Change the world


It’s off to Canada soon for four NMMU George Campus Forestry students.  The team – all executive members of the George Campus Student Forestry Association (SFA) – will represent this award-winning student association at the highest executive levels of the International Forestry Student Association (IFSA) when they attend and spearhead the association’s annual international symposium, scheduled to take place in Vancouver, Canada, in August.

Ullrich Hechter (Chairperson of SFA), Athini Mthi (Vice Chairperson of SFA) and Tatenda Mapeto (Southern African regional representative of IFSA) are proud and excited to have been selected to attend the IFSS in Canada. They will be accompanied by Kutelani Tshivhase, an NMMU George Campus masters student in Forestry who is also the current president of the International Forestry Student Association.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Our roots, our future”.  The event is set to again attract students from across the world.

The SFA team has developed a set of initiatives to raise funds for their participation in the event, as their participation is self-funded.  Any contributions or sponsorships that could assist them in this regard will be greatly appreciated.

The SFA, which was established to represent Forestry and Wood Technology students from the NMMU George Campus academically and socially at a local, national and international level currently has a membership of 200 Forestry 30 Wood Technology students. Their cutting-edge work has ensured them the accolade of being named the NMMU George “Best Association” for the past three consecutive years.

The SFA committee comprises three executive committee members that serve the affiliated students. This year’s executive committee is made up of a chairperson, Ullrich Hechter; Vice-Chairperson, Athini Mthi and Nothando Dlozi (Secretary).  All of them are 3rd year Forestry students. Other people who also serve on the committee are Honorary President – Prof Josua Louw (Director: School of Natural Resource Management); Liaison lecturer- Barry Muller (Lecturer in the Wood Technology programme); International Forestry Student Association (IFSA) president- Kutelani Tshivhase (Masters student in Forestry); IFSA Vice president- Sikhumbuzo Nxumalo (Masters student in Forestry) and IFSA South African regional representative- Tatenda Mapeto (Masters student in Forestry).

SFA enjoys an outstanding relationship with other local Forestry committees such as the Fort Cox College’s Forestry Student Association in King William’s Town, as well as the Forestry Student Association at Stellenbosch University.

One of the main aims of SFA is to assist 1st year Forestry and Wood Technology students to obtain drivers licences as it is a requirement from industry, before the students start with their experiential training in the second year of studies. Many students are not able to obtain drivers licences because of financial circumstances. SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority) has made finances available for these students to obtain their drivers licences.

The SFA team is also responsible for planning a range of activities throughout the year, including various community projects, such as planting trees as part of a community project during Arbor Week; a photo competition;  visiting and assisting in charity events with the aim of giving back to the community, and various fundraising initiatives.

SFA members will also be attending the Southern African Regional Meeting (SARM) at the University of Venda where students of different universities will come together and discuss certain Forestry and Wood Technology related topics.

PROUD MADIBAZ… The 2014 Executive Team of the NMMU George Student Forestry Association consist of third year Forestry students, (from left) Athini Mthi (Vice-Chairman), Ullrich Hechter (Chairman) and Nothando Dlozi (Secretary).

INTERNATIONAL CLOUT… NMMU George Campus students play a leading role in various international platforms, such as this group of Forestry students who serve on the executive structures of the International Forestry Student Association (IFSA) and who are set to attend the association’s international symposium in Canada during August. They are, (from left) Ullrich Hechter, Kutelani Tshivhase, Tatenda Mapeto and Athini Mthi.