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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 Debate Society prepares for three major tournaments
2012-11-20

Preparing for the Berlin Championships are, from the left: Richard Chemaly, Zola Valashiya, Ros Limbo and Nkosi Mangali.
Photo: Linda Fekisi
20 November 2012

The UFS Debate Society will be taking on three major projects during the holidays. The month of December will be filled with activities for the team, with members taking trips to Grahamstown, Pretoria and Berlin, Germany to showcase their debating skills.

Their first project is a coaching session in collaboration with the Free State Schools Debating Board. The team will be coaching the provincial school teams and accompanying them to Grahamstown where they will compete in the National Schools Debating Championships in early December.

At around the same time, members will also attend the Pan African Universities Debating Championships that will be held in Pretoria. The PAN African Championship, which the team won in 2009, has expanded over the years and now also includes participants from Australia and the United States of America.
Towards the end of December, four members of the team will be heading to Berlin, Germany to compete in the World Universities Debating Championships. Ros Limbo, Nkosi Mangali, Richard Chemaly and Zola Valashiya will represent the university.

Zola, who is currently the chairperson of the debating society, has been part of the team since 2008. He describes being part of the teams as, “a growing experience. I have learnt a lot, especially how to be a critical thinker”. He was ranked among the top ten speakers in the English First Language division during the Kgorong 2012 National Universities Debating Championships earlier this year. Zola says the team’s goal is to gain as much experience as possible in order to offer training. They are looking at forming strong relations with various other debate societies across the country.
 

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