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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

UFS sympathises with exchange students from Virginia Tech
2007-04-18

The University of the Free State (UFS) is shocked by the news of the tragedy that happened yesterday at Virginia Tech in the United States of America (USA).

Sixteen (16) students from Virginia Tech are currently studying at the Main Campus of the UFS in Bloemfontein on an exchange programme of six months.

The students are devastated because of the loss of their friends who were killed when an armed man opened fire on a hostel and classroom on the Blacksburg Campus of Virginia Tech, killing at least 33 people.

“The exchange programme between the UFS and Virginia Tech, which was implemented in 1998, stipulates that selected students from both institutions will study at the other institution for six months on an annual basis as part of the completion of their undergraduate studies. Approximately 120 students from both institutions have taken part in the exchange programme over the past couple of years,” said Prof. Izak Groenewald, co-ordinator of the agreement and Director of the UFS Centre for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development.

According to Prof. Groenewald no students from the UFS are currently studying at Virginia Tech. “The students from Virginia Tech who are currently studying on the Main Campus are all in their third-year in agriculture and the biological sciences. They will be staying here until the completion of the June examinations, when they will return to Virginia Tech,” said Prof. Groenewald.

According to the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Frederick Fourie, the UFS has already made the necessary arrangements for the students to receive pastoral and psychological counselling. “We are doing everything in our power to support them and to bring them in touch with their friends on the Blacksburg Campus,” said Prof. Fourie.

According to Prof. Groenewald the American Ambassador in South Africa, Mr Eric M. Bost, will be talking telephonically to the students this afternoon (17 April 2007).

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@ufs.ac.za
17 April 2007
 

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