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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

Two of our academics contribute to a fascinating book
2012-08-11

Prof. Jo van As earlier this year with proofs of the book The Story of Life & the Environment: An African Perspective.
Photo: Leatitia Pienaar
10 August 2012

The planet has more species than ever before, but humans are responsible for the biggest mass extinction of all times. This is according to Prof. Jo van As, Head of the Department of Zoology and Entomology. He was speaking at the launch of the book The Story of Life & the Environment: An African Perspective.

The book was published by Random House Struik in July 2012 and is a sister publication of The Story of Earth & Life by Prof. Bruce Rubidge, which was published in 2005.

The Story of Life & the Environment: An African Perspective took five years to complete. Prof. Van As was the compiling author, with Prof. Johann du Preez, Head of Plant Sciences at our university, Prof. Leslie Brown of Unisa and Prof. Nico Smit of the North-West University as co-writers.

Prof. Van As said, “No other species has destroyed the earth as we have done. Biological diversity disappears at the rate of mass extinction. The effects of human activities on the biological diversity is bigger that the extinction of the dinosaurs.”

He, however, added that The Story of Life & the Environment: An African Perspective does not sketch a doomsday scenario. It has also a message of hope. Prof. Van As said it was good to see progress in conservation and care for the environment. Trans-frontier parks the size of some countries are a good example of work in this regard.

Mr Stephen Johnson, chairperson of the board of Random House Struik, said at the launch that the publishing house was proud to be associated with the impressive book. The publication will be a touchstone for thoughtful readers for a long time. It will also remain a general book for the public and learners on the topic. The content and design was done in such a way that the publication will be relevant to all audiences.

The Afrikaans version of the book, Die Verhaal van Lewe en die Omgewing, will be published soon.
 

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