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By Arshia Ramluckun

It was recently announced that the Victoria cluster will be getting a hub by next year. According to the Stellenbosch University (SU) website, it is one of the university’s goals to provide each cluster with their own hub. This hub will serve as a physical, on-campus space for students who belong to Private Student Organisations (PSOs)  to meet and integrate with other students in the cluster, which consists of three on-campus residences: Monica Residence, Harmonie Residence and Wilgenhof Residence, and two PSOs: Oude Molen and Silene. 

In November of last year, Monica du Toit, the Residence Education (Res-Ed) coordinator of ­Victoria cluster, informed residents that the construction of the Victoria cluster hub would commence this year. 

Du Toit explained the cause of the delay in the construction, stating, “The initial construction of the hub was put on halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which required the allocated funds to be designated to other, more urgent causes.”

It is now back on track and the tenders have been sent out with the hope that construction will commence within the next three months. The deadline for the completion of the hub is set for January next year.

The hub itself will be built on the current tennis courts that belong to Monica Residence. Despite this, the residence will not be losing any space, according to Du Toit.

“The concept that spaces belong to a community does not help in creating a more integrated cluster. The communities will gain more than what they will lose. They will all benefit,” said Du Toit. 

There are already two hubs on campus—the amaMaties and Wimbledon hubs. Once completed, Victoria cluster hub will be the third. 

The new hub will serve as a space where the five communities comprising the cluster can get together and build. Stephen Southway, the prim of Oude ­Molen, explained that he looks forward to fostering ­better ­relationships with the other communities in the cluster. “The biggest advantage in having a hub will be that we finally have a ­proper space where we can meet as a community and where ­members of our ­community can use the space as they need and want,” he said.

Refiloe Raphasha, cluster ­manager of Victoria cluster, said the main reason the idea of a hub was introduced was that the PSOs of the cluster found it difficult to come together and only really saw each other at social activities.

“It suits them that they have this physical place which does cater to them if they [need] a place to rest without the struggle of trying to find a spot on campus they can openly go to,” Raphasha said. 

According to Erin Vercellotti, the Victoria cluster convenor, the cluster is “people-centered”.  

“We’re all about creating ­opportunities for people to be able to connect with one another,” she said. 

“Having a hub [like] this is an immense opportunity for all our Victoria cluster neighbours to get to interact with each other, not only on a social level but also on an academic level—where we’re lacking a bit—so that will be very welcome for the cluster.”

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