UP Campus Tours celebrates a decade of serving heritage

Posted on September 30, 2013

UPCT was founded by Prof Karen Harris as part of the practical component of the honours module of EFK 752. From the outset, the initiative received the support and sanction from Mr Deon Herbst at Enterprises at UP. The students are required to run all the aspects of UPCT which offers customised tours on the Hatfield university campus. This includes the planning and execution of all related activities including researching, marketing, finances, liaison, scheduling and doing the actual tours for a range of visitors. The latter includes high profile guests, foreign dignitaries, exchange students, first year students, prospective students, parents, new academic and administrative staff, school groups, Alumni as well as sundry visitors. The students are expected to keep abreast of current developments on campus as well as do primary research on the history and heritage of the university in the University of Pretoria Archives. It is a professional service offered to all Departments and Faculties on campus that runs throughout the academic year. UPCT has been lauded as both an “ambassador” for the University as well as a sub-branding.

Besides conducting tours on both Welcoming Day and Open day, this year the UPCT group have taken the director of the Mellon foundation, a Nobel prize winner, representatives of the Smithsonian Institute, ambassadorial staff from Korea and Taiwan, Deans and professors from the universities of Harvard, Stanford, Florida, Delaware and Quinnipiac, headmasters from Kwa-Zulu Natal, students, teachers and pupils from Taiwan, Nigeria, Mpumalanga and Swaziland and parents and prospective students from across South Africa on tours to mention but a few.

This year the 2013 UPCT honours group were tasked with organizing the reunion event. Under the leadership of Jean Smeets, the nine BHCS honours students managed to gather a large number of the alumni for the celebrations where they shared their experiences and career paths with each other. A percentage of these students are also enrolled for Masters in Heritage and Cultural Studies doing pioneering work on topics such as literary tourism, film tourism, cross-border tourism and South African tourism in comparative perspective. It is as a result of this research and the calibre of students produced by the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies in the BHCS degree that the National Department of Tourism (NDT) signed an MoU with UP in 2011 to further research capability and build both public and private capacity in the heritage and cultural tourism domain as the fastest growing industry in the tourism industry.

In celebration of Heritage Month the UPCT 2013 group will be conducting tours free of charge for staff and students on Wednesday 2 October 2013. These will focus on the rich heritage UP has to offer.  For further details please consult Campus News or contact them on 012 420 5155 or [email protected]

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