11 February 2020 | Story Nonsindiso Qwabe | Photo Ian van Straaten
UFS Qwaqwa Campus official opening
Hundreds of firs-year students attended the UFS Qwaqwa Campus official welcoming

 “You are not only here to get a degree and go find work; you are also here to gain life experience that will help you prevail in all aspects of life.”

With these words, the President of the Student Representative Council (SRC) on the Qwaqwa Campus, Lehlohonolo Mokhabi, welcomed first-year students on Saturday 8 February 2020. 

Scores of excited Kovsie newbies braved heavy downpours to be part of one of the most momentous occasions of their new journey – their official welcoming to the University of the Free State (UFS).

Mokhabi told students that they made a great decision by becoming part of the UFS. “This is your home away from home,” he said.

Own this time, own this space

His sentiments were shared by Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS. In his welcoming address, Prof Petersen encouraged students to utilise the university to their own benefit as far as possible.

“I want you to own this time, and to own this space. This is your campus, your university, and you must make sure that you get the maximum from it. Do not be disengaged from your student life.”

He told students that their most important role was to build a better campus for future generations.

“As you go through your studies, I would like you to have the mindset that asks how you can improve this campus. We are about working together, developing the next generation of leaders, and we want to create a society – on campus and in the community – that people can look up to.”

He emphasised safety as the university’s number one priority and encouraged students to be aware of their own surroundings and of those around them. 

One university, three campuses 

Furthermore, he said the Kovsie experience was for all students across the university’s three campuses. “I would like you to hear it from my mouth that there is one university with three campuses. There is not a main campus, and if you have heard that, then please squash that terminology.”

“We all need to make sure that the quality of what we offer in our programmes and the experience you get as a student on any campus, are the same everywhere. When you graduate, I would like you to say that you know what the Kovsie feeling is about,” he said.

After the speeches were wrapped up, the students moved to more exciting parts of the programme, which included entertainment by local DJs, and a taxi tour of important sites for those staying off campus.

Among those in attendance was a cheerful Karabo Mofokeng, who will be pursuing a Bachelor of Administration extended programme. Staying in one of the residences on campus, Mofokeng said it was already “way better than being at home. It’s very exciting here, there’s free Wi-Fi, showers, and the electricity is always on. Now, I’m just looking forward to my first lecture.” 

 Reitumetse Segonyane, a local resident and Bachelor of Education first-year, said she saw no need to travel far because the campus had everything she needed. “I’ve always been exposed to the Qwaqwa Campus, and I was determined from a young age to come here. So far, I’m happy with my choice.”

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