HAVIN’ A BLAST: The Red Frogs keeping campus parties fun and safe for all.
Photo: Ilanit Chernick
Free pancakes, free water, coffee and a chill area were some of the things drunk students had to help sober up during O-week, courtesy of the “Red Frogs”.
The Red Frogs are a student organisation that aims to be a “positive presence” at Wits by providing support, such as food, to students who have been drinking on campus.
Their role on campus, especially during parties, is to build a safe and healthy relationship with party-goers.
“Our desire is to change partying culture from one of damage to young people to one of safety and genuine fun,” said Gauteng co-ordinator and Wits alumni Mick Channon.
Channon told Wits Vuvuzela that this year during O-Week they were “lucky enough” not to face any serious medical issues or problems during the campus parties.
“There was the usual dealings with crowds and many drunk people but that’s our bread and butter. We love to help people when they need it!”
“We’re also in constant contact with security and the paramedics to ensure the party is running safely and smoothly,” Channon said.
“Our desire is to change partying culture from one of damage to young people to one of safety and genuine fun,”
Volunteers are trained to give a “reasonable amount of care” at parties but they are never asked to assist anyone medically. They have to be 18 or over to join.
Safety for volunteers is also a major priority for the Red Frogs, so they are trained to be aware of situations which “may endanger them”.
According to Channon most volunteers are either Wits students or alumni. But they aren’t just working on Wits campus, they have also branched out to work at music festivals like Oppi Koppi and Rocking with the Daisies.
This year the Red Frogs will begin to host a number of social evenings on both Wits and University of Johannesburg campus residences to connect with the students and build awareness around responsible partying.
“We’ll off er free pancakes, board games and hot chocolate to give students an hour of free, safe fun in the evenings,” he said.
SPLASH OUT: Members of Mens Res take rivalry to a new level as they start a water fight between Sunnyside and Wits Junction residences. Photo: Ilanit Chernick
Wits University was the place to be this week as new and first-time students were treated to the best the campus has to offer.
With the choice of attending a number of campus parties like the Sports Party which introduces students to the different sporting options available on campus, the Silly Buggers party for the wild and wonderful or the Fresher’s Bash this evening. There is a place and home for any student who wants to experience the Wits vibe and meet new people.
Wits Welcome Day (last Sunday) was introduced with rivalry, dancing and chanting between the different Wits Residences. A water fight ensued between Mens Res and members of Sunnyside and Wits Junction early on Sunday morning.
One Mens Res resident said they want to “teach” the other residences “who is boss on campus”.
“We are management!” He shouted to his fellow comrades.
This year’s beer garden kept students entertained and excited with a number of DJ’s keeping the music pumping. Students had the opportunity to enjoy a selection of imported craft beers and usual locals favourites. .
Society sign-ups by the Great Hall gave students a taste of the social and cultural opportunities which lie ahead. With the Venda and Zulu societies show-casing their talent as dancers and singers drew onlookers by the dozen.
The Wits Choir even showcased their talents during a number of performances taking place around campus.
Overall, both new and returning students had a great time with a relaxed ban that allowed alcohol to flow, filling the campus with noise and laughter. It’s no wonder Wits O-week is one of the best on South African campuses.
After all the fun, it’s going to be hard for students to get back into the mundane tasks of student life.
VIVA: Wits students and staff march together in solidarity with students who were denied NSFAS funding. Photo: Ilanit Chernick
Wits University has been given twenty four hours to allow students without funding to register or face the prospect of disruptions.
Members of the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), South African Student Organisation (SASCO) and the Young Communist League (YCL) today handed a memorandum over to the dean of students, Dr Pamela Dube in the Senate House concourse. The group is demanding that Wits management “admit students now and solve the issues later”.
[READ MORE: Witsies face uncertain future without NSFAS]
Justice Mokotedi, chair of the Young Communist League at Wits, said protesting students would make the university “ungovernable” if their demands were not met on time.
“There will be no Sunday,” he said referring to the start of the Orientation Week programme starting this weekend.
“We have been sitting in meeting after meeting drinking coffee, our caffeine levels are high but we are tired. Sick and tired! We want answers!”
HAND IT OVER: Dean of Students, Dr Pamela Dube acknowledges receit of the PYA’s memorandum. Photo: Ilanit Chernick
He also accused management and vice chancellor Prof Adam Habib of being on a retreat while the protest was taking place.
“As this is happening and we are protesting for student rights, our VC is enjoying wine and whiskey on a retreat! We give Pamela this memorandum unapologetically.”
SRC (Student Representative Council), secretary general, Senzekahle Mbokazi, said students are protesting because “we cannot understand why there is so much confusion” between Wits and the Department of Higher Education.
Mbokazi said the SRC had been to speak to both the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and Wits.
“NSFAS claims that Wits is mismanaging funds and Wits is saying they were not allocated enough money. In the meantime 2788 students are being held to ransom. More pressure needs to be put on the university,” she said.
As the march progressed throughout the day, protestors blocked the university’s central Yale Road to vent their frustrations.
“We will block campus roads,” said SASCO chairperson Nthabiseng Molefe as she addressed the crowd. “We will show management that we are in control!”