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Akademia announces research results of #Studentlife campaign

Akademia released the research results of the #Studentelife campaign online on Thursday 23 March. The announcement was accompanied by a panel discussion with Marthinus Visser, managing director, Douard d’Assonville, manager: student life and residences, as  well as Rika Nieuwoudt, head of departement and lecturer, as participants. They discussed the main themes of the research report and also the ways in which Akademia’s already established student life corresponds with this.

Akademia launched the research campaign in 2022 to capture the best #Studentlife moments of Afrikaans alumni. The purpose was to define the elements of a healthy student life that shapes young people during their studies and to determine what the student life of an Afrikaans university should look like. Former alumni of various higher education institutions, and also well-known people like Bennie Fourie, Daniëlla van Heerden, Bok van Blerk and Mila Guy had participated.

“The stories related by former students are building bricks for Akademia’s growing student culture. By means of student life, there is participation in matters of communal interest; community ties are established; our ideals and dreams are shaped; and we can celebrate together. Barely any other gift could leave a lingering impression on us than such a student life,” said Prof. Danie Goosen, academic head of Akademia, regarding the importance of student life.

In addition to a web page and a Facebook page where the public were encouraged to share their stories and memories, an electronic questionnaire was also created on SurveyMonkey. Eventually the questionnaire was completed by 487 respondents from 23 higher education institutions.

Stories were also shared on the student life web page and Facebook page and some respondents even sent voice messages. This data was analysed by means of content analysis by Solidariteit Research Institute to identify specific themes.

In the comprehensive report, Akademia explains the themes that stood out among respondents’ reactions and more information is provided regarding the student activities taking place at Akademia. It is also further explained what Akademia is aiming at and how the resusts of the campaign may be applied as a blueprint.

The main themes that emerged from the report, were the following:

  • Student culture
  • Life in a residence
  • Character building

According to d’Assonville, Akademia already has a favourable record in all three these areas. In the report, mention is made that the events taking place outside the classroom are an integral part of a student’s training and education experience at Akademia. The extramural student life at Akademia is guided by the institution’s ideals for shaping its students.

In the report there was discussion regarding the fact that Akademia’s student life supported virtues such as character building, integrity, wisdom, friendship and the sense of community, which in their turn also support and enhance the institution’s commitment towards education and shaping of students.

In the panel discussion, d’Assonville emphasised that it became evident from the report that it was a great priviliege to be able to create and build a new student life, but also that it was a huge responsibility to convey the heritage of student life to a new generation.

He said it could be seen from the report that it was not necessary to reinvent the wheel and that Akademia was indeed heading in the right direction. “At Akademia we are proud to cherish and to enhance that which was established by our parents and grandparents. We look forward to further establish a healthy, scintillating and vibrant student life for Afrikaans students.”

During the panel discussion Visser mentioned that the results of the research strongly confirmed his assumptions regarding the impact of student life. “We see in the report that a strong student life together with academic life, renders the whole package.”

He further said that on the basis of the research results he was feeling confident regarding the progress of Akademia’s growing student life. “The report showed that Akademia understands the needs of the Afrikaans student. We create a community for our students, we are working on something bigger than just ourselves, and towards life within a framework of values that was a determining factor in the report.”

In the panel discussion Visser also laid emphasis on Akademia’s motto ad futurum per fontes, which means ‘from the sources towards the future’. “We will therefore study this research about the sources of student life, glean what is good from it, and repackage it to build a good student life for Akademia.

Visser concluded the panel discussion by sharing Akademia’s dream, including a full campus in the east of Pretoria. He mentioned that this campus was rapidly becoming a reality and that it could be home to all activities of Akademia’s student life. “Although we are not yet on the dream campus, this is by no means holding back our students,” Visser said. “We look forward to extend the heritage of our Afrikaans alumni throughout the country from this new campus.”

Click here to download the report.

Click here to see the panel discussion.

If you want to become involded at Akademia and want to help build Akademia’s growing student life, do not hesitate to click here to make a difference.

The research results of the #Studentlife campaign will paly a role in further building Akademia’s vibrant student life.