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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

Study on school violence shows the secondary school environment compels learners to be armed
2015-01-26

The secondary school environment apparently compels learners to come to school armed. This is according to a study done by Dr Lynette Jacobs, a lecturer at the School of Education Studies at the University of the Free State.

In her study, Dr Jacobs found that learners from more affluent schools carry noticeably more weapons than learners in less affluent schools. Learners in the lower grades of secondary schools also use and carry more weapons than learners in the higher grades.

Dr Jacobs says while many reasons for school violence can be noted, such as to forcibly take the victims money and food, racial differences, religious differences, as well as the immigrant status of one of the parties involved, these were reasons indicated by less than 10% of the participants in the study.

“There is no single explanation for the threat of violence at schools and most acts of school violence appear to happen randomly, often out of instant retaliation.”

For the study, Dr Jacobs did surveys at schools across three provinces in South Africa.

“Although it varies in levels of seriousness, incidences of physical violence and verbal cruelty consistently occur at South Africans schools. I found that learners are furthermore regularly mocked, insulted, cursed and humiliated by peers.”

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