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USB celebrates ‘purpose’ at first ever Stewardship Festival

Mr Klop painting at stewardship festival
  • Dec 05

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The University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) recently hosted its first ever Stewardship Festival initiated by USB Social Impact, which is headed by Prof Arnold Smit, associate professor of Business in Society. The festival is a celebration of USB staff’s active involvement in social impact activities outside of business hours, as part of the business school’s commitment to responsible leadership.

Twelve of USB’s staff ensured the participation of thirteen organisations, including: Jesus Oversees Youth (J.O.Y); Stitch to stitch and eKasi Recycling – both from the hard work of USB’s top alumni at the Small Business Academy; The Owl Man; Dog Box Project; Lofob; Management Programme for NPOs; Teach the future; The Character Company; the Haven of Hope Equine Centre; XYZ; and the Business Clinic. These initiatives range from community-based initiatives to environmental, animal cruelty and education.

The event brought a festive atmosphere to the USB campus with ready-to-paint dog boxes decorating the foyer and Mnr Klop himself, Heindrich Wyngaard, keeping the crowd entertained throughout the day.

Prof Piet Naudè, USB director, says the inaugural festival is “a sign of goodwill and a practical way in which our research, teaching and ordinary humanity come together.

This sentiment was supported by the participation of USB staff who nominated their peers to participate in the lead up to the event.

The Stewardship Festival, casting a spotlight on USB’s ‘stewards of society’, will be an annual celebration of everything the Business School’s staff do outside of its walls. Prof Arnold Smit was visibly proud to see his vision – social impact engagement solely focused on USB staff’s contributions to society – come to life.

“It’s always great to see that people here at USB have a life outside of the daily running of the business school, and lecturing, and working in admin, and running the operations, and caring for students, and caring for programmes … And that we’ve really got a sense of what is happening in the soft spots of society.

There where people suffer, or where animals suffer, or where there is a concern about climate, about energy, about poverty, about inequality … There’s a warm heart within USB, that’s caring for [these], and people care enough to do stuff over and above.

“I also believe, that if we don’t do that, we won’t have energy for the rest of what we do. So that’s what’s keeping us alive. That’s what’s keeping us human… What we see around us are channels out of society … To stand with each and every one of these stalls, is a channel out to society; it’s a touch point for us with society there on the outside …

“Then at the same time, there are surprising discoveries to make… I realized that those dog boxes are not just a connection with dogs that are not being well cared for. That’s a connection to a wider world of which we were often previously unaware outside our comfort zones, and the comparisons we can make to how society operates when we’re made aware. And it is a way of completing that kind of cycle that becomes a surprising part of this story.”

Prof Smit encouraged the audience to get to know the story behind each stall at the event. “Because somewhere, from somebody’s dreams, there originated a sense of purpose beyond the obvious.”

What we see around us are channels out of society … To stand with each and every one of these stalls, is a channel out to society; it’s a touch point for us with society there on the outside…

USB would like to thank Paula Jacobs and Lizelle Kannemeyer (J.O.Y), Leslie Jubelin (SBA), Pinkie Luswazi (Stitch to stitch), Reakgile Pundomo (eKasi Recycling), Joane Sleigh (The Owl Man), Yolanda van der Westhuizen (The Haven of Hope Equine Centre), Suzanne Agenbach (The Dog Box Project), Armand Bam  (Lofob), Samantha Diedericks (USB Mandela day; The Character Company), Cynthia Lategan-Kriel (XYZ), Jeanne Kuhn (Management for NPOs), Edith Kennedy (The Business Clinic), and Chantal Vigus (Teach the future) for their contribution to an inspiring event.

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