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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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UFS trains Kovsies to become great in world terms – Prof Jonathan Jansen
2016-01-19

Description: First-year welcoming 2016 Tags: First-years, UFS First-years

First-year students from the University of the Free State (UFS) recently attended the welcoming ceremony at the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Johan Roux

The University of the Free State (UFS) does not train Kovsies to become great in Bloemfontein or even South Africa. The UFS trains them to become great in the world.

With these words, Prof Jonathan Jansen welcomed the first-year class of 2016 to the “home of Wayde van Niekerk, Rolene Strauss, and the 2015 Varsity Cup rugby champions”.

Prof Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, welcomed the newcomers to the start of the “best time of their lives” on 15 January 2016 at the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus. First-years and their parents attended the annual welcoming ceremony.

Prof Jansen congratulated the students on choosing the UFS, and on being part of the elite group that was selected to study at the university.

The UFS received 25 142 applications from newcomers, he said, although there are only about 8 000 places. In 2015, there were roughly 17 500 applications.

He said it was also the most diverse group of applications the UFS had ever received.

Access to education

According to Prof Jansen, the UFS is committed to helping poor students gain access to education, no matter what their background or the colour of their skin.

Lindokuhle Ntuli, the UFS Student Representative Council (SRC) President, said higher education should be more accessible. He said South Africa has allowed education to become commercialised.

“The sooner we as a country realise education isn’t an expense, but rather an investment, the better,” he said.

UFS campaigns

Prof Jansen thanked the UFS SRC for the Right to Learn (R2L) campaign. Launched by the SRC on 30 October 2015, this campaign has already raised R1.2 million to help academically-deserving underprivileged students to study.

“I have launched a campaign myself to raise R100 million between now and September. About 50% of my time will go into this,” Prof Jansen said.

“I will work tirelessly with Lindokuhle and the SRC to raise money.”

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