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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

Experts to exchange insights on historical trauma
2014-02-20

Programme

An international group of scholars and practitioners will meet at the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State on Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 February 2014. This will be the first research symposium in a series of four in which experts will share their insights on the aftermath of mass trauma and violence. The symposium brings together scholars from across the globe whose research explores various aspects of historical trauma in Chile, Peru, Cambodia, Rwanda, Kosovo, Mozambique, Germany as well as South Africa.

Discussions on South Africa will include the historical traumas of the Anglo-Boer War and the apartheid years. Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, who is co-hosting the symposium with Prof Björn Krondorfer of Northern Arizona University, explains that the gathering is designed as an International Research Forum with the aim to foster multidisciplinary collaborations. The forum is expected to lead to innovative scholarship, new avenues of inquiry and the advancement of knowledge.

The symposium will kick off on Tuesday 25 February with a morning session from 8:45–12:00. The UFS community is welcome to attend this open forum.This session will include speakers such as Prof Kimberly Theidon of Harvard University and Dr Susan Glisson, Executive Director of the William Winter Center for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi. Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, will deliver an address followed by a discussion on the Human and Academic Projects at the university as strategies of transformation.

The public session will close with a students’ round-table discussion of the Hector Pieterson iconic photo of the 1976 Soweto Uprisings staged as an event in the Anglo-Boer War.

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