VUT CAMPUSTV UPS ITS ANTE BY LAUNCHING A MOBILE APP
By: Tshepo Dlamini 19 October 2022
Despite the challenges we will face, we remain committed towards creating to inspire and bridging the gap between theory and practice, while producing content that is informative, educative, and entertaining.
These were the words of Mr Glen Mapholi who is the station manager of the Vaal University of Technology (VUT)’s CampusTV during the launch of the channel’s new Mobile Application – a first of its kind in higher education. The launch took place at a pomp and ceremonious event on Saturday, 15 October 2022 at the VUT Quest Conference Centre.
VUT CampusTV was first piloted in June last year by the Tourism and Integrated Communication Department within the Faculty of Human Sciences with the primary aim of assisting Public Relations Management students in completing their Work Integrated Learning (WIL) program. At the time, the channel was only accessible on Instagram and YouTube – now the crew has upped their ante with a Mobile App.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Phatisizwe Manana, PR lecturer and founder of the VUT CampusTV, said the project has grown in an unanticipated manner from the time it was introduced and has surpassed its expectations. “Now the growth is massive, and it will not only be a platform for students from Public Relations Management but will also accommodate those from other programs and faculties within the University, strategically,” he said. This, Manana has described as the transformation of co-curriculum and work integrated learning.
Head of Department of Tourism and Integrated Communication, Dr Lazarus Maleho commended, in particular the students, for the initiative and said as management they are committed towards providing continuous support for VUT CampusTV. He further called on other structures of the University to support the initiative and contribute to its growth. “In the long run the channel should be an entity that is self-sustainable and is able to provide jobs for the very same graduates we produce,” he added.
From the red carpet to the glitz and glamour, the event was organised by the Public Relations (PR) Advanced students as part of their academic project. Annually, the students are required to plan and execute an event with a social responsibility leg attached to it. This is aimed at honing the students’ skills in the discipline of events planning and coordination to ensure that they are competitive once they reach the industry shores. The event theme varies annually and this year the students were tasked to launch the first ever mobile application of VUT CampusTV.
With different media houses in attendance, the event also sought to showcase the contributions and capabilities of the VUT Public Relations Department towards the profession and the media industry. In addition, the event created a platform to enhance the channel’s image and reputation through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives such as ploughing back to the community by partnering with non-government organizations (NGOs) in and around the Vaal Triangle.
In his message of support, the Executive Mayor of the Emfuleni Local Municipality, Mr Sipho Radebe said he felt honored to witness such a great initiative by the students. “I am challenged, and I challenge all of us to continue making a difference in the lives of our students,’’ he said. Representatives from Busy Bee Old Age Home, Siyakha Foundation, and the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), also gave their messages of support for the initiative.
Ms Cynthia Mbatha, a representative of the students involved in the initiative, delivered a sentiment shared by all, that without the support they received internally at VUT and from the Vaal Community, the launch would not be possible. “We thank all stakeholders who were able to contribute directly and indirectly towards the launch.”
In the end, Mr Manana thanked all sponsors of the event: Sally’s, Virgin Active, Siyakha Foundation, FIZZ Marketing and Gijima Group, saying that they look forward to long-term relationships with them and working together towards producing meaningful and purposeful content.”
What better way there is to add entertainment flavour to the launch of a Mobile App? Throughout the evening, guests were musically spoiled – from singing along to the melodic tunes of Xowie Music and Lay-ZB, to dancing to the electrifying performances by Sha-Sha and Blaq Diamond.
Interesting facts about the VUT CampusTV and its Mobile Applications
The mobile application is downloadable on Google Play, Amazon, and Huawei. It consists of content created by the students and staff, departments, faculties within VUT. Features of the app include: the Vice Chancellors Desk and current affairs – both produced by the VUT CampusTV news department.
VUT CampusTV is a campus-media platform that employs content in the form of broadcast, news journalism and vlogs. Since its inception on the 17 of June 2021, it has assisted students, particularly PR students, through providing them with work-integrated learning in their third year of studying. The students get exposed to content production, editing, planning, marketing, advertising, and promotions, and many more skills and techniques that are in alignment with the public relations qualification.
The platform has existed mainly on the Meta platforms, Instagram and making use of publishing news articles on Facebook. From the year 2022, the VUT CampusTV has been making means of publishing all its content on a dedicated app, known as the VUT CampusTV app. This app not only serves as a content hub space for CampusTV related material, but also caters for all university related activities as well as stakeholders working together with the university will also be included, though further information about how all of this will be engineered is to be communicated in the future.