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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

Getting out of the dark
2015-04-28

Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

Since 2008, the University of the Free State has been busy with the planning and implementation of projects to reduce the impact of load shedding. To date,  the cost of these projects has run to R6 million. They have been done primarily to ensure that the academic programme does not suffer damage as a result of the increasing interruptions in the power supply that are continuing this year.

The university’s greatest concern has been the provision of emergency power to the lecture halls and laboratories.

Thus far, 35 generators are servicing 55 buildings on the three campuses of the UFS. This includes 26 generators on the Bloemfontein Campus, eight on the Qwaqwa Campus in the Eastern Free State, and one generator on the South Campus in Bloemfontein. The generators are already in service, and are maintained in working order.

Since 2010, the university has also ensured that all newly-built academic buildings are equipped with emergency power supplies.

On the South Campus in Bloemfontein, the new lecture-hall building and the computer laboratory are equipped with emergency power, while the installation of emergency generators in other buildings is under way. The majority of the buildings on the Qwaqwa Campus in the Eastern Free State are equipped with emergency power supplies.

In the meantime, the UFS management has approved a further R11 million for the installation of additional generators on the three campuses. A further R1.5 million has also been approved for the purchase of two mobile generators.

To extend the work already done, the main task will be the installation of more generators on the Bloemfontein Campus to ensure that lecture halls with emergency power will be available for the centrally-arranged timetables, and to ensure that more of the critical laboratories will be provided with emergency power.

There are still  some important buildings and halls on the Bloemfontein Campus that must be supplied with emergency power. However, it is a costly process and must be brought into operation gradually. The further implementation of emergency power depends on the delivery of equipment. The university is also investigating alternative solutions for power provisioning, including solar power.

Generators with spare capacity are optimally deployed to satisfy the lower needs of the campus, including the Odeion, the ANNEX at Microbiology, the Stabilis ANNEX, the Agriculture Building, the UV-Sasol library, and the Francois Retief Building.

In addition, the UFS  is busy on all campuses, coupling area lighting, including

street lights and pedestrian walkways, to existing generators. Procedures for the operation of mechanical equipment, such as entrance gates, lifts, and so on, are currently being dealt with on all campuses. Continuous power sources for certain ICT equipment will be installed on all campuses to protect it against power surges.

Staff and students can also equip themselves with the necessary knowledge to manage load shedding in their specific areas of work and study. It is always helpful to know who to contact. The following list with guidelines and contact numbers has been compiled to assist you:

1. In an emergency, call Protection Services. This line will continue to operate, regardless of whether the power is on or off.
2. Avoid using lifts just before planned load shedding. Some lifts have emergency power packs which will bring the lift to the nearest floor and open the doors. If you still get stuck in a lift during a power outage, use your cellphone to call Protection Services. While you're waiting, stay calm and be patient.
3. If the access control systems in your building stop working after load shedding, contact Protection Services.
4. The students and staff members who are most at risk during load shedding are those in wheelchairs or with other mobility limitations. As far as possible, plan ahead to avoid being stuck on a floor or in a room that is difficult to access when load shedding is imminent. Please contact Protection Services if you need assistance.
5. During a fire, alarms WILL go off. Alarms are not power driven, but battery driven. For assistance, contact Protection Services.
6. The main UFS Switchboard (Bloemfontein Campus +27(0)51 401 9111 and Qwaqwa Campus +27(0)58 718 5000) will continue to operate during load shedding.

Contact details of Protection Services:

  • Bloemfontein Campus: +27(0)51 401 2634/2911
  • Qwaqwa Campus: +27(0)58 508 5460/5175
  • South Campus: +27(0)51 5051217

Communication and Brand Management will make information available on the UFS web, Facebook page, Twitter, Blackboard and the intranet. Get the load shedding schedule from Eskom’s webpage (http://loadshedding.eskom.co.za/). The Bloemfontein Campus falls in group 4 and the South Campus falls in group 2 in Centlec’s load shedding schedule.

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