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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

UFS keeps the power on
2015-06-24

 

At a recent Emergency Power Indaba held on the Bloemfontein Campus, support structures at the university met to discuss the Business Continuity Intervention Plan to manage load shedding on the three campuses of the UFS.

Currently, 35 generators serving 55 of the buildings have already been installed as a back-up power supply on the three campuses of the university. According to Anton Calitz, Electrical Engineer at the UFS, the running cost to produce a kWh of electricity with a diesel generator amounts to approximately three times the cost at which the UFS buys electricity from Centlec.

Planned additional generators will attract in excess of R4 million in operating costs per year. For 2015, the UFS senior leadership approved R11 million, spread over the three campuses. Remaining requirements will be spread out over the next three years. University Estates is also looking at renewable energy sources.

On the Bloemfontein Campus, 26 generators serving forty-one buildings are in operation. On South Campus, two generators were installed at the new Education Building and at the ICT Server Room. Lecture halls, the Arena, the Administration Building, and the library will be added later in 2015. Eight generators serving 12 buildings are in operation on the Qwaqwa Campus. In 2015, the Humanities Building, Lecture Halls and the heat pump room will also be equipped with generators.

Most buildings will be supplied only with partial emergency power. In rare cases, entire buildings will be supplied because the cost of connecting is lower than re-wiring for partial demand. According to Nico Janse van Rensburg, Senior Director at University Estates, emergency power will be limited to lighting and power points only. No allowances will be made for air-conditioning.

“Most area lighting will also be connected to emergency power,” he said.

Where spare capacity is available on existing emergency power generators, requests received for additional connections will be added, where possible, within the guidelines. The following spaces will receive preference:
- Lecture halls with the lights, data projectors, and computers running
- Laboratories for practical academic work and sensitive research projects
- Academic research equipment that is sensitive to interruptions
- Buildings hosting regular events

According to Janse van Rensburg, all further needs will be investigated. Staff can forward all emergency power supply needs to Anton Calitz at calitzja@ufs.ac.za

Staff and students can also manage load shedding in the following ways:

1. Carry a small torch with you at all times, in case you are on a stairwell or other dark area when the lights go out. You can also use the flashlight app on your phone. Download it before any load shedding occurs. This can come in handy if the lights go out suddenly, and you cannot find a flashlight. Load-shedding after dark imposes even more pressure on our Campus Security staff. We can assist them with our vigilance and preparedness by carrying portable lights with us at all times and by assisting colleagues.
2. Candles pose a serious safety risk. Rather use battery- or solar-powered lights during load shedding.
3. Ensure that your vehicle always has fuel in the tank, because petrol stations cannot pump fuel during power outages.
4. Ensure that you have enough cash, because ATMs cannot operate without electricity.
5. The UFS Sasol Library has study venues available which students can use during load shedding.
6. When arranging events which are highly dependent on power supply, especially at night, organisers should consult the load-shedding schedule before determining dates and preferably also make back-up arrangements. If generators are a necessity, the financial impact should be taken into consideration.

The senior leadership also approved a list of buildings to be equipped with emergency power supplies.

More about load shedding at the UFS:
Getting out of the dark
More information, guidelines and contact information

 

 

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