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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

Professor triumphs at Water Research Commission (WRC) Symposium
2013-12-13

 
Prof Leon van Rensburg

The university’s advancement of research excellence recently found further embodiment in Prof Leon van Rensburg from the Department of Soil- and Crop- and Climate Sciences. His expertise in the water sector resulted in award-winning research.

Prof Van Rensburg received the award for Sustainable Development Solutions 2013 at the Water Research Commission (WRC) Symposium held at the CSIR in Pretoria. The symposium acknowledged local scientific solutions that have had a global impact. Prof Van Rensburg was recognised for his outstanding research guiding the management of salinity under irrigation at farm level in South Africa – ensuring food production. The paper that earned him this honour is entitled “Rainwater harvesting and conservation practices: challenges and opportunities for sustainable land and water use of ‘The Green Village’ in arid to semi-arid climate zones.”

The awards were linked to the WRC’s newly-adopted corporate planning tool named the ‘Knowledge Tree’, guiding the commission’s operations. The ‘Knowledge Tree’ functions as a yardstick with which the WRC measures its impact in essential areas. The presentation of these accolades underscored the importance of water science and water technology in improving the daily reality of people at grassroots level.

Prof Van Rensburg’s research goal is to enhance the efficiency of water usage of crop production systems in both the dryland and irrigation sectors. Part of his latest achievements include being editor for a special edition of the Irrigation and Drainage Journal (2012; vol 61) on rainwater harvesting.

Prof Chris du Preez, co-author of the winning paper, is an expert on soil quality, especially organic matter. He serves as the Head of the Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences and has also acted as President of the Soil Science Society of South Africa. His current research focuses on agricultural land use and soil organic matter changes, soil fertility and fertilisation, and agriculture water quality and usage.

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