An extraordinary semester officially began on November 19, when over one hundred new students admitted for Fall 2020, took the American University of Nigeria (AUN) Community Pledge.
This is the first time the University is hosting the ceremony in November. Just one of the many ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has affected a new norm in AUN.
President Dekle’s theme for this orientation season was friendship. As such, she encouraged new students to develop a sense of camaraderie with people of diverse backgrounds. She shared her reflections about how to sustain worthy friendships as a vital component for a successful life.
“The best kind of friendship occurs when you feel comfortable being vulnerable, and you grow as a person from the experience. When the space between you and another person becomes sacred, full of trust, and you can reveal your fears, anxieties, dreams, and deepest desires, without fear of criticism or rejection- this is the magic.”
The mystic of true friendship Dr. Dekle said is in its non-transactional nature, it leaves you energized, alive and happy for the time spent together. She encouraged new students to think about the kind of friend they want to be, and the quality of friendships they want to have. Saying, “AUN is a blank canvas for you, and you can use this canvas as an opportunity to develop real friendships, based on trust, give you energy, that is not transactional, and will last a lifetime.”
Building upon the president’s tips for success, the Vice President for Academic Affairs/ Provost, Professor Attahir Yusuf, highlighted the ways in which students can make the most of their time on campus.
He believes that AUN will transform students over the course of their stay. This transformation he said, does not come from being idle but in making the most of university resources. From the use of the award-winning, digital library, the various computer labs, reading rooms, social clubs and events, Student Government Association, advising offices, and career management offices.
“As you settle down to business, you are enjoined to take advantage of the enormous resources we have assembled to assist you in developing you intellectually and socially.”
The transformation also comes from mentorship by the diverse faculty at AUN.
“Get to know them very well by talking to them after class, visiting them during office hours, attending conferences and seminars, approaching them in university events, challenge them on current affairs, let them know of your ideas and dreams.”
“They will be happy to listen to you attentively, and will challenge guide, and open doors of new opportunities and possibilities for you.”
Indeed, AUN trains students to be self-reliant. The Provost emphasized this unique pedagogy. “AUN’s education is pragmatic. This is deliberately planned so that you do not have to depend on others in life. You should be in a position to create value for yourselves and by extension our host community and the nation as a whole.” Professor Yusuf said.
True to the university’s inclusive and representative model of engagement, the President of the Student Government Association (SGA) Taslim Oladoja, also addressed guests at the Pledge Ceremony. The final year law major regaled with snippets for success at AUN, emphasizing hard work and dedication.
“As students, we are also given the priceless opportunity to gear ourselves up for the world beyond these walls. The only way is to take opportunities as they come knocking on your door… opportunities never run out at AUN.”
He spoke extensively about the many opportunities for leadership development at the University. “You can be selected to go on a study exchange program in Universities outside Nigeria. You will get to take on regional and international competitions such as the Hult Prize, AUN Students’ P2P Facebook Challenge, be a part of the SGA and many clubs and societies … among others. Please open your doors to these opportunities when they come knocking.”
“At the American University of Nigeria, we get the best of both worlds …I implore you to become members of more than one or two of these clubs, so as not to miss out on the goodies.”
The highlight of the Pledge Ceremony was the debut of the new classes. New Students were decorated with class sashes after undertaking the AUN pledge. The President, Provost, Registrar, academic deans, and university librarian offered congratulatory handshakes as the students walked down the stage. A photograph session at the Arts &Sciences building marked the end of the grand ceremony
Reported by Omorogbe Omorogiuwa