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25 April 2019 | Story Mamosa Makaya

Since 2016, the University of the Free State Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) has received a grant from First National Bank worth R2 498 000, which supports tertiary bursaries for students with disabilities. Bursary holders are funded through CUADS, as the administrator of the bursaries.
  
These are students enrolled for various academic programmes who require academic assistance and/or assistive devices such as electronic handheld magnifiers, laptops, and hearing aids. The FNB grant also covers tuition, accommodation, study material and books, and meals.  The success of the grant is already evident, with one of the recipients having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in December 2018. A second student was capped at the April 2019 graduations with a BSc Honours in Quantity Surveying.
 
Supporting the principles of the ITP

The UFS received the grant from FNB in instalments, starting in the 2016 academic year to date, supporting the needs of 40 disabled students. This grant and the work of CUADS speaks to and supports the principles of the Integrated Transformation Plan (ITP), namely inclusivity, transformation, and diversity. The vision of the Universal Access work stream is to enable the UFS to create an environment where students with disabilities can experience all aspects of student life equal to their non-disabled peers. The ITP provides for the recognition of the rights of people with disabilities as an important lesson in social justice and an opportunity to reinforce university values.

The successful administration of the grant to benefit past and present students is a ‘feather in the cap’ of CUADS, and is a shining example of the impact of public private investment and the endless possibilities that open up when there is a commitment to developing future leaders in academic spaces, allowing them to thrive by creating a learning environment that is welcoming and empowering. 



News Archive

Renewable energy systems an economical investment for the UFS
2017-06-14

Description: Renewable energy  Tags: Renewable energy

The Qwaqwa Campus Arena equipped with freestanding
roof solar panels.
Photo: iFlair Photography

Renewable energy systems are said to be very expensive to implement initially, but in the long run they provide high economic returns.

With their decision to install renewable energy, the University of the Free State Department of Facilities Planning has now also adopted this innovative technology. They have chosen less capital-intensive solar power-generating options to generate electricity in various buildings and parking areas on all three UFS campuses.

“As per the UFS Energy Management Policy, all designs incorporate efficient, renewable energy sources varying from LED lights to solar power,” says Anton Calitz, Electrical Engineer in University Estates’ Department of Facilities Management.

South Campus taking the lead in renewable energy usage
In December 2016, a total of 26 solar-driven LED street-light poles were installed at the recently built Legae Residence’s parking area and the perimeter security area on the South Campus. This low-maintenance system improves security after dark and is independent of the national power supply, which is an important advantage during power outages. With no requirements for major earthworks and cable setting, operational costs are reduced.

The recently built infrastructure also takes pride in being the first to have a greywater system installed.  This system will also be installed at three other residences on the Bloemfontein Campus in 2017. Greywater is made up of bath, shower, and bathroom sink water. The water is reused for toilet flushing, as well as for irrigation purposes.

Various UFS electrical operations to depend on solar power
On the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses, the computer laboratories as well as the Thakaneng Bridge Student Centre and the projected Afromontane Research Centre will be equipped with freestanding roof solar solutions during 2017. These systems are designed to operate independently of the power grid (Eskom).

The systems only operate during sunlight hours when the PV solar panels are heated by the sun, making them suitable for operations such as ventilation fans, water pumps, and small circulation pumps for solar thermal water-heating systems.

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