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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

Digital Storytelling empowers and liberates students
2014-10-17

In January 2014, Jode Brexa, an American Fulbright scholar, came to our university and moved into the guest room at Welwitschia residence.

It so happened that Brexa and Elize Rall, residence head of Welwitschia – better known as Wel-Wel – started talking about digital storytelling. Brexa’s Digital Storytelling project captured Rall’s imagination. Shortly thereafter, Brexa convinced the RC members of Wel-Wel to participate in the project.

Digital storytelling is, on the most basic level, the use of computer-based resources to tell stories. The idea is to combine the art of storytelling with multimedia – including graphics, photos, text, audio, image and/or music.

The Wel-Wel students were taught storytelling skills and each student’s unique story was recorded and edited. It was so successful that they then showed their stories to the Rector and Dean of Students. Brexa will now – with their permission – take their stories to America with her, where she will share it with her community.

During the weekend of 10–12 October 2014, the RC of Wel-Wel introduced 12 learners, who are currently in Grade 10 at the Christiaan Liphoko School, to the project. The learners stayed in the gazellie for the weekend and, in the course of a few days, learned how much power is locked up in their personal stories. They learned that everyone’s story has the power to inspire and empower.

Wel-Wel has been involved in various outreach projects to the community. However, this was the first time that Wel-Wel literally brought the community to their doorstep. This is also not a charitable project. It is uplifted students reaching out to the youth to empower them in order to empower others in turn.

Meanwhile, Brexa also linked the project to the university’s Schools Partnership Project. The programme works through mentorship programmes to uplift previously disadvantaged schools. Hands were also taken with Columba Leadership NGO – financed by Old Mutual.

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