Young geographers put their heads together

22 June 2012 | Story by Newsroom

South African Geographers student conferencePeople shall share: Students from 12 universities across South Africa shared ideas at the annual Society of South African Geographers student conference hosted at UCT.

Boasting scenic mountains and hills, a long ocean short, an acclaimed floral kingdom and unpredictable weather, Cape Town is a one-stop shop for environmental science studies.

It's not surprising, then, that the city, and UCT in particular, has served as regular host for the annual Society of South African Geographers (SSAG) student conference. The university's Department of Environmental and Geographical Science staged the event from 18 to 20 June, the second time it has done so in five years.

The department also hosted the general SSAG conference, which started on 20 June.

Themed Building Critical Conversations in Geography, the three-day student gathering allowed senior students from different disciplines in geography and environmental sciences across the country to showcase their work and share ideas through presentations and discussions.

"Geography is an insanely-wide discipline," explained Evan Blake, a UCT student and member of the organising committee. "Students from different universities are addressing the same issues from different angles, but we hardly engage with each other."

"The value of the conference," added committee member Saski Greyling, "is that people from different backgrounds give input on the same topic and that strengthens our work."

For the organising committee of Hannah Baleta, Blake, Greyling, Nicholas Kearns, Anesu Nyemba and Raymond Siebrits, the conference offered many lessons in putting on such a showcase.

"Patience, is critical when trying to guide approximately 220 delegates to a number of different venues," Baleta observed.

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