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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

UFS DiMTEC will help compile national emergency management system
2017-10-11

Description: UFS DiMTEC will help compile national emergency management system Tags: UFS DiMTEC will help compile national emergency management system

Preparedness and response are the two most important aspects of managing disaster when it strikes. Prof Andries Jordaan, Head of the Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa (DiMTEC) at the University of the Free State (UFS) recently attended an incident command course in California in the US.

Learning from US disaster management systems
More than 20 specialists from 17 countries attended the course where participants were introduced to the National Incident Management System (NIMS) in the US. The system was implemented after lessons learned during 9/11. “According to the NIMS structure, all government organisations at all levels as well as emergency agencies had to standardise terminology and systems,” said Prof Jordaan.

The professor also had the opportunity to visit among others the Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) headquarters in California, some State Coordination Centres as well as several other disaster management centres. He also had the chance to shadow an Incident Management Team (IMT) during active operations.

Providing training for local disaster management
Insight gained during this course, as well as Prof Jordaan’s experience as senior officer in the South African National Defence Reserve Forces, provided him the necessary background to conduct training and give assistance in terms of disaster management.

Through DiMTEC Prof Jordaan will assist the National Disaster Management Centre with the implementation of a national emergency management system. He will also provide training for incident management teams.

“DiMTEC is currently also in the process of developing a Master module in disaster response. Command and control and Incident Command will form a sub-module in the disaster response module,” he said.

From South Africa, Prof Jordaan was joined on the course by General Elias Mpumelelo Mahlabane from the South African Police Services, who is responsible for disaster management in the SAPS. Savage Breytenbach, a trainer in rural fire fighting who assists Mangaung with command and control structures, also attended the course.

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