TOP performing students at Stenden South Africa were awarded at the annual prize giving at MyPond Hotel on Sunday afternoon.
Several students walked away with multiple prizes, a mark of their dedication in academics and service to Stenden and the community.
Executive dean Wouter Hensens also used the occasion to announce plans to build a 300-seat auditorium for the campus next year. Construction is due to begin in the first half of next year and be complete by the beginning of the 2018 academic year.
Stenden is also going to overhaul its campus restaurant next year, with more seating and meals on campus.
“There will be better food. We will start next week with food awareness week. We want to make sure you leave with the same weight you started,” Hensens said to laughter.
But before he got to the good news, he provided a gloomy retrospective.
Looking back over the past year he asked if anyone could say anything positive had happened in the world. No one answered.
Hensens said there were issues of concern internationally, referring to the election of Donald Trump as president of the US, and locally, the #FeesMustFall movement.
“Then I walk onto our campus and it’s like an island in South Africa,” he said.
“We have a top hospitality management school and the best disaster management programme in South Africa, because it’s the only disaster management programme in South Africa.”
He spoke about Stenden’s commitment to excellence and said the disaster management school especially had an excellent year.
“We launched a minor in strategic revenue management and hope to build on that for use in the hospitality industry.”
He said there was an increase in students flowing into masters degree programmes, and Stenden wanted to keep pushing that.
Staff were continuing their own education as well, he said.
Stenden has 80 enrolments for next year.
Hensens said Stenden had cut ties with a bakery in Nemato which repeatedly failed as a business. “We were involved with that for 12 years and wasted a lot of money,” he said.
The keynote speaker at the prize giving was Francine Heywood, co-founder of Guest Revu, an accommodation rating system launched in Port Alfred and being used internationally.
“We work with the hospitality industry to help build their brand and monitor trust online,” Heywood said.
She spoke about the development of trust, from personal to corporate, and how trust in certain brands had taken a knock after various scandals.
Trust was now distributed rather than institutional, and built from the bottom up, she said.
“Reputation is the measurement of how much a community trusts you,” she said.
“Everything you do leaves a reputation trail – every transaction, comment, review, share, every social media post.”
Best community involvement of a non-community development student (hotel school) – Deborah Mufundi
Best community involvement of a non-community development student (disaster management school) – Nocwaka Ndabeni
Best community involvement of a non community development student (Grand Tour) – Vladi Minkov
Best student in the community programme (Grand Tour) – Dorien van Remmens and David Kroon
Best Enactus student – Kyra Fox and Samantha Webster
Sportsperson of the year – Kim Travas
Mantis Collection Leadership award – Aldair Borges
Best student hospitality management problem based learning (PBL) Year 1 – Christabel Sibanda
Best student disaster management PBL Year 1 – Sinoyolo Jantjies
Best student hospitality management PBL Year 2 – Tavimbanashe Zisengwe
Best student disaster management PBL Year 2 – Sinovuyo David
Best student hospitality management case based learning (CBL) Year 3 – Aldair Borges and Kim Travas
Best student disaster management CBL Year 3 – Crystal Brown
Best Service Award RWL: Year 1 – Nikita Greig (79%), Year 2 – Daleen van Eeden (81%), Year 3 – Aldair Borges (83%)
Disaster Management – Best Service Award (RWL): Year 1 – Nocwaka Ndabeni, Year 2 – Rian Basson, Year 3 – Crystal Brown
Stenden financial management floating trophy – Kim Travas (92.5%)
Grand Tour student with the highest percentage of module 3 – Mark Dijkstra
Best student academic year 3 hospitality management (HM): 1 Aldair Borges (80.3%), 2 Mark Dijkstra (78.3%), 3 Danielle Niemand (78%)
Best student Academic Year 3 disaster management (DM): 1 Crystal Brown (94%), 2 Ross Agiotis (90%), 3 Martina Mac Donald (88%)
Best student academic year 2 HM: 1 Kim Travas (86%), 2 Shannon Stap (80%), 3 Aldair Borges (79%)
Best student academic year 2 DM: 1 Rian Basson (85%), 2 Sinovuyo David (84%), 3 Portia Mata (82%)
Best student academic year 1 HM: 1 Tavimbanashe Zisengwe (85.33%), 2 Daleen van Eeden (85.16%), 3 Manuela Duca (84.9%)
Best student academic year 1 DM: 1 Sinoyolo Jantjies (91%), 2 Emma Champan (88%), 3 Lonwabo Luthango (87%)
Students’ Student Award – Portia Mata