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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

Famelab, the Pop Idols of science communication
2017-03-09

Description: Famelab Tags: UFS, CUT, Science, Competition, research, British Council, Famelab, NRF

Oluwasegun Kuloyo and Zanele Matsane proved to be
Bloemfontein’s young and wittiest science researchers.
They will represent the Free State at the Famelab
national semifinals in Johannesburg.
Photo: Oteng Mpete

Imagine sharks with laser beams attached to their heads and enzymes that wear coats, and yeasts that stage a coup d’état in your body when agitated. This was all explored at the FameLab Science Communication Competition. 

Hosting the FameLab regional competition was a collaborative effort between Dr Mikateko Hoppener, from the University of the Free State’s (UFS), the Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development (CRHED), and Edith Sempe from the Central University of Technology (CUT), Research and Development Unit. Taking place for the first time in the Free State, the event was held at the UFS Centenary Complex on 2 March 2017.

Witty minds make science fun

FameLab is a competition that promotes science and technology by creating a space for scientists to find their voices and reach public audiences. The Free State regional competition had 18 contestants and two emerged victorious on the day. Contestants had to ensure their three-minute talks were fun, charismatic, clear and entertaining.

The two regional winners were Oluwasegun Kuloyo, a PhD student with the department of Microbial Biochemical and Food Biotechnology at UFS, and Zanele Matsane, a Construction Management PhD student at CUT. 

Kuloyo's research deals with the management of the candida yeast which exists in most people’s bodies and which, with a healthy immune system can be kept under control, but when an immune system is compromised, the yeast reacts volatilely and can potentially lead to death in HIV/AIDS patients. 

Matsane’s research is centred on collaborative construction management inspired by the Toyota manufacturing process. She hopes to resolve the silos of construction and bring about a more harmonious and fluid process to construction projects, thus ensuring their successful completion. 

The panel of judges consisted of Oteng Mpete UFS Media Liaison Officer, Dr Elizabeth Conradie from the CUT Innovation Hub, and Prof Willie du Preez from the CUT Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing, as well as Robert Inglis from JiveMedia Africa.

Local scientists become jet-setters 
The two regional winners will head to Johannesburg to compete at the FameLab national semifinals, and the South African winner will go on to compete against winners from over 30 countries on an international stage, at the Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK.

FameLab is a programme of the Cheltenham Science Festival and is implemented locally by the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), the British Council, and JiveMedia Africa. The competition has been running in South Africa for the past five years.

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