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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

2011 Leadership group meets for the first time
2011-08-01

 

Photo: Hannes Pieterse

The long application process, panel interviews and nail-biting wait finally came to an end the past week, when the cream of our first-year class of 2011 gathered in the Scaena Theatre on our Bloemfontein Campus, for their first group meeting as the selected Leadership for Change cohort.

These 150 students, from all our faculties, will over the following year be groomed to be leaders, not only at the university, but also in their respective fields and chosen careers.
The first group of students will depart for their respective universities in America and Europe on 22 September 2011, where they will spend two weeks. The second group of students will depart for universities in Japan in January 2012.

Although they have all passed a gruelling selection process, the real hard work is only starting now for these bright young students.

The programme will take place in four phases. During the preparation phase, which has now kicked off, students are prepared for the experience ahead, while being made aware of exactly what to expect from the programme.

In the study-abroad phase, students will be placed at 15 partner institutions in various countries, and will be divided into groups of six to twelve people. According to Prof. Aldo Stroebel, Director of International Academic Programmes, the groups will be diverse, in that there will be a mix of races, genders and study fields, which should guarantee dynamic interaction.

During the group’s first meeting this week, they were informed of the important goals of the Leadership for Change Programme, by Mr Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs.

He imparted the gravity of their selection on the students by saying, “You may not get it yet, but I understand the reason we are all here. I understand that by looking at what you achieve after this programme, we can tell what the country could possibly achieve in the future. It is immensely moving to see the way you all carry yourselves, since I can see something special and unique in each of you.”
“You are all here, not because of which school you went to, or your race, or who your parents are, but because you all show potential to be something great.”

Prof. Stroebel reminded the group that despite the excitement that they all have about visiting universities in America, Europe and Asia, these visits should be seen as study trips.

“You may have three days to acquaint yourselves with the surroundings, but after that there will be very little sightseeing and a lot of hard work.”

They will participate in programmes designed by their respective host institutions, aimed at exposing them to different cultures, lifestyles and beliefs.

They will be accompanied by our staff, who Prof. Stroebel says will grow with the students, as they will be expected to guide the students through their tasks and assignments and interact with them on a daily basis.

Upon their return, there will be a debriefing phase, during which they will be expected to provide feedback on their experiences, as well as submit assignments which they will be assigned at their respective institutions.

The final phase is known as the impact phase, as this will see the students apply what they have learned in a positive manner and help drive the university to the future and to becoming a world-leading tertiary institution.

 

Media Release
1 August 2011
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za


 

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