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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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The beginning of the person you want to be
2015-02-03

Photo: Supplied

“The University of the Free State is a caring community where everybody counts.” With this message, Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector: External Relations welcomed our first-years on the Qwaqwa Campus.

“Whether you are a first-year or a senior student, whether you are a cleaner or a research professor, we all have one thing in common: our humanity,” Dr Makhetha said.

“This is the stage where you are going to shape the person you want to be,” Dr Makhetha said to the audience of eager first-year students who had already spent a week undergoing a rigorous Gateway Orientation programme.

“A lot of things will happen during your stay here and one of them is making friends. Make friends with people from outside your comfort zone,” Dr Makhetha added. “Make friends with those who have a totally different background from yours so that you can learn, broaden and enrich your life.”

“Read broadly and ask questions – for questions will take you far beyond your area of study,” she said.

Zethu Mhlongo, Deputy President of the Qwaqwa Campus Student Representative Council (SRC) encouraged first-years to always remember why they chose our university in the first place.

“Enjoy your stay, get your degree and step up for success,” Mhlongo said.

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