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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

SRC outlines direction for students at the UFS
2009-09-29

This week, the Student Representative Councils (SRC) of the Main and Qwaqwa Campuses of the University of the Free State (UFS) announced the direction that the student community would follow during their term of office.

Following various difficult situations in the process to diversify the student body and to foster integration among students during the last term of office, the student leaders firstly engaged on prevailing stereotypes among students.

They considered shared values that would assist the student community in building a united spirit and healthy student life on the campuses.

The SRC reached consensus that all students should strive to realise and inspire the following values in student life:

  • Excellence
  • Innovation
  • Respect
  • Counter-cultural leadership
  • Equality

This year the SRC will focus the attention of the university as a whole, but specifically that of the student body on:

  • Growing international competitiveness
  • Promoting continuously meaningful leadership
  • Rolling out broad-based leadership development of all students
  • Social integration of all and diverse groups
  • Developing academic programmes with a broader perspective

The SRC wishes to contribute in building an institution where students grow to maturity through meaningful leadership and total student development.

They seek an environment where students are continuously intellectually stimulated through research-based activities and where student skills development is maximised by evolving a common curriculum.

The student leaders furthermore resolved that they want graduates of the university to differentiate themselves by their distinctive leadership ability

They expect that the university community will exhibit a human-centred focus on reconciliation and on the transformation and integration of diverse groups and that all stakeholder groups will receive equitable opportunities.

In the final instance they envisage that the university will continue to grow as an institution that is respected and internationally recognised.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Deputy Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za  
25 September 2009

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