ISS is a student society that was founded by black medical students who were residing in Medical Residence in 1992. The students found the conditions and atmosphere for learning quite challenging for them as black stud ents in those years. In conception the society was registered as Medical Students Society and its main objective of the society was to form a collective within which support from peers was granted and a sense of belonging was fostered. The support was both academic and social and this is a legacy that has been passed on year after year to other students.
Later on, the society realised that its aspirations and principles are shared by more than just the medical (MBChB) students, but also by students from the allied health sciences (presently referred to as the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences). Therefore, the invitation for membership was extended to all students in the Faculty of Health Sciences and the students were predominantly undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This shift in mindset and broadening of perspective called for a new identity to be established by the society to be able to reflect the diverse nature of its membership. The society changed its name to Impilo Student Society (ISS). Impilo means health; therefore the name was fitting of the description of the members.
Over the years
ISS has continued to provide academic and social support to its membership through student facilitated activities like tutorials for 1st and 2nd year MBChB students, study groups and the mentor-mentee programme, which was halted a few years ago. However, through a process of reflection and introspection, the society has decided to re-instate the mentor-mentee programme as of 2010. The society prided itself in three pillars, which the members stood by; academic inclusion, which was later changed to academic excellence, demographic representation, community service.
Social support has been at the heart of ISS for years and it still continues through activities such as Heritage Day celebration, the Academic Dinner and the society\'s meetings always end on a high note with members exchanging conversation over snacks. The benefit of being a member of ISS is that students get an opportunity to grow as leaders and put leadership skills to practice through being in executive committee or a member of the sub-committees. The members also share experiences and get an opportunity to learn about other health professionals except for the one that they are enrolled in. Through serving the community, members get a chance to give back to the community and assist other prospective UCT in the community, therefore growing both personally and professionally.