THIRTY IS THE NEW BRILLIANT: How WSU Is Bridging the Money Gap
Third stream income has the potential to mitigate student debt and transform WSU into a legacy institution, according to the university’s newly appointed Institutional Advancement director, Silvanus Welcome.
The ambitious 30-year-old explained the purpose of an advancement office as a mechanism to enhance third stream income for organizations by sourcing funds through means of government subsidy, bursaries, infrastructure development and sponsorship.
WSU has already established a bursary fund which is due to be launched officially, wherein all university stakeholders can invest with their time, care and money.
“Our focus as Institutional Advancement at WSU is to source funding for student bursaries by putting in place strategies that will curb the student loan burden through donor funding and we’re going to achieve this by engaging our alumni and corporate,” said Welcome.
WSU Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Midgley has been a consistent donor to the university since he took office in 2016. Upon his first month up to the end of that year, the VC made consecutive monthly donations of R20, 000, which was then increased to R25, 000 in his second year at WSU.
For the good practice of transparency and accountability; and to ensure that donor funds are sourced and used responsibly, WSU has developed funding policies that will both protect and empower WSU stakeholders.
“What we have is a fundraising policy to be followed by all staff when going out to source funding. We are giving staff the opportunity to identify their own donors and sponsorships, but this must be done within the guidelines of policy that require proposal submissions to our office. We do not want staff sourcing funds without assistance because donor fatigue is something funders experience,” Welcome said.
Staff at the university may also authorize a monthly debit from as little as R10 from their monthly salaries that will contribute towards needy students.
WSU has a string of influential alumni in provincial and national government as well as corporate to whose generosity the university intends to appeal.
“It is their money that is supposed to assist in keeping the university alive. If WSU were to be closed permanently, it would have a direct impact on their careers and qualifications,” he added.
As a historically disadvantaged university, WSU as a rural institution has an advantageous selling point but Welcome warned about Institutional risk management that speaks to brand reputation.
“WSU is notorious for student protests within the higher education fraternity which is bad for funding. Donors fear that they may fund infrastructure that will only be destroyed during these protests,” said Welcome.
He also pressed on the importance of a positive image for the university that can only be achieved by spreading good internal stories to the public and media through proactive public relations management.
Silvanus Welcome goes on to say our alumni should be proud to have a WSU qualification that carries the name of a struggle stalwart and political liberator, Walter Sisulu.
He then concludes saying WSU students must be our ambassadors and hoist the WSU flag high with pride by going out there and not thinking any less of their qualifications.
By: Sinawo Hermans