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03 April 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Vhugala Nthakheni
Uhuru Qwaqwa Arrival
The #UFSWalkToUhuru team arrives at the UFS Qwaqwa Campus on Friday 22 March.

The University of the Free State (UFS) Division of Student Affairs, in collaboration with the UFS Office for International Affairs, have joined hands to drive a fundraising and student-accessibility initiative dubbed, ‘The Walk to Uhuru’ (#UFSWalktoUhuru), which is aimed at raising funds and advocating for the educational rights of the less privileged. 

The project aims to raise funds in excess of R2 million from the public and stakeholders affiliated with the UFS (Kovsie staff and students). The project derives from the 2018/2019 UFS Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) mandate ‘Students Must Graduate’. The ISRC mandate aims to source funding opportunities for UFS students to register, and to complete their studies across all three campuses in 2020 and beyond.

The first leg of the project, a 350 km walk from the Bloemfontein to the Qwaqwa Campus, has already taken place and concluded on Friday, 22 March 2019 as planned. The #UFSWalkToUhuru team successfully completed the first leg of their journey to academic freedom for financially disadvantaged students at the UFS. The Uhuru team is now focusing its attention on the second leg and is determined to take on Mount Kilimanjaro (Uhuru) from 20 June to 20 July 2019.

The team sat down for a debriefing session to unpack the overall experience and result of the first half of the initiative, and they all agreed that the walk to Qwaqwa was an enlightening experience. It was a walk that comprised learning opportunities, team building, and goal crushing.

According to Rethabile Motseki, member of the #UFSWalkToUhuru team, the walk to Qwaqwa made a significant impact on the project, as the university community is now aware of the significant goals that the team is trying to accomplish. The team has also resumed their fitness-training programme to ensure that they are ready to take on the Uhuru climb in June.

A media briefing will take place shortly (date to be confirmed) to detail the ongoing fundraising initiatives rolled out by the #UFSWalkToUhuru team.  We implore you, and the nation as a whole, to help establish a better future for disadvantaged UFS students by donating to the initiative.

Students, staff, and the public can support the cause and make contributions/donations to the initiative by visiting the UFS Walk to Uhuru #givengain account page.

For more information, contact UFS SRC President, Sonwabile Dwaba, on DwabaSJ@ufs.ac.za  or Rethabile Motseki on MotsekiR@ufs.ac.za  

News Archive

Researcher at Qwaqwa Campus, Dr Aliza le Roux, selected as SAYAS member
2014-09-12

 

Dr Aliza le Roux

Dr Aliza le Roux, senior lecturer in the Department of Zoology and Entomology on the Qwaqwa Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS), was selected as a member of the 2014 South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS). Dr Le Roux, a member of the Vice-Chancellor's Prestige Scholars Programme at the UFS, is also a South African National Research Foundation-rated (NRF) scientist (Y2) and the winner of the UFS Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2013.

She sees her selection to SAYAS as a unique opportunity to help change the face of science in South Africa. Dr Le Roux hopes to use her skills as project leader in social media, as well as her own learning experiences on a rural campus, to inspire especially ecological research in a country so rich in its own natural heritage.

The SAYAS selection committee was impressed by the high level of academic merit and depth of the nominations they received. “Your membership is critical in contributing to many of the vital activities and functioning of SAYAS, and we look forward to your active contributions to the further development and growth of the Young Academy,” said Prof Aldo Stroebel, Chair: SAYAS Selection Committee.

Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research at the UFS, said, “Aliza le Roux is an outstanding young scientist on our Qwaqwa Campus. She is not only an outstanding researcher but has also received prizes during the past year for her dedication to teaching. I am very excited about the young researchers on our Qwaqwa Campus with Aliza as one of the leaders, and I am looking forward to what else they can achieve in the next five years.”

In the past decade, Dr Le Roux focused her research on the cognitive and communicative skills of wild mammals in South Africa and Ethiopia. She spent four years as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan, leading to ground-breaking research on the cognitive and communicative underpinnings of gelada monkey behaviour. Her current work encompasses an NRF-funded project on paternal care in bat-eared foxes, and experimental research on spatial cognition in wild samango monkeys. She is also involved in discussions with the Endangered Wildlife Trust to research the mitigation of road-kill incidents in South Africa.

Dr Le Roux hopes to combine cognitive ecology with more applied conservation questions in order to raise the profile of behavioural ecology as a discipline. She believes strongly in involving the public with scientific research, and has blogged for Nature Magazine on her adventures as field biologist. Her work has since found its way into numerous websites, magazine and newspaper articles and she has been interviewed on radio and BBC World.

Dr Le Roux will be inaugurated as SAYAS member on 14 October 2014.

Dr Marieka Gryzenhout from the Department of Plant Sciences is also a member of SAYAS.


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