Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) Vice-Chancellor Prof Derrick Swartz is shifting his horizons – embarking on a fundraising initiative by climbing a snow-capped mountain in Japan and breaking his virginity on social media.
As part of Prof Swartz’s personal commitment to the University’s 10-year celebrations‚ he will be climbing Mount Fuji in Japan on 7 August to raise funds for financially needy students at NMMU.
He intends to carry the university’s flag up to the summit – a 3‚7km climb.
There are 10 base camps leading up to the peak‚ one for each year of NMMU’s first decade‚ since its merger with the PE Technikon‚ the University of Port Elizabeth (UPE) and the Port Elizabeth campus of Vista University.
To highlight the campaign‚ he’s opened up a Twitter account.
His first‚ nervous post‚ was: “Hi‚ 1st tweet‚ gulp! Planning climb up Mt Fuji‚ Japan‚ 7 Aug raising funds for NMMU students. Thanks for generous support for good cause!”
The #climb4nmmu campaign is being supported by the university on social media platforms‚ so the Prof won’t be stranded in new terrain.
The Port Elizabeth university said in a statement the climb will give Prof Swartz the opportunity to highlight the extent of the need for financial support for students in the city and across the Eastern Cape‚ which is recognised as the poorest province.
The R9.5 billion distributed as part of the government’s National Student Financial Assistance Scheme (NSFAS) is insufficient for the demand for funding‚ it says.
“I studied at university because of the bursary support I received from people I never knew personally. My bursary was a gift from the past to the present‚” Prof Swartz said. “I strongly believe that this is our generation’s responsibility too.
“My view is that we – society at large – must find ways of augmenting the pressurized resources. All of us have the capacity to make a difference‚” Swartz added. The University is hoping to raise at least R500‚000.
All funds will go to the University’s Bursary Legacy Campaign run by the NMMU Trust.
A number of events will be hosted before Swartz’s departure from Port Elizabeth on 31 July.
These include a rowing challenge with students and a time trial with corporate sponsors for running up the university’s main building of 18 storeys. As part of his training for the two-day climb‚ Prof Swartz is running up (and down) to his office on the top floor‚ daily.