Vaccination in the UCT community and other updates

08 September 2021 | Campus Announcement

Dear colleagues and students

University of Cape Town (UCT) staff and students are encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine – not only for themselves but also those around them. Read more on this and other updates below.

1. Vaccination in the UCT community

The UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre opened on 1 September at the Forest Hill residence complex in Main Road, Mowbray. Access to the site is from Broad Street.  The site is open every day: Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 15:00 (*) and on Saturday from 09:00 to 13:00.

Staff, students and the broader community can get vaccinated at the site. The opportunity to be vaccinated minimises the dire impact of the virus and is a positive step in the battle against the pandemic.

UCT encourages everyone to get vaccinated as it helps to prevent against the worst possible effects of COVID‑19 and will in turn lead to a reduced impact on the health system. This is one way to help our already overburdened healthcare workers in the country.

With 12 vaccination stations and five patient check‑in points, the centre offers quick and convenient service.

2. UCT ranked top by another international body

UCT was recently ranked as the top university in Africa by the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, tying with the University of Notre Dame (US) at 183rd. More than 1 600 institutions were ranked in the 2022 THE rankings. This confirms UCT as the highest ranked university in Africa on all five major world university rankings.

3. Student Wellness Service mental health survey

The Student Wellness Service (SWS) is running a mental health survey, in collaboration with the Worldwide Universities Network, as part of prioritising student wellbeing.

This survey aims to obtain baseline data to formulate a framework for targeted interventions to alleviate mental health’s negative impacts and encourage students’ resilience.

Students are asked to provide SWS with an opportunity to compare, contrast and learn from varied strategic approaches with other universities globally across the network and enable UCT to provide responsive support services through SWS. This allows challenges to inclusive community building to be shared across different cultures. Some of the specific challenges are loneliness in student cohorts, university challenges such as increased online learning, difficulty in accessing co-curricular activities, student accommodation such as on-campus versus off-campus commuting, and distance learning.

In addition, students’ participation will help SWS to benchmark their practices and approach to mental health at UCT.

4. R1m awards granted for research in occupied Palestine territories

Last December UCT researchers were invited to submit proposals to help establish and/or strengthen collaborative partnerships between academics at UCT and research institutions in Palestine and in the territories that are engaged in academic or research-related activities that seek to address gross human rights violations. Two awards have been made, valued at a total of R1 million.

Of this amount, R850 000 has been awarded over two years to Professor Tomà Berlanda, in the School of Architecture, Planning & Geomatics in the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment. In addition, R150 000 seed funding has been awarded over one year to two Faculty of Law senior lecturers – Dr Fatima Osman in Private Law and Ms Salona Lutchman in Public Law.

5. Annual conflict of interest declaration

All staff members and members of university committees must make a full annual declaration of their financial interests and fiduciary roles and those of their immediate family members. This is a requirement of the Higher Education Act and applies to all staff members irrespective of their roles or positions and must be complied with. Staff must submit the declaration of interest form even if they have nothing to declare. The deadline for the annual conflict of interest declaration for the 2021 submission is 30 September 2021.

6. International Summit on SDGs in Africa

From 13 to 15 September the international research community will be hosted virtually at the free and open-access International Summit on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa. This online academic gathering will focus on action and results and hopes to serve as an incubator to mobilise collaborative research efforts that will accelerate African-led activities in support of achieving the United Nations SDGs and the African Union’s “Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want”.

Postgraduate students are encouraged to attend and take part in the video showcase of research for #TheAfricaWeWant. The wider UCT community is encouraged to engage and participate in pre-summit workshops that will feed into the event itself and form the foundation for the event’s Day 1 and Day 2 thematic track breakout sessions.

7. UCT Student Entrepreneurship Week

UCT student entrepreneurs who want to take their business ideas to the next level are encouraged to join the virtual Student Entrepreneurship Week 2021 (#SEW2021) that kicked off on Monday, 6 September and will run until Friday, 10 September. This year the event is running in conjunction with the annual Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education Entrepreneurship Intervarsity where eight UCT students are participating in the regional rounds.

The week-long event provides an opportunity for students to fine-tune their entrepreneurial skills and mindsets and learn more about what it takes to become a successful business owner.

* The times that were originally published (08:00 to 17:00) have changed since this email was distributed, so please note that the opening times are now Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 15:00 and on Saturday from 09:00 to 13:00. Please allow time for attending to COVID-19 protocols and arrive as early as possible at the vaccination centre.

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