UCU student dinners offer networking platforms
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2023/07/ucu-student-dinners-offer-networking-platforms/
By Pauline Luba
“People are lonely because they build walls, instead of bridges.” That timeless quote, by Joseph Fort Newton, an American 20th Century priest and author, is relevant today and fitting to social and networking opportunities at universities.
For university students, including at Uganda Christian University (UCU), dinners among students, faculty and professionals are among the ways of building these bridges to support and not interfere with studies. Of the 11 faculties/schools, one third usually have such dinners.
In July last year, after a four-month preparation, the UCU community, majority from the School of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMC), alumni and invited guests descended on Silver Springs Hotel, Bugolobi in Kampala, for their annual media dinner.
Held under the theme “Media Ethics under Attack,” the dinner hosted students, UCU alumni, and media and public relations practitioners.
At the dinner, Ugandan veteran journalist, John Kakande, advised the students that to earn respect, journalists should be able to produce “believable, accurate and impactful stories.” It is such stories, Kakande argued, that will influence policy and bring the desired positive change in society.
From a meal and networking to live jazz music and speeches, most of which were by renowned media professionals who painted for the students a picture of the kind of journalist today’s job market needs, the evening’s activities gave the students value for their time and money – at just sh100,000 (about $27) that they paid for the dinner.
“We were blessed to have a very talented team,” one of the organizers, Elsie Tukahirwa, said when asked how they managed to pull off the event. “Many students offered services, such as photography and decorations, at a subsidized fee.”
And several other faculties, too, hold annual dinners. The UCU School of Law, for example, also held its dinner last year, at an event where students used the opportunity to socialize. At the event, the student leaders of the UCU Law Society, an umbrella association of law students, were recognised. And this year is not any different. Students from both schools are again organizing their annual dinners.
Tukahirwa said it is the duty of the students to “push for their dinners to take place.” She adds that sometimes some students do not wish to have one, because of the level of commitment and engagement required to organize it.
This year, the UCU School of Business will host its dinner on July 22, at Silver Springs Hotel, Bugolobi. At the dinner, according to the organizers, there will be recognition of outgoing student leaders and introduction of new ones.
Sidney Mugenyi, a third-year student pursuing Bachelors in Procurement and Logistics Management, and is one of the organizers of the July dinner, said they have faced challenges of funds and marketing of the event to the students.
“In spite of the challenges, this dinner is important because it will provide a platform for the students to get entrepreneurship advice from sector players,” Mugenyi explained.
John Semakula, the Head of the Undergraduate Department at the School of JMC, said the dinners are a platform for students to interact with colleagues in different years of study.
The students also invite special guests from the industry who give them tips on how to be a successful professional, Semakula explained.
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