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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

Cultural immersion programme for Rutgers University students
2014-07-29

 

After a community engagement induction, Rutgers University students head out to visit communities.
Photo: Supplied

The International Office and the Department for Community Engagement will host a week-long cultural immersion programme for eight students of Rutgers University from 27 July – 2 August 2014. The Rutgers Graduate School of Education's South Africa Initiative (SAI) bridges cultures, connects educators and provides hope for learners and students from South Africa and the United States.

This interdisciplinary programme provides teachers and students on both sides of the world with the opportunity to exchange information through service learning, training and distance technology. This leads to educational gains for students and educators in both countries.

The Rutgers group of master’s, PhD and undergraduate students will visit two NGOs working with children at risk in the community of Heidedal, namely Tshepo Foundation and Lebone Village. The week-long programme will include lectures on the social, cultural and historical background of pre- and post-apartheid South Africa. Speakers from various departments and faculties of the UFS will feature during this event. These include the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice, the Postgraduate School, the Department of History, African Languages, as well as Education.

Prof André Keet, Director of the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice, will share the transformation story of our university with the group. Dr Henriette van den Berg will speak on mentoring postgraduate students to become successful researchers of the future.

This year marks the 12th anniversary of the SAI Cultural Immersion Program and a fruitful partnership with the UFS and other South African universities. Over the years SAI has provided tonnes of school books and supplies which have been shared with more than 2 000 learners in South Africa. Special projects such as the Literacy Through Photography and Brielle Digital Stories Project have been conducted by SAI alumni in schools. These have resulted in thousands of dollars of support given directly to South African schools.


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