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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 Debate Society prepares for three major tournaments
2012-11-20

Preparing for the Berlin Championships are, from the left: Richard Chemaly, Zola Valashiya, Ros Limbo and Nkosi Mangali.
Photo: Linda Fekisi
20 November 2012

The UFS Debate Society will be taking on three major projects during the holidays. The month of December will be filled with activities for the team, with members taking trips to Grahamstown, Pretoria and Berlin, Germany to showcase their debating skills.

Their first project is a coaching session in collaboration with the Free State Schools Debating Board. The team will be coaching the provincial school teams and accompanying them to Grahamstown where they will compete in the National Schools Debating Championships in early December.

At around the same time, members will also attend the Pan African Universities Debating Championships that will be held in Pretoria. The PAN African Championship, which the team won in 2009, has expanded over the years and now also includes participants from Australia and the United States of America.
Towards the end of December, four members of the team will be heading to Berlin, Germany to compete in the World Universities Debating Championships. Ros Limbo, Nkosi Mangali, Richard Chemaly and Zola Valashiya will represent the university.

Zola, who is currently the chairperson of the debating society, has been part of the team since 2008. He describes being part of the teams as, “a growing experience. I have learnt a lot, especially how to be a critical thinker”. He was ranked among the top ten speakers in the English First Language division during the Kgorong 2012 National Universities Debating Championships earlier this year. Zola says the team’s goal is to gain as much experience as possible in order to offer training. They are looking at forming strong relations with various other debate societies across the country.
 

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