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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

Community engagement must be a core function of universities
2009-05-21

 
 Members of the NatCEMF Steering Committee are, from the left: Mr Jerome Slamat, Senior Director: Community Interaction, Stellenbosch University, Ms Beatrix Bouwman, Manager: Community Engagement, North-West University, Rev Kiepie Jaftha, Chief Director: Community Service, UFS and chairperson of the committee, Prof. Allan Femi Lana, Director: Institute for Rural Development and Community Engagement, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Prof. Seth Pollack, Fulbright Scholar, University of Western Cape (guest speaker at the meeting), Prof. Denver Hendricks, Director: Community Engagement, University of Pretoria, and Prof. Priscilla Daniels, Chairperson: Human Ecology and Research and CHESP Research Coordinator, University of the Western Cape.
Photo: Lacea Loader
 It is important that all tertiary institutions in South Africa should work together and commit themselves to advance the cause of community engagement in the country.

This was one of the main outcomes of the second meeting held by the National Community Engagement Manager’s Forum (NatCEMF) at the South Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein recently. The meeting was attended by 34 representatives of 16 higher education institutions in the country.

“I am astounded at the interest in this matter. The representatives are committed to make community engagement a core function of their institutions and we all agreed that we should get more involved in expanding this across all institutions. A need for a formal structure for us all to work together and have a more collective voice was also identified,” said Rev Kiepie Jaftha, Chief Director: Community Service at the UFS and Chairperson of the NatCEMF Steering Committee.

“There is a growing need to expand and develop our engagement with communities – to share our experiences and best practices and to learn from each other. There are universities that are doing excellent work in this field and, by having a formal structure, we can do a lot more towards advancing community engagement,” said Rev Jaftha.

The meeting identified matters such as the coordination of higher education institutions’ involvement in community engagement, the facilitation of research about community engagement, promoting service learning as transformation, the establishment of a community engagement resource centre and the organisation of a national community engagement conference as some of its aims. A national steering committee was also elected.

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