying that it is therefore important to not impose solutions, but to engage and assist in the implementation processes of these community solutions.
Prof Marilyn Setlalentoa, deputy vice-chancellor for community engagement and for campus operations in Mahikeng, addresses delegates at the colloquium.