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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 to implement a policy on HIV and Aids
2005-03-14

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) approved the implementation of a policy on HIV and AIDS.

“With this policy we recognise the seriousness of the HIV and AIDS epidemic and the potential impact this disease can have on both the UFS and the wider society.  We are committed to addressing HIV and AIDS in a positive, supportive and non-discriminatory approach by providing resources and leadership to implement HIV and AIDS university-based, as well as community outreach programmes,” said Dr Ezekiel Moraka, Vice-Rector:  Student Services at the UFS.

The objectives of the policy include:

  • The protection of individual rights of confidentiality and freedom from discrimination.

  • The promotion of a sustained educational programme that provides counseling and current accurate information to the University community and to the outside community.

  • The promotion of behaviors that reduce or minimise the risk of acquiring HIV infection and generally create a safe environment.

  • The provision of leadership in teaching, research and community service on HIV and AIDS and its impact.

  • The provision of leadership in promoting the human rights based approach to HIV and AIDS, and thereby also breaking down the stigma attached to the illness.

“The policy also makes provision for the establishment of a Centre for HIV and AIDS within Kovsie Health.  This centre will render HIV and AIDS related support services and initiatives to the whole campus,” said Dr Moraka.

According to Dr Petro Basson, head of the Centre for HIV and AIDS at the UFS, there is less than 1% incidence of HIV positive cases amongst undergraduate students on the main and Vista campuses.  All these students take part in a voluntary confidential counseling and testing programme (VCCT).  In the case of postgraduate students, there is about 1% incidence on both campuses.

“The Centre for HIV and AIDS has led in the development of information campaigns and workshops for students and staff to make them aware of the risks of HIV and AIDS and the necessary measures to ensure their safety.  We have found that, because students have access to the right information, they are more cautious when it comes to HIV and AIDS.  Awareness campaigns are also conducted throughout the year – especially during rag and intervarsity,” said Dr Basson.

“Some departments have also taken the lead in introducing aspects of HIV and AIDS into academic programmes while important research on the HIV and AIDS topic has already been completed and receives continuous attention,” said Dr Basson.

To achieve a coordinated approach, a Life Skills Forum will be established consisting of representatives of among others the Student Representative Council (SRC), academic departments, trade unions, Kovsie Counseling and Development, etc.

“With this policy the UFS pledges its commitment to participate actively in the fight against the disease,” said Dr Moraka.

Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
14 March 2005

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