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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

Two Kovsies in SA Netball team for World Student Games
2016-04-18

Description: Lauren-Lee Read More Tags: Lauren-Lee Read More

Lauren-Lee Christians became the 12th Protea from the University of the Free State in 2015. She will play for the South African Universities Netball team in America during July.
Photo: SASPA

Two students from the University of the Free State (UFS), Lauren-Lee Christians and Karla Mostert, were selected for the South African Universities Netball team.

The team, with eight Proteas in its ranks, will be in action at the World Student Games in Miami, USA, from 13 to 17 July 2016.

Among the criteria for selection is that participants should not be older than 27 years in 2016, and they should have been students last year.

The South Africans, who came in second during the inaugural tournament in Cape Town four years ago, will be difficult to beat this time. A total of 12 countries will compete for the title of student champions.

Mostert part of previous successful team

Mostert was one of five Kovsies playing for this team in 2012, when South Africa lost 49-53 to Britain in the final. This came after the score was even at the end of regular play.

Mostert was also one of the two best players for the Proteas at the World Cup last year. Christians just missed out, and had to be content with being a non-travelling substitute after she became the 12th Protea of the UFS earlier in 2015.

Four from UFS in Cucsa squad

Meanwhile, four other of their teammates - Rieze Straeuli, Tanya Mostert, Kgomotso Mamburu, and Alicia Puren - were included in a provisional squad of 15 players to compete for the South African student team at the Cucsa Games (Southern African Student Games). This squad will soon be reduced to the 12 players who will represent their country in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, from 1 to 6 August.

No Protea can be selected for this student team. A fifth Kovsie, the goal shooter, Dénielle van der Merwe, was also selected for the initial squad, but had to withdraw due to a serious leg injury.


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