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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 experimental farm to be redesigned as a training facility
2004-10-25

Back fltr:
Dr Léan van der Westhuizen, Manager: UFS Sydenham Experimental Farm; Prof Herman van Schalkwyk, Dean: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the UFS and Councilor Thami Stander, Chairperson: Mangaung Municipal Portfolio for Agriculture and Rural Development

Front fltr:
Mr Hanz Nketu, Chairperson: Free State Legislative Committee on Agriculture and Mr Peter Frewen from the Free State Legislature

The Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences of the University of the Free State will soon sign a tri-partite cooperation agreement with the National African Farmers Union (NAFU) and the Mangaung Local Municipality with the aim of providing training and mentorship to small-scale and emerging farmers, including those recently settled under the on-going land redistribution programme.

The agreement is part of the Faculty’s strategic plan to support the on-going reform process in the country, of which Black Economic Empowerment in Agriculture (Agri-BEE) is an important part. The Free State Provincial Department of Agriculture is also actively supporting this initiative.

Under the plan, the Faculty is redesigning its experimental farm, located about 12 kilometers south of Bloemfontein, as a training facility to build up skills in among others broiler and egg production, dairy farming, animal husbandry, piggery, sheep and goat production. The idea is to introduce a comprehensive package that empowers the small and emerging farmers and the local communities adjoining the farms through simultaneous investments in research, extension, and practical agricultural training.

Learnerships are also being drawn up to provide productive skills in order to contribute to addressing the national skills gap and enhancing opportunities for both self and wage employment.

The residents of the adjoining informal settlement known as Mangaung Phase II where unemployment is currently at extremely high levels are primary targets of this component of the project. The Faculty intends for this project to service the farming communities of the Free State Province and gradually spread to other Provinces in the country.

Having recognised this training programme as a potential instrument for achieving “a united and prosperous agricultural sector”, the Free State Legislature has shown considerable interest in the programme.

Following a preparatory visit to the farms by the Agriculture Committee of the Free State Legislature a request was made to the Faculty to host a larger visit by the Legislative Committees of the Free State, North West and Eastern Cape Provincial Legislatures on Monday 25 October 2004 and present details of the training programme.

The President of NAFU in the Free State Province, Mr Nox Nonkonyana, the Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Prof Herman van Schalkwyk, the Chair of the Mangaung Municipal Portfolio for Agriculture and Rural Development, Councilor Thami Stander, and the Chairperson of the Free State Legislative Committee on Agriculture, Mr M Nketu, will address the Legislators during the occasion.

Prof Herman van Schalkwyk

Dean: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

University of the Free State, Bloemfontein

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
25 Oktober 2004

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