Going Green & the Future: UPCT explores sustainability on Hatfield Campus and Future Africa

Posted on April 23, 2024

Accompanied by Prof Karen L Harris, Head of the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies (DHHS) on a sunny Monday morning, April 15, the group of enthusiastic Heritage and Cultural Tourism Honours students of 2024 embarked on an eco-adventure. This formed part of their training as members of UP Campus Tours (UPCT) which forms an integral Work-Integrated Learning component of the learning module, Heritage and Cultural Tourism in Practice (EFK 752), presented by Prof Harris. Their mission was to explore the world of sustainability at the University of Pretoria's Hatfield Campus and Future Africa Initiative, in preparation for tours they will conduct in future.

The journey began with a tour of Up’s state-of-the-art facilities at the Future Africa Campus by Mr Johan Smith and Ms Rahab Manamela. They visited the impressive auditorium and conference rooms, research labs, and collaborative workspaces and were shown the sustainable design features. From renewable energy initiatives to waste reduction strategies, the group gained insights into how Future Africa is shaping the future of sustainability research and innovation.

Next on the itinerary was a stroll through the gardens of Future Africa, guided by Mr Jason Sampson and Mr Richard Hay, experts in landscape design and horticulture. Amidst vibrant blooms and lush foliage, students learned about the principles of sustainable landscaping and the importance of biodiversity conservation. From rainwater harvesting systems to native plant species, every aspect of the garden was a testament to the harmonious coexistence of nature and technology.

After the Future Africa exploration, the Honours group made their way back to Hatfield campus stopping by the Aloe Garden on Hillcrest Campus for a quick detour. Surrounded by the iconic South African succulents, students marvelled at the beauty of indigenous flora and feathered fauna and reflected on the significance of preserving local ecosystems. This garden will form one of the UPCT tours on offer which will have vibrant colours, particularly in the months of June and July.

Guided by Jason and Richard, students embarked on a tour of the Hatfield campus's sustainability initiatives, including the innovative "Giving Garden". Here, they witnessed firsthand how sustainable gardening practices are not only beautifying the campus but also providing fresh produce for the UP community.

As the day ended, students departed with a newfound appreciation for the intersection of sustainability, innovation, and education. From the laboratories of Future Africa to the gardens of the Hatfield campus, they witnessed the power of collective action in shaping a greener, more sustainable future for generations to come.

The 2024 UPCT Team with Mr Richard Hay, Prof Karen Harris and Mr Jason Sampson

- Author Promise Madonsela

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