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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 research could light up South African homes
2016-01-21

Reitumetse Maloa, postgraduate student and researcher at the UFS Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, is using her research to provide solutions to the energy crises in South Africa.

A young researcher at the university is searching for the solution to South Africa’s energy and electricity problems from a rather unlikely source: cow dung.

“Cow dung could help us power South Africa,” explains Reitumetse Maloa, postgraduate student and researcher at the UFS Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology.

Reitumetse’s research is trying to understand how the bacteria works that is responsible for producing biogas.

“Biogas can be used for cooking, heating, lighting and powering generators and turbines to make electricity. The remaining liquid effluent can fertilise crops, as it is high in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.”

By using cow dung and food waste to produce biogas, we will be able to lower greenhouse gases.

Biogas is produced in a digester - an oxygen-free space in which bacteria break down or digest organic material fed into the system. This process naturally produces biogas, which is mainly a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide.

“Many countries, such as Germany and the United States, have begun generating electricity from cow dung and food waste, through a process known as biogas production. In South Africa, a number of industries, including waste-water treatment facilities and farms, have caught on to this technology, using it to generate heat and to power machines.”

Until recently the world has relied heavily on electricity derived from fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil. Once these fuels have been extracted from underground reservoirs, they are treated or cleaned, transported to power plants and transformed into the electricity that will reach your house. Fossil fuels are considered a ‘dirty’ energy source which gives off greenhouse gases when burned. Those gases are the major contributing factor to climate change.

“We know very little about the interaction of the bacteria inside the biogas digester. To use biogas as a sustainable fuel source, we need to understand and describe the bacteria population and growth dynamics inside the digester to produce biogas optimally. Currently we are testing a variety of feedstock, including bran, maize and molasses, for biogas production potential, as well as optimising the conditions leading to maximum biogas production. We are also exploring the potential to use the effluent as fertiliser on local farms. The ultimate goal is to have biogas systems that will supply our university with clean energy.”


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