Engineers Without Borders- Sol Plaatje University (EWB-SPU) was started at the beginning of the 2018 academic year by Keneilwe Sereo, who is the chairperson of the chapter, Denzil Jacobs, the secretary, Jenivia Fykels as the Vice Chairperson, Levona Leeuw being the Community Manager, Terri-Ann as the Treasurer and Vernon Kok as Program Manager. Sol Plaatje University only has Data Engineering, which is commonly known as Data Science because it is still a newly established university and so members of the student chapter only come from this course.
We started without much knowledge of what the chapter would require from us or what EWB-SA expected from us as a chapter, and there was no communication between EWB-SPU and EWB-SA then so we joined Geekulcha Student Society on their initiative of OpenCampus where we host tech events to ignite digital revolution amongst students, learners even professionals attended our events. We hosted two as EWB-SPU, one was Artificial Intelligence where we explored what this is and how society can use it to their benefit, amongst limitations and dangers of the field as well. The second one was Machine Learning and Big Data, which was basically how Artificial Intelligence is made possible, we explored the use of ML and Big Data in the current organisations and how they use data to leverage competition that is constantly growing due to the importance of data in the modern world. The events had a good attendance, it was actually over the expected, so they were very successful. We were sponsored by Geekulcha, mLab and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, they made it all possible.
Recently we went to host a VacWork in Prieska, Northern Cape from the 9th-13th July 2018. The theme was Northern Cape Green Pipeline: Innovation, Economy and Technology. Alongside NcDev, GKSS and DeDAT, EWB-SPU were mentors at the vacwork. We had over 100 participants ranging from 10-30 years old individuals who showed dedication and hard work throughout the week. We helped them identify problems in their communities, find solutions to them and mould their ideas into digital solutions such as mobile applications, websites and electronics.
For the upcoming semester we are planning to start a STEM initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) amongst school learners mostly from unprivileged backgrounds. The aim is to instil within them the willingness to learn more about these fields as most young people do not enter them due to lack of information so they don’t know what they are all about. We would like to get out of this initiative, a group of scholars who are interested in the industry and projects built by them as we are planning to incorporate the design challenge within the initiative because knowing and understanding a field isn’t enough, but using the knowledge and skills acquired and building something usable, innovative and sustainable is reaching the greater goal.