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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

Student one of ten Google Young Minds
2012-04-23

 

Sibusiso Tshabalala is making strides as an international young leader.
23 April 2012

Third-year B.Com Law student, Sibusiso Tshabalala from our university, is one of ten of Google’s Young Minds for 2012. He made it to the top thirty from a pool of 1 700 applicants at the beginning of April 2012.

“The standard of other competitors and the panel of judges were extremely high. I was excited to receive the news that I had made it,” he says.

Annually, Google searches for ten students internationally who demonstrate strong leadership capabilities. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is given to students who also have an entrepreneurial drive and a commitment to social activism. Sibusiso was selected for his involvement in renovating libraries and training budding public speakers. His projects also involve encouraging literacy and critical thinking in poor areas in the Free State by establishing reading clubs.

Sibusiso will be attending the Google Zeitgeist in London from 20 to 22 May 2012.

At the conference, he will have the opportunity to meet some of the world’s greatest minds. Over 400 influential business leaders and visionaries from around the world will be hosted. Speakers include Prof. Stephen Hawking, former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics: University of Cambridge; Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group; Eric Schmidt, Chairman: Google; Larry Page, CEO: Google; Angela Ahrendts, CEO: Burberry, and international musician will.i.am.

The ten winners will also take part in a series of ‘master classes’ with the aim of mentoring them to help further their future projects.

His achievements include the 2010 winner of the National SAGE Competition (Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship). He represented South Africa in Brazil that same year and was also National Winner of the Best Speaker Award at the 2011 South African National Universities Debating Championships. He was ranked as one of the top ten debaters in Africa at the Pan African Universities Debating Championships held in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in 2011. Sibusiso recently chaired the committee that organised the first university based CANSA Relay for Life Event in South Africa. This took place at the UFS in February 2012.

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