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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 takes steps to address power shedding
2008-01-31

The problem of power shedding was urgently discussed by the Executive Committee of the Executive Management (Exco) during its meeting yesterday.

A report was presented by Ms Edma Pelzer, Director: Physical Resources and Special Projects, and a consulting electrical engineer about possible short, medium and long term solutions for the UFS.

This includes (a) the possible installation of equipment (eg. power generators) and (b) operating procedures to ensure the UFS’s functionality despite power shedding.

We are also in contact with Centlec to bring about the best possible arrangements for the UFS regarding the power shedding. It is possible that refined power shedding schedules will be implemented within a few weeks or a month to ensure that there is minimal disruptions at the UFS (especially during evening lectures).

In the long term it is unaffordable to generate power for the whole campus to meet everyone’s electricity needs. Only critical points will be supplied with emergency power generators.

Emergency power generation for certain critical points have already been provided for (eg. the Callie Human Centre, the evacuation of large halls, computer services, critical long term research projects, etc.). We have been doing surveys since 2006 to determine the UFS’s preparedness for “normal” power failures. The extent of the current situation has, however, taken the whole country by surprise.

Certain urgent steps were decided on yesterday. A decision was made to immediately design emergency power systems and supply it to the new examination centre and large lecture halls such as the Stabilis, Flippie Groenewoud, Agriculture building, and possibly the West Block. The delivery and installation of these systems will, however, take from three to six months.

The UFS will have to manage despite the power shedding, even after the emergency power systems have been installed and we will not be able to function as normal. Every division must devise operating procedures to deal with the power shedding without jeopardising the quality of core functions.

Bloemfontein is luckier than many other cities because Centlec is able (so far) to keep to the published schedule to a large extent.

Plans are also being made to keep staff and students continuously informed via the UFS web site about expected power shedding schedules and risks of power shedding in the course of a day.

Exco requests every faculty and support service to think about suitable operational solutions for managing their work and meetings during a power shedding.

Every line head has instructions to urgently determine the situation and needs in his or her division and indicate what practical arrangements can and must be made to schedule work around the power shedding. Every line head must provide Exco with a status report within a week.

In this way critical areas in terms of core functions and high quality service delivery will be determined and receive attention. Security systems and the safety of staff and students will also receive specific attention - this includes the residences.

In the mean time the Department of Physical Resources will carry on with a wide-ranging investigation into the extent of needs and plans and will compile a budget for the solution thereof.

Prof. Teuns Verschoor, Vice-Rector: Academic Operations, and the deans had a meeting yesterday to discuss problems and possible solutions around the power shedding in eg. computer rooms, during evening lectures, and practical classes.

Options may include eg. alternative time slots (eg. weekends) or alternative halls (eg. at the Vista Campus) for evening lectures which are affected by power shedding, or adjusted teaching methods.

Staff is requested not to install their own power generators under any circumstances. It can be very dangerous when such apparatus are linked to a building’s electrical system. The safety of staff and students and the risks of fire or injuries must also be the highest priority under all circumstances.

The Department of Physical Resources is also in the process of investigating options such as smaller power generators or ‘UPS’ apparatus as part of a broader evaluation of needs and potential solutions.

Exco wants to ensure all staff and students that this matter is receiving urgent attention and will keep on receiving it.

If there are any practical solutions about dealing with the power shedding (such as alternative ways of working) you are invited to send an e-mail to: lightsout@ufs.ac.za  

 

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