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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

Moving towards creating a more accessible UFS for mobility-impaired students
2015-07-21


Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support’s logo for persons with mobility impairments.
Design: Karoo Republic


Hi, my name is Jackson, and I am a wheelchair user following an accident that left me paralysed.

We often take for granted the ability to navigate obstacles, and to move readily from place to place. Few people have to worry about mobility on campus, but for students with mobility impairments, it presents many challenges that few of us are aware of.

 

The biggest struggle for students with mobility impairments is often encountered in the lecture room/hall. Once they arrive at the class (often struggling to get there on time), their next challenge might be entering the classroom and finding a suitable place where they can sit comfortably. As it is, there are only a few loose tables in most lecture halls. Consequently, the students have to sit through the lecture taking notes and working with their laptops resting on their laps. Obviously, this is uncomfortable and not conducive to their learning process.

 

When students have limited hand function, the result is that they write more slowly and with difficulty. However, the UFS does offer assistance from scribes, adapted computer hardware/software, assistive devices, and/or modified furniture. Such adaptations can be arranged by the Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS), which boasts an official test and examination venue where students with mobility impairments can proceed with their tests and exams if they prefer.

 

Students with Cerebral Palsy may experience difficulties with quick, sudden physical movements, and delayed processing of information. Stressful circumstances can result in their experiencing difficulty when having to write or process information quickly enough during test and examination situations. The Extra Time Panel, in collaboration with Student Counselling and Development, determines the time concession for those students with mobility impairments who have such needs.  

 

The importance of accessible parking spaces exclusively designated for wheelchair users not only involves such places being closer to a building entrance but also wide enough for a wheelchair user to get in and out of a vehicle safely.

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