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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. 

News Archive

Four modernised controlled environment cabinets inaugurated
2006-07-27

Photographed in a controlled environment cabinet were at the back from the left:  Mr Adriaan Hugo (head of the UFS Electronics and Mechanisation Division), Prof Herman van Schalkwyk (Dean: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the UFS) and Prof Koos Terblans (lecturer at the UFS Department of Physics).  In front is Mr Koos Uys (engineering consultant from Experto Designa who helped with the cooling systems of the cabinets).
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

Different look for research in controlled circumstances at the UFS  

Research in controlled circumstances at the University of the Free State (UFS) turned a new page today with the inauguration of four modernised controlled environment cabinets of the Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences.

“The controlled environment cabinets, which are situated next to the glass houses on the eastern side of the Agriculture Building on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein, were installed in the early 1980’s.  The cabinets, used for research purposes in controlled circumstances by the UFS for many years, became dysfunctional and needed to be repaired and put into use again,” said Prof Herman van Schalkwyk, Dean: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the UFS.

“The cabinets are used by the agronomics, horticulture and soil science divisions of the Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences to control factors such as the temperature, the intensity and quality of light, synthesis and humidity.  This is done 24 hours a day, with hourly intervals,” said Prof Van Schalkwyk.

The cabinets are ideally suited to determine the joint and separate effects of these factors on the growth of plants.  The adaptability of plants to climate can also be investigated under controlled circumstances.  All of this leads to a better understanding of the growth and development process of plants, more specifically that of agricultural crops. 

“The effect of these environmental factors on the effectiveness of insect killers such as fungus killers, insecticide and weed killers can also be investigated and can help to explain the damage that is sometimes experienced, or even prevent the damage if the research is timeously,” said Prof Van Schalkwyk.

A new cabinet can cost between R2-3 million, depending on the degree of sophistication.  “Although controlled environment cabinets have been used for agricultural research for a long time, it has become costly to maintain them     and even more impossible to purchase new ones,” said Prof Van Schalkwyk.

According to Prof Van Schalkwyk the cabinets were re-built by die UFS Electronics and Mechanisation Division.  Some of the mechanisms were also replaced and computerised.   

“The re-building and mechanisation of the cabinets were funded by the faculty and because the work was done by our own staff, an amount of about R1 million was saved.  The maintenance costs will now be lower as the cabinets are specifically tailor made for our research needs,” said Prof Van Schalkwyk.

Where all monitoring was done manually in the past, the cabinets can now be controlled with a computer.  This programme was designed by Prof Koos Terblans from the UFS Department of Physics. 

According to Prof Van Schalkwyk the modernisation of the cabinets is part of the faculty’s larger strategy to get its instruments and apparatus up to world standards.  “With this project we have proved that we can find a solution for a problem ourselves and that there are ways to get old apparatus functional again,” said Prof Van Schalkwyk.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
26 July 2006

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