On April 23, 2020, President Dekle led senior AUN management in the distribution of food items to most vulnerable staff. The initiative was to help these staff endure the effect of the Coronavirus lockdown in Adamawa State.
Having taken a leadership role in motivating the University Community with words of encouragement and useful information about the nature of Covid-19, the President went one important step further to rally humanitarian support from within for lower income staff . This is a gesture consistent with the University's core philosophy of community development. By reaching out to the local community, AUN is matching words with action. President Dekle took charge in distributing bags of rice to 218 beneficiaries who fall under the sharing criteria – cleaners, gardeners, and several security men and women.
The President had set up a five-member 'Team Generosity' on April 14, which she charged with coordinating the fundraising, procurement, and distribution of the relief items, for affected staff, whom she offered kind words as they took away their package.
"They work the hardest for us. These are the ones on the frontlines for us, making our lives easier here… We wanted to make sure that they know how much we value them."
A fundraiser tagged "the Rice Challenge" was organized online where members of the University community were encouraged to contribute whatever they could to raise money for the most vulnerable employee to get a bag each of good quality rice.
"Our learning community realized that our most vulnerable colleagues, the ones that make the least salaries, are suffering the most during this period," said President Dekle, as she explained the rationale behind the exercise.
She cited the recent price hikes in the local markets "because of the CONVID-19 making it very difficult for our most vulnerable employees to put food on the tables for the families."
But AUN values generosity.
"We have come together as a development university as a development minded community to put together a fundraising campaign so we can bring money and colleagues together."
Vice President of Finance & Administration, Olanipekun Olanrewaju, explained that the purchase of the rice was a voluntary gesture of willing AUN staff, expatriate and Nigerian, thanking the donors for answering the call.
Vice President for University Relations, Dr. Abba Tahir, said the gesture connects strongly with the vision and philosophy of the University which has always focused on community engagement and service-learning.
Throwing more light on the exercise which took place in the North Campus, VP Tahir explained that it was not the first time that AUN was showing its humanitarian side. He cited the peak of the Boko Haram insurgency when the University rallied massively to support thousands of Internally Displaced Persons who trooped from Northern Adamawa for shelter in Yola/Jimeta. During those difficult times, the University did not neglect its own staff, and distributed food items and relief materials to those staff harboring IDPs in their homes while opening its classrooms and laboratories to admit students of the Adamawa State University, Mubi, to complete their studies after their campus was attacked by the insurgents.
"This is just the AUN spirit at work", said Dr. Tahir
Reported by Omorogbe Omorogiuwa