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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

Breakfast in aid of hungry students
2011-06-01

Our university again proved that it cares for the welbeing of its students when a sum of money was presented to the No Student Hungry Project during a breakfast function.

The Centre for Health and Wellness at the UFS organised the event, not only to introduce the scheme to staff and individuals and thank those concerned for their contributions, but also to present the project organisers with a donation of R50 000. Mrs Grace Jansen, wife of Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector and Dr Carin Buys, wife of Mr Rudi Buys, Student Dean, started the project this year after a study found that 20% of students at the UFS have to study on an empty stomach and that this often leads to students leaving the UFS prematurely.

Ms Tanja Malherbe, mistress of ceremonies, said that the project is blessed because it developed from the founder members’ love for the students. The project currently provides 6 000 deserving students with a meal per day.

Prof. Jansen said that although the university encourage academic success, the UFS is also ready to show its mettle on a humanitarian level. “We don’t want students to only study together, but also to eat together.” He added that food can promote a feeling of fellowship, gives comfort and is also a symbol for caring. “It is bad to be hungry, no matter what the colour of your skin. Especially when other people have food and you don’t.”He concluded by saying that we are blessed by giving to other people, and by giving, we also receive.

Ms Tarryn Nell, also from the centre, supported him by comparing caring to candlelight. “It drives the darkness away, involves compassion and gives direction. When two people can get things to change, the rest will follow.” She encouraged the audience to share their warmth, time, knowledge and resources with other people.

During the event, a picture summary also referred to two recent projects the centre hosted. The first was a free medical screening test for staff members and the second a temporary remembrance rose garden, representing the five main causes of deaths in the country. These causes are HIV, ischemic heart disease, stroke, tuberculosis and interpersonal violence.

The proceeds from Prof. Jansen’s book “We need to talk,” will be donated to the project. Persons wishing to make a contribution, can make a payment to the following account: ABSA 157085 0071, reference number 146 674 604, account number 0198, branch code 632 005. Deposit slips can be sent to pelserr@ufs.ac.za. 

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