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14 June 2018 Photo Supplied
Next Chapter Green Ribbon campaign addresses mental health
Members of Next Chapter and UFS Student counselling are working together to address mental health issues.

Next Chapter, a student support group at the UFS presented the Green Ribbon campaign, pledging their support to students and providing them with assistance in coping with life events that stimulate stress and contribute negatively to their mental health. The team aims to break the stigma surrounding mental health care, and continually assist students with mental health-related issues that they struggle with daily.

The Green Ribbon represents mental health awareness, which is a pressing matter for students and is the type of support students need in a stressful university environment. The campaign focuses on teaching students how to cope with life events that stimulate stress, and contribute negatively to their mental health.
 
A discussion by Dr Ancel George: practising clinical psychologist and lecturer from the UFS Department of Psychology, and Dr Mellissa Barnaschone: Director of UFS Student Counselling, took place, where talks were prominent about creating an inclusive environment for UFS students.

The panel shared a few tips on how students should work towards managing stress, and motivated them for the main mid-year examinations.
 
The follow-up Exam Cram Workshop, presented by Nadia Cloete and Lize Wolmarans, that combined time and stress management, took place on 2 June 2018, and saw students receiving advice on how to approach various issues during the examination period.
 
Mental health awareness does not end with the campaign and Next Chapter’s slogan “Your story continues” encourages students to regularly wear and commemorate the green ribbon in support of continual mental healthcare.
 
Should you have any enquiries or input for the ongoing campaign, contact the Next Chapter team on ufsnextchapter@gmail.com, or further email Tshepang Mahlatsi, founder of Next Chapter on tshepangmahlatsi767@gmail.com

News Archive

UFS’ position on student politics
2011-09-01

The University of the Free State (UFS) welcomes politics on its campus. It especially invites students to participate in all the political activities on campus, ranging from seminars and debates on national and provincial politics, and organization within party political structures. Earlier the year, in the run-up to the Local Government Elections, a programme was run on campus with all political parties participating in public and radio debates with students on political issues.

A university must be a place for all kinds of ideas and organizations---social, cultural, religious, academic and, yes, political. The perception that the UFS has “banned” politics is simply not true, nor is it possible within a constitutional democracy.
 
The University of the Free State once again invites SASCO and any other political groupings that have not yet registered to participate in campus life, to do so as soon as possible. It is important to the UFS that all student bodies enjoy full participation in campus life, and that there exists a vibrant and exciting political life on the campus alongside academic, social, cultural and religious life.
 
The Student Representative Council (SRC) Elections at the UFS has been constituted on independent candidacy and non-party-political basis. This is a decision crafted and recommended by the Broad Student Transformation Forum, whose members are elected by students, and approved for implementation by the highest authority of the university, the Council. The decisions of the Student Forum entails that all students can nominate individuals for a variety of student leadership positions, which includes nomination for elective portfolios in the SRC elections, but also within nine sub-councils that hold ex-officio seats on the SRC.
 
The old system which restricted student leadership to representation on a party-political basis only (DA, ANC, Freedom Front Plus etc) no longer exists.
 
This decision of the Student Forum ensures that the rights of all students to directly elect their representatives are protected, and that the SRC in fact represents the student body as a whole and not particular interest groups alone. This decision enables ALL students to stand for and participate in campus politics in the SRC elections, though not on a party political ticket. In the 2011 SRC Elections, for example, SASCO members were indeed mandated by its local branch to stand as candidates for various elected positions, as did other political parties such as the DA Student Organisation, a development which the university welcomes. 
 
Most importantly, the UFS insists that all students participate in university life with respect for the rights of all students, irrespective of their social beliefs or political commitments. The UFS insists that no student or student grouping acts to disrupt campus life or insult university staff or denigrate fellow students on grounds of race, religion, language, gender, etc. This is very important to the UFS as it works to build a non-racial culture that respects our common humanity. Our students must learn that democracy and decency go hand in hand, and that part of learning at a university, is to learn to differ without resorting to a language of derision.
 
In short, the University of the Free State warmly welcomes full participation in politics, as in other spheres of student life, on all three its campuses.
 
Statement by Prof. Jonathan Jansen, UFS Vice-Chancellor and Rector.

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