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12 September 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Arbor tree plant
To celebrate National Arbor Week the University of the Free State has embarked on a drive to plant 150 trees during the month of September

If you’ve wondered whether Arbor Month was important, you only have to look at the destruction and long-term damage that deforestation causes to the environment and the world’s inhabitants. To observe National Arbor Month, the University of the Free State’s has (UFS) kick-started a drive to plant 150 trees during the month of September.

To launch this initiative, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, alongside members of the rectorate, assisted the University Estates team in planting the first 10 of 100 trees at the Bloemfontein Campus on Wednesday 4 September 2019. A total of 50 trees will be planted on the Qwaqwa Campus.

Towards a sustainable future

“We have gone through periods of drought in the Free State that have severely impacted not only the plants but the trees on our campuses. The idea is to emphasise sustainability, and as a university, we believe that sustainability is important. As an education institution, we have to look at the generations that are still to come to our campuses,” said Prof Petersen.

He urged the Kovsie community to ensure that all practices across the campuses are linked to global standards of sustainability. “As we develop over the next couple of months and years, we will get much closer alignment between what we are doing as a university and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Drought-resistant man-made forests

Clusters of mini forests across the campuses will be created with a variety of trees including the karee, white karee, white stinkwood, and wild olive. These indigenous trees can adapt well to different soils including those that are poorly drained.

Celebrating Arbor Week

This year’s campaign was held under the theme Forests and Sustainable Cities. As part of the celebration, University Estates made a commitment to the environment by embarking on the green initiative which includes other project such as the upgrade of Red Square on the Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

UFS takes the lead in solar heating in the Free State
2010-06-03

In the “engine room” of the solar heating system of the Vergeet-my-nie Residence with the big hot water tanks in the background. From the left are Mr Anton Calitz, Electrical Engineer of the UFS, and Mr Nico Janse van Renburg, Manager: Physical Planning at the UFS.
Photo: Leatitia Pienaar


The University of the Free State (UFS) took a further step in reducing its carbon footprint and its dependency on coal fired electricity with the installation of a solar heating system at one of its residences. The contractor handed the system over to the UFS on Wednesday, 2 June 2010.

The system installed at the Vergeet-my-nie Residence is the first commercial solar water heating project in both Bloemfontein and at the UFS. It is estimated that it will provide in 70% of the residence’s energy needs and save approximately R101 000 per annum in electricity cost. The project was completed at a cost of R2,4 million.

More residences at the UFS will be refurbished with solar systems as the existing heating systems in the rest of the twenty residences are due for replacement.

The energy crisis of 2008, and the challenges and necessity to reduce the use of electricity, sparked the initiative around the installation of solar heating systems at the UFS. The UFS is the second largest energy user in Bloemfontein.

Mr Nico Janse van Rensburg, Manager: Physical Planning at the UFS, says the management of the UFS saw an opportunity in the crisis and pro-actively embarked to become a market leader. Solar heating would not only alleviate the electricity problem of South Africa, but will impact the ever increasing electricity bill of the UFS.

“Protecting the environment and being on the cutting edge of technology are core issues to the UFS,” says Janse van Rensburg. “We are an educational institution and take pride in practicing what we preach.”

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication (acting)
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@ufs.ac.za  
3 June 2010
 

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