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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

Staff, students, learners and the public opened their hearts during R5 coin-laying ceremony
2012-07-19

Photo: Sonia Small
18 July 2012

Amidst a festive atmosphere on the Red Square in front of the Main Building on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS), students, staff, learners and members of the public came together to make their contribution to stop hunger.

In celebration of former president Nelson Mandela’s birthday, the university collected money and food in the form of a coin-laying ceremony, the packing of food parcels, and a message delivered by Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu in aid of the university’s No Student Hungry (NSH) campaign and Bloemfontein Child Welfare.

Representatives from schools in Bloemfontein donated their R5 coins, together with university staff, students, members of the public, and employees of Pick n Pay Hyper. Money collected at the coin-laying ceremony will be shared between NSH and Bloemfontein Child Welfare.

According to Ms Grace Jansen and Ms Carin Buys, patrons of NSH, the more than R42 000 that was collected will be donated to Bloemfontein Child Welfare in an effort by NSH to give back to the community. “We are impressed by the number of people who showed up and by the fact that people opened their hearts and pockets to give,” said Ms Buys.

Thirty employees of Pick n Pay Hyper in Bloemfontein were also present and packed 1 833 food parcels (equivalent to 11 000 meals). This forms part of a Pick n Pay initiative in cooperation with Stop Hunger Now that is being held countrywide today.

In total, 88 000 meals will be distributed in six cities in South Africa today. The 11 000 meals in the Free State have been donated to the university and according to Ms Jansen a social worker at the UFS will distribute it to other needy students. These are students who do not receive bursaries from NSH at the moment. Every food parcel contains rice, dried vegetables, soya, and vitamin and mineral enriched powder.

The university was honoured to have Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu as the speaker at the event. He attended a dialogue in the Series of Dialogue between Science and Society today at the university where he took part in a conversation with Profs. Mark Solms and Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela as part of the Global Leadership Summit.

He made a special appearance at the university’s Nelson Mandela Day festivities. His message was simple but inspiring: “Everyone has, just like Madiba, the capacity to change lives. I hope there are people present who can say that they want to improve someone else’s life. You have the chance to make South Africa a country where no one goes to bed hungry. Help us to make South Africa a country where we have compassion for each other and care for each other”.

The UFS would like to thank the following schools for their contributions: 

Grey Kollege Primêre Skool
Grey Kollege
St Michael's School for Girls
Hoërskool Jim Fouché
Hoërskool Fichardtpark
Hoërskool Sentraal
Navalsig High School
HTS Louis Botha
Eunice High School 


 

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