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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

Amphitheatre to energise student life on the Qwaqwa Campus
2015-06-11

The Qwaqwa Campus of the University of the Free State is one of the fastest-growing rural campuses.

Since 2010, the campus has, among other things, built two new student residences, which provide accommodation for an additional 500 students. The old disused boiler room, which was used as a storeroom, has been converted into much-needed ablution and dressing room facilities at the sports fields.  The Faculty of Education now boasts a Technology, Engineering Graphics and Design Education laboratory. The project was funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training.

One of the student priorities is a common space in the form of an open amphitheatre in front of the library.

‘’The amphitheatre is a highly-welcomed structure on our campus as it will provide students with an informal environment to study, socialise and meet,’’ said the Campus Principal, Prof Prakash Naidoo.

‘‘We have erected this on an existing space that was already used for outdoor launches and events on the campus, and is in line with our thinking of energising student life on campus. In addition, we have complemented this with the use of solar energy, so that students can just plug in and charge their phones and laptops while they are in the amphitheatre.”

Excited students, Chibi Mosia and Tshilidzi Matshavha, in final-year Chemistry and Chemistry Honours respectively, concurred that the amphitheatre is a good project for the campus.

‘‘It is an important and distinctive feature for the campus as it adds to the growth of our beautiful campus,’’ said Mosia.

‘’It will also enhance the use of alternative energy sources to reduce the campus's carbon footprint,’’ added Matshavha.

The project is worth almost R2,5 m, and took 12 months to complete. The Department of Higher Education and Training also provided the funds for this project.

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