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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

Alumnus presents 27th Sophia Gray Memorial Lecture
2015-09-07

 
Anton Roodt
Photo: iFlair

In a packed Civic Theatre in Bloemfontein, Anton Roodt, an alumnus from the UFS Department of Architecture, presented the 27th Sophia Gray Memorial Lecture.
 
Roodt received numerous awards for his work during his career. He also completed three masters degrees at the UFS, all of them cum laude.

The theme for his lecture was: Big dreams in a small city. Places of memory¦Spaces of imagination.
 
In his presentation, he focused mainly on President Brand Street, one of the most beautiful streets in South Africa – a gem waiting to be rediscovered, as well as Waaihoek, where many projects are planned for the future.
 
During his career, Roodt has been involved in various projects in these areas, including the Fourth Raadsaal, for which he received a FSIA Award in 2011. The Mapikela House in Batho is another project he was involved in.
 
He believes universities are small cities with a good deal of ambition. A number of infrastructure projects on the campuses of the UFS were designed by Roodt Architects. On the Bloemfontein Campus, this includes the Student Centre on the Thakaneng Bridge, the Main Gate, the Financial Planning Law Building, and the Computer Centre, as well work done on the Albert Wessels Auditorium. They also designed the dining room and the Main Entrance on the Qwaqwa Campus.
 
Roodt was introduced to the audience by the familiar singer and his university friend, Coenie de Villiers, with the question: “Why architecture?” He replied: “It is one of the best professions to take you to places most people will never be able to visit – sometimes literally to the feet of kings.”
 
Roodt believes that architects are sellers of dreams. “Dreams are the purest form of imagination. Architects dream of places as if people matter,” he said.
 
The Women in Architecture initiative was also launched by the South African Council for the Architectural Profession at the event. Of more than 8 800 professional architects, only 21% are women.

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