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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 visits the US as part of Global Leadership Preparation Programme
2012-06-07

The Student Representative Councils (SRC) of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses will be travelling to the United States from 10-24 June 2012 on an intensive leadership development programme.

The Global Leadership Preparation Programme, initiated by the Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, has been designed to ensure that South Africa’s next generation of leaders understand their unique place in a global context, the interconnectedness of global and local society and various possibilities for change.
 
The group of 36 students will be visiting Washington DC, Boston and New York.
 
“As a university we recognise that students who lead on campus must be prepared to also lead the country, which requires amongst others greater understanding of the impact and influence of global developments (social, economic, political) on nation states and campuses. This includes knowledge to deepen democratic participation and real representation – issues we know that often are contested in important student governance structures such as SRCs,” says Mr Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs.
 
The group will be studying among others the impact, influence and limits of the United Nations in global leadership; the impact of transnational companies on economic policies of African countries; the impact of American universities on African leadership; the impact of international philanthropy on African development and the impact of American public institutions on learning among the disadvantaged: lessons for South Africa.
 
The programme complements and strengthens other leadership preparation programmes of the UFS, such as the Leadership for Change Programme and the Gateway College Programme – an intensive orientation programme for all undergraduate students. It will give students a competitive advantage in leadership over more local programmes and initiatives that seldom look beyond the campus, or even beyond the country, in preparing the next generation of leadership.
 
“We value this initiative by the university leadership to give us the opportunity to explore and spread our wings and gather as much knowledge as we can get to raise the bar in terms of student governance and leadership. The university is amongst the few in the country that sees the need to strengthen and develop its student leadership by exposing it and allowing it to understand its role in a global context. This is a chance that we take seriously and we intend to use it to the betterment of the institution,” says Bongani Ngcanga, President of the Central SRC.
 
“While we welcomed the initiative taken by the university to design this programme, the SRC questioned and debated heavily on the merits and real contribution of such a programme. Only on approval of the academic and development profile of the programme did we accept its merits and now are excited about the value thereof. This opportunity goes beyond the term of the SRC and will develop and equip us for the great positions we will hold in the future. I am looking forward to meeting influential lobbyists, profound academics and strong politicians,” says Richard Chemaly, SRC President of the Bloemfontein Campus.
 
Upon their return, the SRCs will set a new benchmark for future councils, raising the bar to that of internationally acclaimed student leadership. One of the objectives of the programme is to produce written, reflective statements about the learning that resulted from the trip and to start dialogues in order to improve student governance and governance as a whole. Workshops will also be presented for aspirant student leaders on leadership lessons learnt from an international perspective.
 
Members of the SRCs are covering part in the cost of the programme and generous contributions have also been received from outside the university.

Media Release
07 June 2012
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: +27(0)51 401 2584
Cell: +27(0)83 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za

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