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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

Standing in solidarity against suicide
2015-09-28


Students take collective action against the plight of suicide

Many students are battling depression, and have contemplated suicide. Some have lost the battle and, in turn, their lives. Suicide is a difficult topic to discuss and, even more challenging, to face its repercussions. The Leadership for Change (F1) 2014/2015 cohort took the initiative to change this through the TooSoon campaign.

A day after International Suicide Awareness Day, on Friday 11 September 2015, students marched in solidarity from Thakaneng Bridge to the Red Square on the University of the Free State’s Bloemfontein Campus.

The TooSoon team has forged links with the student community, Student Affairs, Student Counselling and Development, as well as the Health and Wellness offices to break the silence about the topic of suicide.

Every student has the potential to live a long and purposeful life. So, when someone ends his or her life, it is always too soon: this is the message the team is communicating. Awareness-raising was kick-started in August, with information sessions held at residences across the campus and the Bridge. The campus was plastered with posters offering emergency contact details for those in need of counselling, and culminated in the silent march.

At the end of the march, those who had already lost the battle were remembered through song and poetry. Students then pledged their support by painting their fingers with yellow paint and printing them on a canvas,,symbolising their solidarity in the fight against suicide.

 

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