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18 April 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice IRSJ) has initiated a Social Justice Week at the University of the Free State (UFS), which started on Friday 12 April  until Wednesday 17 April 2019. 

Ten key events took place during the week. It ranged from dialogues, workshops, talk shows, debates, and interactive displays and events on issues of multilingualism and diversity, social innovation, engaged scholarship, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, gender sensitisation, sexual consent, sexual preparedness, universal access, disability, anti-discrimination, and security.

There was also a round-table discussion on 17 April 2019 with various UFS stakeholders on off-campus student security as well as an inter-institutional discussion on the same topic. The UFS Debating Society will take on the topic of the UFS Language Policy, while Olga Barends from the Free State Centre for Human Rights will host a dialogue on sexual consent.

The IRSJ has also designed and implemented SOJO-VATION: Social Innovation/ Social Change, which strives to create a foundational platform where ideas of social justice, innovation, and engaged scholarship at the UFS and in society can be hosted. SOJO-VATION partners with the Office for Student Leadership, Development, and Community Engagement.

The collaborating partners for the Social Justice Week includes various UFS stakeholders such as the Sasol library, the Gender and Sexual Equity Office, UFS Protection Services, the Free State Centre for Human Rights, the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Office for Student Leadership Development, Kovsie Innovation, GALA, the FFree State Centre for Human Rights, SRC Associations, the Office for Student Governance, Kovsie Innovate, Start-Up-Grind, EVC, EBL, Community Engagement, the Institutional Transformation Plan (ITP) Dialogues Office, Residence Dialogues, UFS Debating Society, Debate Afrika!, the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS), and the Gateway Office. 

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First-year students welcomed into Kovsie Family
2013-01-23

 

New first-year students and their parents and guardians are welcomed on the Qwaqwa and Bloemfontein campuses.
Photo: Sonia Small
23 January 2013



   YouTube Video

They came from near and far. Some hail from Bloemfontein, others from as far away as Botswana but they all have one thing in common. They were here to start their first year as Kovsie students. Thousands of first-year students, along with parents and guardians, attended the first year welcoming on the Qwaqwa and Bloemfontein campuses on 18 and 19 January 2013 respectively.

“I do not care whether you come from the Free State or Zimbabwe or whether you are from Gauteng or Lesotho. I do not care if you speak Sesotho, Setswana or Afrikaans. What I care about is that you must understand that you are smarter than you think.”

This was the message from Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State (UFS), when he officially welcomed first year students to the Qwaqwa Campus. “At the UFS, we put emphasis on two very important projects - the academic and human projects”, said Prof Jansen.

“The academic project is about you excelling academically as a student. It is about being the best you can be in your chosen field of study. All of you should strive to be like Zandile, a young girl from Umlazi who, despite her poverty and challenging conditions at home, went on to attain seven distinctions in her 2012 matric results”, said Prof Jansen. He was referring to Zandile who he tracked down via Facebook to offer her a full bursary to study at the UFS. Zandile had appeared on SABC TV news, expressing her frustration at the lack of funds to continue her studies, despite her performance.

“The human project is about you loving those who are different from you, thus becoming better human beings,” Prof Jansen said.

Prof. Jansen echoed the same message on the Bloemfontein Campus the following day when he welcomed thousands of new students. These students, their parents and guardians packed the huge tent that was erected in the CR Swart parking area of the campus. Prof. Jansen welcomed students from the different faculties during four sessions. He told parents and students that the class of 2013 was the smartest class the university had had in its 109-year history.

Mr Rudi Buys, Dean of Students, informed them about the many opportunities that awaited them at Kovsies. These include programmes like the Leadership for Change Programme for first year students and the Stanford Sophomore College Program for second year students.

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