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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

Physical Planning lives in recaptured space
2014-06-18

When the Department of Physical Planning decided on a new office premises, the team decided to tackle the project with an overarching theme – recycling.

It is important for Physical Planning to not only dictate to other departments on campus, but to set the example themselves,” says Nico Janse van Rensburg, Director: Physical Planning at the UFS. 

Recaptured space

New office space on campus is simply not available. It was therefore decided to recover space and a store room was identified. “Fortunately, the storage area had ceilings. However, it was dilapidated and was sagging all over. To divert attention from the ceiling, we painted it in a dark colour and the walls white.

“All wiring was also done superficially. It draws the attention away from the uneven surfaces and simplifies work on the wiring. Instead of trying to hide it, we made a focal point of it,” says Janse van Rensburg.

Recycled building materials

Lots of the building material that was used to convert the storage space into offices, was recovered from other building projects on campus. Material that would normally be discarded was utilised creatively to not only serve a practical purpose, but also an aesthetic one.

A laboratory basin was used as wash basin. Remaining parts of granite slabs from other sites were utilised as top for the basin. Existing toilets were also reused. To enhance the atmosphere, new taps in an affordable, but durable range were installed.

Recycled furniture

We rambled through every possible store room to find furniture. Tables were simply sanded and varnished and look better than new. Even the cabinet at the entrance was saved from wind and weather and reused.

Hot and smart

Only one screen wall was built. It was left in raw brick, unplastered and unpainted to contribute to contrasting textures. Existing walls were left painted or unpainted as it was before.

“The environment that was created breaks down several existing perceptions. Such as the perception that everything has to match; everything has to be plastered and painted and many others. This is an example of how different materials can be combined to create a lively environment.

“Staff members have already moved into their new offices and are very satisfied,” says Janse van Rensburg. 

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