On Monday the 25th of February 2019, Africa University broke ground for a major infrastructural project that has long been at the centre of the vision and determination to improve the student experience at the university. A brand new Student Union Building will be constructed within the year with funds generously donated by the Highland Park United Methodist Church that has already funded the construction of the women’s hostel that is currently at an advanced stage.
Presiding over the ceremony, the Director of Advancement and Public Affairs Mr. Stephene Chikozho said,
“Africa University continues to grow from strength to strength and we are here today to bear testimony to that. This is indeed a great and momentous day where we congregate to give thanks to God through whom all is possible and to pray over this ground so that it is blessed and the intentions for which it is being built come to full fruition.”
Present at the ceremony were the Vice Chancellor Professor Munashe Furusa, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Mageto, members of the university’s executive cabinet, staff, students and alumni who joined in the dedication ceremony where all in attendance declared as part of the emotional ceremony,
“As we acknowledge the vision, devotion and sacrifices of those people who made this hour possible, the responsibility and privilege now rest on us to cause this building to rise here. It shall be a facility devoted to student recreation and socialization.”
The powerful dedication was echoed in the address by the Vice Chancellor who said,
“It is a sacrifice for anyone to give and it is all the more incredible when that giving is unceasing. We are in awe of the work the Highland Park UMC has done to invest in our university and our cause. This is a powerful validation of what we do here as an institution. This shall be a space that our student body shall own as their outlet for creativity, a space for revitalization, a space for socialization and most importantly a space for rejuvenation in the company of fellow students from across Africa. We hope this shall be a space that will encourage intelligent and provocative debate on the challenges facing you, our youth, and the continent at large. It is here that you shall collaborate and hopefully develop, in camaraderie and unity, solutions to these challenges.”
Speaking to the facilities that users can come to expect, Prof Furusa added,
“In the construction of this student union building, we were tasked to dream big as our school motto emboldens us to do. It is our intention to create a building of the future, one that incorporates the latest technologies to guarantee the safety of our students as they own and claim this space as their own, integrating state- of the art systems that will facilitate ease of movement, responsible use of facilities and ease of access for all…. we seek to integrate technology into our buildings to reduce their green foot print, make them energy efficient and enhance the quality and performance of our infrastructure. This Student Union Building will incorporate into its design a comprehensive wellness centre, extended dining facilities and areas for entertainment, everything our student body expects and deserves to enhance the student experience. Our commitment to this drive is unquestionable, and we are excited by new and innovative ways that we can give our students the best in terms of technology, learning and the life-long impact of having been a part of our prestigious institution.”
The Dean of Students, Mr. George Miti thanked the university for its commitment to prioritizing students saying,
“Students are the lifeblood of our university. As the department of Student Affairs, our main mandate is to ensure a conducive environment for academic pursuits to be realized. We thank the university for including our students in every facet of the university administration and management creating a community where transparency and collaboration are given room to flourish. In every step of this construction process from building design, to facilities and eventually to furnishings, we have been and shall continue to be involved and heard. That is a rare and special culture that we have and we thank the university for this.”
The dedication ceremony is in keeping with the university’s Christian traditions and mores where the intention is to not only mark or commemorate a new structure or acquisition but to also celebrate growth, progression and success in a spirit of fellowship and love with the entire community.