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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 adopts advanced institutional approach to disability, launches CUADS
2015-07-14

Lize Botha, Louzanne Coetzee and her guide-dog Oakley, and David Nkwenkwezi.

Photo: Eye Poetry Photograpy

The approach to support for students with disabilities at South African universities has remained largely one-dimensional, focusing on the support and accommodation of individual students. Implementing the Universal Access (UA) and Universal Design (UD) approach has aligned the University of the Free State (UFS) with international standards. Such an approach addresses challenges arising as a result of the interaction between functional limitations and the social, attitudinal and physical environment of students with disabilities. The Unit for Students with Disabilities (USD) has evolved into the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) in support of the social model of disability. 

Hetsie Veitch, Head of CUADS and her team, have dedicated the past four years to the center’s physical revamping and systematic reconstruction to be officially launched in an Open Day event on the Bloemfontein Campus.


Details of the event:

Date: Friday 24 July 2015
Time:10:00-16:00
Venue: CUADS and Sasol Library foyer
Members of the public are welcome to attend.

Exploring the dimensions of UA and UD


UA and UD facilitate holistic support for students with visual, mobility, hearing, learning, and other impairments. With the former providing a paradigm shift in disability management and support, the latter warrants the formation of a universally accessible environment.

According to Veitch, the focus moves away from the person with the disability, someone who ‘needs to be helped’, to the environment in which that person needs to function.

Since the center was founded in 2001, structural and systematic developments have occurred in order to create a welcoming and accessible learning environment that grants students opportunities to be successful in their academic endeavours.

UA endorses the UFS Mission Statement of human togetherness, advancing social justice by creating multiple opportunities for students to access the university, and promoting innovation, distinctiveness, and leadership in both academic and human pursuits.The UFS is committed to be a welcoming, accessible, and inclusive learning institution, an environment where optimal learning for a diverse student community thrives.

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