Change is possible: Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, seen here with UCT students at The Change Campaign event, believes that apathy must be curbed to address social injustices.
UCT students are slow to volunteer for things, which prompted the university’s student leadership to host a week-long drive to foster a sense of social responsibility among their peers.
From workshops on social entrepreneurship and sports coaching sessions, to a concert featuring a community development arts groups, The Change Campaign, which ran from 22 to 26 August, showed students that no matter their interests, skills or talents, they can make a difference in their communities. As emphasised by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who delivered a talk, Fighting Apathy and Addressing Social Injustices in our Communities, as part of the campaign.
The Change Campaign is organised by the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) and the Development Agency Sub-Council, which is made up of representatives from SHAWCO Health, SHAWCO Education, Ubunye, RAG, UCT Radio and Varsity Newspaper.
According to Kathleen Taylor, SRC vice-president internal, the drive is all about encouraging students to identify and take on social issues that concern them, thus bringing about change in their communities.
“We realised that something had to be done to try to address student apathy, and to evoke passion amongst students to not only care about their communities and the problems they face, but to actually do something about these problems,” Taylor says.
While many students, through organisaitions and as individuals, are involved in social responsive work, apathy is still a “huge” problem among university students, Taylor noted.
Nyasha Kadandara, editor of Varsity Newspaper, added that many students either lack information about how they can get involved, or are wary to take on too much outside of their academic work.
She said The Change Campaign shows students that being involved in social responsive activities is part and parcel of a university student’s educational experience.
“We also want to show that there a many ways one can get involved, even if it is just volunteering for an hour a week, picking up litter, playing soccer in the afternoon, or contributing to the newspaper.”
Download the podcast of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s address to the students.