First-year NWU engineering students give huge gift to SPCA
First-year engineering students at the North-West University’s Potchefstroom Campus this week surprised the local SPCA by making a donation that will improve local animal owners and their animals’ lives.
Two years ago was the first time that first-year students of this faculty had the opportunity to work on local practical community projects. Various projects were launched with the aim to improve the community’s quality of life. Concepts were even developed for industries. In the meantime the success and popularity of these annual projects have increased so much that clients from as far as Europe approached them in view of project development.
First-year engineering students built a mobile animal dipping station this year, which was recently handed over to the local SPCA. Here are the SPCA’s Tommy Viljoen with Oortjies, the dachshund, and Danie Nortjé.
Under the direction of lecturer Hannes du Toit, various projects were identified where first-year students were responsible for the design, planning, marketing and development of these projects. These projects were grabbed and incorporated as part of the subject Professional Practice. “The projects not only give students a broader framework of the entire engineering process, but also create the opportunity for exposure to the practice already in their first study year.”
Amongst the different projects this year, that attracted a lot of attention, is a mobile dipping station that can be applied to treat and examine animals from communities in and around Potchefstroom. According to the project leader, Jean du Plessis, there is a huge need for service delivery with regard to animals, especially in informal settlements. “In the past, when animal owners saw the SPCA moving around in the settlements, they hid their animals because they stood the risk of getting their animals, which were usually in poor condition, confiscated. Now we have built a mobile dipping station, which allows SPCA officials to dip these animals against ticks, lice and fleas. At the same time a veterinarian can also examine the animals on the mobile unit’s examination table. This dipping station now presents an opportunity to animals that would not have received the treatment in the past,” says Du Plessis.
The dipping process is done without the animals being handled by humans, which in fact caused stress in the animals and which sometimes caused the handlers’ hair to rise. Animals simply walk through the station where several processes then take place. The owner of the animal also gets the opportunity to dip his/her animal, should the need arise.