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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

Fun in the sun at first-years swimming gala
2016-02-12

Description: Swimming Gala Tags: Swimming Gala

Residences of the University of the Free State showed off their colours and cheered their swimmers to victory at the first-year swimming gala on the Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Johan Roux

The first-year students’ swimming gala is always a much-anticipated event, especially after the participants have rubbed shoulders with residence competitors at the first-year athletics. This year’s gala, which took place on 5 February 2016 at the Lindsay Saker swimming pool on the Bloemfontein Campus, proved as exhilarating as always.

The body painting competition, held through the University of the Free State Student Representative Council (SRC) portfolio of Media & Marketing, and sponsored by ABSA, was re-introduced.

Colleges in colour

Before the swimming, spectators had the opportunity to look at the body painting creations presented by each college. Colleges chose one of ten themes randomly. Nonetheless, true artistry was on display. South College were awarded the body painting floating trophy.

When asked about this year's competition, SRC Media & Marketing, Peo Segano, had this to say: "I questioned the relevance of it, but I got the opinion of the residence committees and how they felt about it.
“The majority voted for it to be re-introduced, and ABSA was more than happy to sponsor the paints and some treats.”

Description: Swimming gala video photo Tags: Swimming gala

Video clip

Soon after that, it was down to the business. The swimming started, and each residence was cheering ecstatically for their fellow freshmen as everyone waited in anticipation to see who would be crowned the kings or queens of the water.

Kings and queens of the water

Although many had sung their voices away, they continued to show their spirit through dance and movement. Then, residences were ready to hear whether it had all paid off. Armentum showed consistent effort in this regard, thus ensuring them of the spirit trophy.

To close off the festivities, the final announcements were made. Sonnedou was crowned the female residence winners, while Abraham Fischer (Vishuis) received the title of best male residence.

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