University’s First Engineering Guild President Promotes Science, Math and Technology
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2018/11/universitys-first-engineering-guild-president-promotes-science-math-and-technology/
BY DOUGLAS OLUM
Following a hectic week of speeches, music, riding in poster-plastered cars and on the shoulders of guys wearing his picture on their T-shirts, Uganda Christian University engineering student Bruce Mugisha Amanya emerged as the Main (Mukono) campus 2018-2019 Guild President.
Amanya’s 1,000 supporting votes edged him ahead of two rivals, making history as he became the first engineering student to obtain the student body leadership spot in the university’s 21-year existence. Amanya, in his third year pursuing a Bachelor of Civil and Environmental Engineering degree, isonly the second guild president from the university’s Faculty of Science and Technology. An Information Technology student was chosen in 2005.
The day after his late-night Nov. 2 victory, Amanya reflected on his background, his reason for running and his goals for the next year. Among questions during the campaign was how an engineering-type person – someone known for inventing and innovating – would manage leadership.
“The fact that I am a scientist, very many people, which is quite unfortunate, do not see me as a leader,” he said. “They think I can probably play better with mathematics and numbers, than with dialogue and advocacy. But it is very difficult for an engineer to succeed if he is not a leader. We experience leadership directly in the field – managing people, time, equipment or money.”
According to Amanya, engineers have resource management and problem-solving skills. He referred to building structures such as roads and bridges as work where engineers are “co-creators with God.”
While representing all students, Amanya plans to further disprove the common misconception that scientists could not make good leaders by helping to market science courses and build a wider and more engaged Science and Technology alumni base. He wants to make the public aware that UCU is more than the “law school.”
“I had my internship at the Parliament of Uganda,” he recalled. “The very day I reported, I met the Sergeant at Arms and he asked me: What is your name? I told him my name. He asked where I was from. I told him UCU. Immediately he asked me, ‘Are you a law student?’” When Amanya clarified that he was enrolled in civil engineering, the official was surprised that such a program existed.
“Those questions triggered something in me,” he said. “We are right in the city centre but people do not know that we offer engineering courses. I want to resolve that through my leadership.”
Over the next 12 months, Amanya said he plans to lobby for more funding towards science students’ projects from the university, advocate for incorporation of some essential courses not yet being taught by the faculty, ensure that specialist supervisors are brought on board to guide students’ innovative projects, set up an innovation week, cut guild expenditures on trips to support students and form a students tribunal comprised of class representatives to scrutinize guild budget and ensure total accountability and transparency.
“We need to market ourselves. But we cannot market ourselves when we don’t graduate our students. Last year, almost half the total number of finalist students of engineering did not graduate because they did not have anyone to supervise their final-year projects,” Amanya noted.
“I want to see our alumni take on projects within the university as a way of giving back. The university needs to prioritize them after graduating them. That is how we can also advertise them, using what they have done,” Amanya said.
Sitting at a table and near an older brother, Ayesigye Brian Mugisha (he arrived to congratulate), the new guild president concluded with a story of a young man selling mangoes. The story is about a youth advertising his product by shouting.
“People were not buying until he reached an old woman,” Amanya said. “She told him that people are not buying your mangoes because you are not giving them the reason to buy. Sit down, pick a mango, cut and begin eating. People will come and ask you how sweet the mangoes are, then you will ask them: Do you want one? Bring money, and they will buy. That way, the boy managed to sell all his mangoes.”
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