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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

Regional winner designing her way to Architectural Student of the Year Award
2016-03-09

Description: Corobrik award Tags: Corobrik award

Musa Shangase, Corobrik Commercial and Marketing Director, and Nilene van Niekerk.

For 29 years, Corobrik has been celebrating the most outstanding architectural talent in South Africa. This year, Nilene van Niekerk – a master’s graduate of the University of the Free State (UFS) Department of Architecture – features as one of the regional winners.

Deciding on a dissertation topic, Nilene contemplated how she could use architecture as a tool to address a non-architectural contemporary problem specific to post-apartheid democratic South Africa. Her answer was born from her passion for freedom of speech. “Freedom of speech and the intimidation of journalists by the controversial Secrecy Bill were at the forefront these past few years,” Nilene says. “Although freedom of expression are generally protected practices in South Africa’s constitution, the persistent role of the government to protect state information is a substantial threat to citizens’ constitutional right of freedom of expression.”

This resulted in Nilene’s dissertation topic, Freedom of Expression Forum. This architectural concept envision a building, in the vicinity of Constitutional Hill, that symbolises protest against the Secrecy Bill. The building will provide “protection to journalists and become a pivotal point where classified information can be sent and archived. It will also establish a public space that encourages communication – all in the name of fostering the right of freedom of expression within this human rights precinct,” Nilene says.

Nilene will now go on to compete for the national title at the Corobrik Student Architect of the Year Awards in Johannesburg in May 2016.

“The project also rethinks the idea of sustainability as it focuses on how to contribute to a sustainable political future in South Africa. I believe that we as architects, especially in a third world country, should think beyond the normative boundaries of sustainability,” Nilene says.

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