New information locale settles in Otto Beit

17 February 2003

Window of opportunity: Alison Meadows and Britt MacLaughlin extend their welcome from the new, permanent Student Information and Orientation Centre (SIOC) on Upper Campus, which hopes to offer a 24-hour desk, tel 021-650-5082, email:

“WHERE can I get overnight accommodation in the vicinity?” the suited visitor asked of Jonathan Hoffenberg, one of the students manning the brand new Student Information and Orientation Centre (SIOC).

The question is an indication of the range of information the team on Level 2 in the Otto Beit building will be expected to provide as part of their service.

The new centre breaks with the idea that orientation is simply a series of events for new students in February or a glorified campus tour. As there is a need to continue information and support services to students (and others) throughout the year, the SIOC will offer year-round support and is part of a plan to extend and improve student development programmes.

“We've had fantastic support from the Dean of Students, Dr Loveness Kaunda,” said the architects of the SIOC, Alison Meadows (Co-ordinator of Commerce Orientation and Deputy Director of Orientation) and Britt MacLaughlin (Director of Student Orientation and Deputy Dean in Humanities).

Situated on Level 2 of the Otto Beit Student Union, the new SIOC deals with students' needs and queries, ranging from directions to people, offices, buildings and venues, to curriculum advice and referrals to other services offered by the Student Development and Services Department. It is also a centre from which university-wide orientation activities for undergraduate and post graduate students are developed, organised and co-ordinated.

“What makes the SIOC something special is that it is a student-run, walk-in one-stop advice and referral centre for the UCT community and the public,” said Meadows. “It's a good starting place for parents, prospective students, alumni and general visitors to UCT seeking information or simply wishing to visit the Campus.

The centre has also provided a unique opportunity to develop potential student leaders. Getting the endeavour up and running went to students Jonathan Hoffenberg, Sunny Osman (humanities), Miriam Karjieker, Naasief Mohamed and Mukuka Mulenga (all from commerce).

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