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26 February 2019 | Story Eugene Seegers | Photo Eugene Seegers
Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Daniella Coetzee, South Campus Principal, Tshegofatso Setilo, Director Access, Prof Prakash Naidoo, Vice-Rector Operations
Prof Francis Petersen, Prof Daniella Coetzee (Principal: South Campus), Tshegofatso Setilo (Head: Access Programmes), and Prof Prakash Naidoo (Vice-Rector: Operations) on the South Campus for the welcoming of first-years.


“Welcome to the South Campus of the University of the Free State!” Addressing a packed Madiba Arena, Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, said he was happy to see not only first-year students, but also parents and guardians, student leadership, and support staff from both the Bloemfontein and South Campuses.

 “I would like to congratulate each of our first-year students for making the decision to come to Kovsies to further your studies here. But I would also like to thank you for making this choice,” he continued.

Prof Petersen further emphasised that the students’ experience and success as individuals are important to the UFS as an institution; therefore, academic and support staff are on hand to guide them through their journey to becoming well-rounded individuals. “We will surely take care of you,” said Prof Petersen. He also reassured parents and guardians that their loved ones would be well looked after.

The Rector also focused attention on the role of student-leadership structures, such as the newly-formed Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) and South Campus SRC, members of which were present in the audience. He thanked them for playing a key role in the student constituency, highlighting their support and guidance to help first-years cultivate a sense of belonging at the UFS.

Turning back to first-year students, Prof Petersen stated that they have the unique opportunity to study on a campus specifically focused on developing their full potential, a campus where they can realise their dreams. “Your arrival on the campus marks a new chapter in your life. This chapter is slightly different, as you are the author thereof. The previous chapters in your life were largely written by others—your parents, guardians, families, teachers, and others. You will now be the main author in the next chapter of your unique story.”

“At Kovsies, we believe in developing students in their totality as human beings, not just the academic side. May your time with us equip you to make a success of your life after university!”

Prof Petersen’s Message to First-year Students
  1. Take responsibility for your academic programme.
    • Keep your focus. Study and study hard. You will reap the rewards and see the advantages of making success in your studies a top priority.
    • Make sure that you have enough time for your studies; balance your social life and your time set aside to study.
  2. Realise and remember that you are not alone.
    • If you find things difficult, seek help.
    • Our Department of Student Counselling and Development has trained staff and tailor-made programmes that can assist you.
    • Look after your mental health—and look after each other’s mental health.
  3. Make the most of your time at Kovsies.
    • Join one or more of the student organisations; why not try something new?
  4. Embrace difference and diversity.
    • Get to know students who are different from you.
    • You will lose valuable opportunities to grow if you only associate with your own all the time. It is important to get to know students who are different from you. It could be someone from a different part of the country, or from another country, a different ethnicity, a different religion, someone who has different views from yours, or who has different interests and perspectives.

News Archive

UFS on energy-saving mode
2009-09-15

The University of the Free State (UFS) has undertaken several measures to reduce energy consumption on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein.

“Part of Eskom’s strategy is that all the main universities must reduce their electricity consumption. Because the university is the second biggest user of electricity in Bloemfontein we have to cut our consumption according to the new energy policy,” said Prof. Niel Viljoen, Chief Director of Operations at the UFS.

“Electricity is also expensive and if we look at global warming and everybody’s responsibility, I think we all have a moral obligation to save energy,” said Prof. Viljoen.

“The energy crisis of January 2008 and beyond, with its load-shedding limitations, was a major driver for the government to introduce the Power Conservation Scheme,” said Mr Anton Calitz, the UFS’s electrical engineer.

The measures put in place by the UFS include amongst others:

The introduction of a solar water-heating system in the residences, which is a first of its kind in Bloemfontein.
An investigation is also being launched into alternatives and the effective heating of rooms in the residences.

Feasibility studies are currently being conducted to determine whether energy saving can be achieved with radiation panels.

Energy-saving lights have been installed in the following buildings: the Architecture Building, Genmin Lectorium, Geology lecture halls, Winkie Direko Building, George du Toit Building, Sasol Library, Francois Retief Building, as well as in the residences. This measure has resulted in massive energy saving.

Energy meters for the Library, Computer Laboratory Building, François Retief Building and Steyn Substation are being planned as the first phase.

Real-time metering will result in every UFS computer user being aware of power consumption on the campus.

New lift motors and control systems that reduce energy consumption have been installed at the Agriculture and the George du Toit Buildings.

In the Computer Laboratory Building the temperature adjusting point for the venues is set at 22 °C and, in the case of new projects, green guidelines are applied.

It is expected that the government and local authorities will bring more pressure to bear on the UFS to save energy. Applications for increased capacity will possibly be linked to energy-saving targets.

This trend will continue until 2014 when additional power stations will be put into operation.

“Our aim is to save 10% on energy consumption,” said Prof. Viljoen.

“Heavy financial penalties will be imposed if a 10% saving is not achieved,” added Mr Calitz.

On average, our energy consumption per day this year is 128,964 kWh as compared to last year’s 119,752 kWh.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za  
14 September 2009

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