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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

Sought-after fellowship for Deaf Kovsie academic
2012-04-25

 

Magteld Smith
Photo: Provided
25 April 2012

For a Deaf person to achieve academic excellence in a sound-dominated world is extremely challenging, but Ms Magteld Smith sees each challenge as another opportunity.

Ms Smith, a Medical Social Researcher at the University of the Free State (UFS), recently received the Herbert H Humphrey fellowship. She is one of only two South Africans to receive this fellowship.
 
The Humphrey Fellowship Program provides mid-career professionals from designated countries around the world with an opportunity to enhance their professional capabilities through participation and is developed specifically for small clusters of Humphrey Fellows at 18 selected US universities.
 
It was initiated in 1978 to honour the memory and accomplishments of the former Senator and Vice-President, Humbert H. Humphrey. Fellows are selected based on their potential for national leadership and commitment to public service, in either the public or private sector. The programme provides a basis for establishing long-lasting productive partnerships and relationships between citizens of the United States and their professional counterparts in other countries, fostering an exchange of knowledge and mutual understanding throughout the world.
 
Ms Smith applied for this fellowship, but was still very surprised when she heard her application was successful.
 
“Upon receiving the news, in my mind I saw an enormous rotating world globe and I asked my Heavenly Father, "What is happening now?" I saw big libraries with books, laboratories, state of the art technology for people with hearing impairments, big cars, big houses, big trucks, big farmers, big women and the White House with big trouble. Furthermore, I saw how the UFS became the world leader of academic excellence and change for people with disabilities with high technology manufacturing and rehabilitation programmes.”
 
Ms Smith says Prof. Jonathan Jansen, UFS Vice-Chancellor and Rector, is a great asset, because for the first time people with disabilities are high on the priority list.

 

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