Durban meetings strengthen ties with university staff

Bālāpur Trust Chair Roger Smith was able to meet key UKZN staff members assisting with the work of the Trust during a visit to South Africa in March. It was the first opportunity to hold discussions in person, rather than by Zoom call or email, for more than two years owing to the Covid pandemic.

Roger expressed his gratitude for several meetings in Durban that he believed were very useful in cementing relations to the benefit of the Trust and its work.

MTB He met Michael Davids and Hlumelo Ncopo of the Student Funding Centre, which helps distribute the Trust’s assistance to needy students at the University. Roger later reported to Trustees: “We were left in no doubt as to the importance attached to the Trust’s assistance and the SFC’s commitment to delivering it.”

Roger had his first meeting with Steve Camp, the new chief executive of the UKZN Foundation. The importance of cooperation and collaboration was underlined in what Roger described as a very useful discussion.

He was also pleased to meet Finn Christensen and Desiree Govender from the Alumni Relations team again for the first time in a few years. Concerns around issues with communications with alumni in the UK were covered, including problems with email messages, the expense of postal mailings and the opportunities and difficulties presented by trying to make use of social media.

In this context, it is worth underlining to alumni the importance of making sure Alumni Relations has their up-to-date contact details including a valid email address, preferably for a personal email account rather than a work one. Work email addresses are more likely to fall out of use and many businesses use strict spam filters that can block bulk emails. It is a good idea to make sure the email address is included in your contacts to try to avoid emails being sent into a spam folder.