By Siphokazi Mathe, Media Management student
Rhodes University recently held a week-long telethon to update its Alumni database and ask for personal contributions towards the Rhodes University Oppidan Fund, in line with transformation objectives.
One of the outcomes of the University’s Transformation Summit was that the Communication and Advancement Division should find ways to raise funds to augment the existing Oppidan Fund, which is currently mostly funded by the levies that are charged to every Oppidan student’s fee account and predominantly covers travel expenses.
The Communication and Advancement Division selected a group of young and dynamic students, including myself, to engage Alumni and encourage a spirit of giving back. With a sample of 4 200 young Alumni (younger than 40 years old), the student callers were pleasantly surprised at the positive response – and as a Rhodes University postgraduate and Oppidan student myself, I was enthusiastic about the optimistic conversations I had with Alumni.
A total of 85 people made pledges in our telethon this year to the rand value of R31 640, with the biggest single amount pledged totalling R2 000. It is also worth noting that with some of our smaller pledges, callers committed to contribute to the fund monthly.
Upon making our phone calls, the students conducting the telethon were met with questions about the development of the institution, the weather and our own personal experiences at Rhodes University. Students charismatically indulged Rhodes University Alumni in conversations that allowed them to reminisce about their favourite student experiences, which were filled with fondness and pride.
Rhodes University prides itself in creating a holistic university experience, in which students are not just a ‘number’, but an active member of a community of thinkers, leaders and game-changers. I felt the experience and the results of the 2019 telethon were indicative of a sense of community amongst Rhodes University Alumni and a commitment to building a better university experience for all.