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21 May 2019 | Story Igno van Niekerk | Photo Stephen Collett
Digital storytelling
Collaborating for the common good are from left: Willem Ellis, Karen Venter, Dr Deidre van Rooyen, Prof Hendri Kroukamp, Bishop Billyboy Ramahlele, and Dr Johan van Zyl.

Prof Hendri Kroukamp, Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences quoted the Cat Stevens song I can’t keep it in, to capture the excitement surrounding the opening of a Digital Storytelling Lab on the Bloemfontein Campus on 10 May 2019.

After months of hard work by Dr Deidre van Rooyen, Willem Ellis, Karen Venter, as well as the staff of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Centre for Development Support, the Common Good First lab was completed just in time for the launch attended by about 50 delegates from other South African universities, as well as private and public institutions.

Stories meet technology

In a message, from Prof Puleng LenkaBula, Vice-Rector: Institutional Change, Student Affairs, and Community Engagement, informed the audience that the launch heralded the joining of the old world of stories with the new world of digital technology. Julie Adair, Director of Digital Collaboration at Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, welcomed the UFS as a partner to this international social innovation collaborative project in a video message. 

Dr Van Rooyen, the project manager for the UFS, explained how she got involved in the Common Good First project, what the benefits of digital storytelling are, as well as what opportunities the lab creates for cooperation between role players involved in social innovation projects. 

Why the Common Good First lab?

The purpose of the lab is to create a digital network to identify, showcase and connect social innovation projects in South Africa to one another and to universities around the world for research, student engagement and learning and teaching. The lab has been fitted with state-of-the-art equipment for recording and digitising the stories that result from social innovation projects.

In a live Skype session with Dr Il-Haam Petersen, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), and some of the recent successes of the digital stories in Philippi in the Western Cape were shared.

Bishop Billyboy Ramahlele, UFS Director Community Engagement did the final honours by cutting the ribbon, declaring the lab open, and sharing the dream that the work done in this lab will contribute to positive relationships and cooperation between the university and the community, in making not only the university, but the country and the world a better place.


News Archive

Central SRC constitution for UFS approved by Council
2005-07-20

University of the Free State Fact Sheet

1. The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) on 10 June 2005 unanimously approved the establishment of a Central Student Representative Council (CSRC)  to constitute a legitimate basis for the democratic participation of students of all three of its campuses in the governance of the university.

2. In a major breakthrough and transformation step for student governance, the Central SRC will include representatives of the main campus in Bloemfontein, the Vista Bloemfontein campus and the Qwaqwa campus of the UFS.

3. The need to establish the Central SRC follows the incorporation of the Qwaqwa campus into the UFS in January 2003 and the incorporation of the Vista campus in Bloemfontein into the UFS in January 2004.

4. The constitution of the Central SRC is the outcome of a consensus reached during a lengthy process of negotiation between the SRCs of the three UFS campuses, indirectly involving diverse student formations such as Sasco, ANCYL, YCL, Pasma, SASO, SADESMO, AZASCO, SCO, HEREXVII, KovsieAlliance, ACDP, etc. Independent constitutional and political experts facilitated key parts of the negotiation process.

5. In this process, the UFS management went out of its way to ensure the participation of all student formations, especially Sasco and the ANC Youth League, as well as the duly elected SRC officials of the three campuses.

6. With the establishment of a Central SRC, the UFS has adopted a federal student governance model whereby the CSRC is the highest representative student body on matters of common concern for all students. The three campuses of the UFS will retain SRC structures for each campus with powers and responsibilities for matters affecting the particular campus.

7. The central SRC will have 12 members made up of delegates of the different campus SRCs, including the presidents of these three SRCs. In total, the main campus will have 5 representatives, the Qwaqwa campus will have 4 representatives and the Vista campus will have 3 representatives. This ratio ensures a strong voice for the smaller campuses in the central SRC.

8. This arrangement will be reviewed after a year to make allowance for the phasing out of undergraduate (pipeline) students at the Vista campus, as was agreed in the negotiations preceding the incorporation of that campus into the UFS.

9. From these 12 members a central SRC president will be chosen on a quarterly basis to represent the general student body at Executive Management, Senate and Council.

10. The historic official inauguration of the first Central SRC is scheduled to take place in early August 2005.

11. This event, like the adoption of a broadly negotiated new constitution for the main campus SRC, represents a  breakthrough in that all three campus SRCs delegations and all relevant student organizations have been part of the process and have accepted the outcome of the process.

20 July 2005

 

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