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Monday, 17th December 2018

Ramadan in the University hostel: Back to the original message …

Posted on 03. Jul, 2014 by in Opinion

Ramadan in the University hostel: Back to the original message …

imageIn a month of fasting, it is quite ironic that our first concern is food. Weather you are fasting or breaking your fast, it seems that life in Ramadan is attached to all the wrong things.

Perhaps this Ramadan was different, at the very least different for me. This is the first Ramadan I spend alone for the most part. And being in the bubble that is AUC New Campus dorms, Ramadan has quite a different meaning.

Though food is a concern, my lack of skills makes it less of focal point. I don’t care how I break my fast. Dates and water, I find, are more than enough to break my fast and get on to work on my summer courses (the main reason I am in the dorms in the summer).

In the dorms, there is no television. No television means a lot of free time. I find myself more accomplished in the days of fasting than I was in the days of eating whatever I want whenever I want. It is perhaps a little bit funny, that Ramadan in the most unlikely of places – in the University hostel – would bring me back to the original message of this holy month: of fasting for your health not of your discomfort, of dedicating time to serve Allah and not cataloging TV series, of trying to contact your family instead of going out every night, of attempting to be more productive than sleeping all day.

I have spent perhaps 10 Ramadans doing all that, and though most are quite sympathetic to hear that I am mostly by myself in this holy month, I find myself quite content. I am alone, but I am not lonely. Ramadan in the dorms is quite the affair between balancing classes, fasting and assignments and trying  to squeeze in some hours to plan a meal with your roommates. It has the beautiful taste of accomplishment and light heartedness of being out-of-touch. So let me take this opportunity to wish this Umah a blessed month and pray that you take advantage of every day in it.

The Insider AUC interviews the SU candidates Nadine Hosny and Walid Khalil

Posted on 28. Apr, 2014 by in Features, News

The Insider AUC interviews the SU candidates Nadine Hosny and Walid Khalil

What could you tell the Student Body about you (Age, Major, … )?


Nadine: I was born  on the 25th of October 1993. I am double majoring in psychology and anthropology and minoring history. I graduated from ALSON School. My favourite colour is red. That’s it I suppose.





Walid-150Walid: My name is Walid Khalil, 21 year old mechanical engineering senior. Since I got in to university I worked on many activities, I’ve done a lot of SU work and I became Talent Show assistant general manager. I also worked as an assistant for Mrs. Dalia Eissa in the OSD which gave me a lot of insight about the processes of the SU. I also worked in Entrepreneurs Society until I reached the position of CEO.



What made you run for this particular position and in what ways do you believe you are qualified for it?

First and foremost, I don’t believe that the SU is meant to be a ladder of promotions. I am currently the Vice President of club. But to me it does not work that way. It’s not like: I am head then I ’ll be a director then a vice president or president or whatever. It is not a promotion. It has to do with a vision, a message. Someone has the will to do something, and that’s why he undertakes that position.

I worked with operations and I currently serve as the vice president of Help club. And everyone knows what Help club is. I was a general manager of the project EPSU. I worked with the Union before. I worked outside the university too and I know how it the politics work. When it comes to a CV, my CV is really good. But I don’t believe a CV has to do with anything because at the end of the day operations are the Chair’s job. It all comes down to a vision.

What made me run for this position is the current situation that the university is in. I can see that we are in a disperse community in which the people are using individualistic approaches. Services and representation are not up to expectations and the students are not involved whether in politics or activities and it is clear that the students don’t believe that the SU is representing them at the moment. I believe that the approach that I will be using, which we call, putting the student back in union will be around more collective actions that requires the help of the student around the SU in order to achieve a more coherent community in which the SU is involved in the student affairs.


In your opinion, is the SU flawed? And if yes how will your presidency fix it?

Mainly, we need to downsize. The Union is flawed but it’s not just about downsizing, it is mainly about restructuring. The SU is supposed to be important to all students. What happened is that it’s not effective why? Because every year we come up with new plans that don’t get implemented because the structure is still the same. What we have is just different people in the same positions. So what we need to do is to downsize and restructure to just 3 main realms.

The previous SU was good and they tried their best to provide operations but the whole idea, and this is what I’m saying, is that no matter how good you are, you will never be a strong union unless the student are involved. You can clearly see this because the students are not getting involved in the different SU services like the academic committee services, peer to peer advising and even the talent show didn’t distribute as much tickets as expected therefore, as I said, the most important thing is to make the students more involved.


Can you provide us with a rough plan as to how you will meet your campaign promises by next year?

I don’t promise any grand schemes. All I said is that we need to get back to the basics. Currently, we are expanding, but we do not have the power to expand so we are not being effective. We are not touching the lives of everyone right now. What we need to do is focus. When it comes to my promises I have a very clear plan:  work with the programs, work with the associations, get things done through our main 3 realms: services, representation and development. Representation comes number one because it is the one that generates the services and it’s the one that makes the Union accessible to students and gets them their rights.

Our campaign has indeed started helping us do that. We talked to several sectors of the AUC community from those in various sports teams, to the PVA, to ELI, etc, and this is how we plan to continue our term, by maintaining constant communication and gathering the concerns of the community, including workers, through surveys. All these sectors lack representation and services, all of which they paid for and owe to the Union. Many problems remain unheard about and need to be fixed. For example, the football team has problems with their kits and the most basic necessities, this can be fixed by the SU, but the issue lies within the lack of communication.

By hearing and collecting what they need, addressing these needs, and helping them we will retain trust in the union, which is now gone, and people in the community will start to feel that they are truly represented. Students must also be constantly notified of the struggles, achievements, and trials between the SU and the administration; and also they must be involved in the decision-making. It is important for people to know that we are not seeking belief in entities which people have lost faith in; we are candidates who believe in individuals more than anything – we believe in the Students because they are the ones who can truly change things around, not Walid and Yasmin alone.


Why do you think this is the kind of plan that the SU needs right now?

It most particularly needs to focus. Whenever people say SU they think of the welcome party or the welcome packages. We need to become more in touch with the students. And we do that through only functioning in three realms and not exhausting our efforts outside of that. Then, our work will be more efficient because of the downsizing. SU needs to be accessible to the students.

As I told you, when we have a talent show that finds it difficult to distribute invitations to the students, there is definitely a problem is the way that the people acknowledge the student union. That’s why we have to involve the people and regain their trust, that’s why we have to work mainly on this part.


What do you see in the university that requires immediate change?

Our mentalities, the way we view the Union and the way the Union views its role. To me it is the most important thing that needs to change right now. If the Union views its role correctly, I can accomplish all the things we set out to do. The union first needs to change its mentality to be able to reflect that onto the students. Then, whenever we say “union” everyone should think of the services and outlets.

The quality of education. I find that the quality of education is getting worse and you can see that in the amount of people getting lessons from tutors and the leaking of tests makes me think that we have a problem. Even the edge that AUC always had by having extracurricular activities is becoming weaker now. But we really have to take care of the quality of education that AUC serves because it is turning into a commodity as the university is accepting a big number of students and a lot of them end up graduation with majors that they did not want in the first place.


What is the biggest challenge that you might face as president?

Keeping my word I think. Not over promising and under-delivering, I believe that is the main thing honestly and again back to the issue of mentality. Change is hard, and it’s natural with change to meet some resistance. And we are embarking on a very big change.

The biggest challenge is the tuition increase agreement. The university is actually facing a deficit due to mismanagement and many other things but the thing is that they don’t have sufficient funds and they are trying to fix it by increasing the tuition on the students.


Are you for or against the existence of different camps on campus?

I am not for or against per se. I think it is a natural thing to develop groups. Different ideologies lead to different groups.  However, I am only against the idea of “monopoly of power”. Offices are open for everyone and everyone deserves an equal change. It shouldn’t be power play between the groups, it’s not a pie.

I see that the existence if these camps is healthy, you can say that they are similar to political parties but on a smaller scale, but of course it needs reform. It doesn’t have to be for power but instead they should act for the good of the community and I see that if these camps work correctly they will benefit the university very much.


What do you think about the general situation in the Egyptian universities this year? Do you see that AUC is isolated?

I choose to believe we are not. I did work with EPSU and we worked with both private and public universities for some time now before we started our own Union. I think we like to say that we are isolated, but the reality remains that it is very easy to reach out to all of the other universities.  AUC is prominent but we never meet that potential.  To me, it has nothing to do with being isolated; rather we are choosing to be isolated. We create our own bubble, there is no bubble. With regards to other universities, it is a terrible state. We need to take action and AUC needs to be a big part of that action. It doesn’t mean we must politicize it. It is a human effort.

AUC is very isolated and we live in a sector alone and this is not correct. We have to help somehow even if it was by using word of mouth. People in other universities are getting killed and some are not able to go to their universities and I see the AUC community is totally isolated from that even when students from our own community got arrested, you find that there is nobody taking action towards the cause. This all can be accredited to the negative energy that I have been talking about in which the students don’t want to get involved.


What is your opinion on your opposition? And what is it that should make a student vote for you rather than them?

I have no opinion about them other than saying that they are quite decent and allegeable candidates. And I sincerely wish them luck. What should make a student vote for me? First, because I stress on representation. It is a cycle of logic: representation comes first to me because with proper representation come proper services, not the other way around. I will not make promises before they are represented.

Honestly speaking, we, and the entire AUC Community, should be proud that today there are 4 candidates who believe in the student movement. The opposition contains very respectful members with great CVs. We personally know Hassaballah and he is a really good person and very passionate; and Nadine is a confident strong woman with achievements the community should be proud of.

What makes any candidate different from the other is their approach and who they are. The upcoming year will be a very challenging. Therefore, the most important thing now is to unite the students around their rights and to maintain a constant line of communication with the students to keep them aware and proactive – through keeping the Student Body informed with all the Union’s actions and involving them in the decision making as well – because in order to solve these problems collective action is the solution. Only if students are united as one to solve these problems will we be able to solve them.

Now who we are, are people who have always been part of striving for rights for the entire AUC community from students to workers. We are in fact candidates of the Black Camp, and this adds to us because like we’ve been involved in the past we have today learnt from the mistakes of that past. We today know that instead of fighting FOR the student body we should be fighting WITH the student body, and this is where our core goal comes from – a collective, proactive Student body. Having been part of change, made mistakes, and now learnt from them to make further changes, gives us the edge.


What message would you like to say to the student body?

Change is good. Embrace it.

Please vote because you pay for this student union and you pay for the cabinet to do things for you like serving and representing you. Furthermore, the student union can help you with many things on a daily basis. So please get involved and don not waste your right, chose who thinks will help you.


عمال مزرعة جنوب التحرير يناشدون مجتمع الجامعة الأمريكية بإنقاذ المزرعة

Posted on 03. Mar, 2014 by in Arabic, News

عمال مزرعة جنوب التحرير يناشدون مجتمع الجامعة الأمريكية بإنقاذ المزرعة

1922350_857227307625819_720012949_nتظاهر العشرات من العاملين بمزرعة الجامعة الأمريكية ( محطة أبحاث جنوب التحرير) اليوم داخل حرم الجامعة، يطلبون مساندة الطلاب، ويناشدون رئيسة الجامعة د.ليزا أندرسن بإنقاذ المزرعة المهددة بالإغلاق في  أكتوبر 2014.

قال مدير المزرعة محمود بدران : “بعد ٣٥ سنة هناك إتجاه لإغلاق هذه المزرعة التي تخدم الإقتصاد المصري والقطاع الزراعي و البيئة و تنمية الموارد المصرية. هذا العمل تخريب للاقتصاد المصري و سيؤدي إلى تشريد ٢٠٠ أسرة.”

 تم إنشاء مزرعة التحرير في عام ١٩٧٩ حيث خصص مجلس الوزراء ٥٠٠ فدان للجامعة الأمريكية لإقامة محطة أبحاث لتنمية الصحراء.

وقد نجح المركز في إنتاج شتلات فاكهة متميزة فتحت أسواقاً جديدة للتصدير، وإنتاج سلالة ابقار متميزة هي هجين بين البقرة المصرية و البقرة الأوروبية  سويس براون مما أدى إلى زيادة إنتاج الألبان واللحوم كما أوضح البيان الذي وزعه العمال.

 قال بدران أن الجامعة كانت قد أعلنت نيتها بعدم تجديد عقد إيجار المزرعة بسبب الخسارة المالية، وأكد أن الإدارة الجديدة التي أسندت إليها المزرعة في ديسمبر ٢٠١٢ قد نجحت بالفعل في تحويل الخسائر إلى مكاسب وبالتالي لم يعد هناك عائق مالي يؤدي إلى عدم تجديد العقد.

 و قد أوضح بدران أنهم اثبتوا بالحسابات أرباح المزرعة وبالتالي  قررت الجامعة إرسال خبير إقتصادي ليقيم أداء المزرعة  والدور الإجتماعي الذي يمكن أن تقوم به.unnamed

 و أضاف بدران “العاميلن في المزرعة يناشدونكم  حتى تستمر رسالة الجامعة في هذا المجتمع وحتى نؤكد لمصر أن الجامعة الأمريكية تسعى لتحسين اقتصادها وتساهم في حل المشاكل وزيادة الصادرات وتنمية الصحراء.”

 قال  المهندس أسامة عبد العظيم مدير المشتل في المزرعة أن السبب الرئيسي لعدم تجديد العقد هو إيجار المزرعة. فبينما كانت الجامعة تدفع جنيهاً واحداً إيجار للفدان  لمدة ٣٠ عاماً، ارتفعت التكاليف إلى ٢٥٠٠ جنيه. وأكد المهندس عبد العظيم أن هذا السبب ليس كافياً لإغلاق المزرعة التي كان من الممكن أن يصل ايجارها إلى ١٠٠٠٠ جنيه إن لم تكن الجامعة تستغلها كمحطة للبحث. و أضاف “المزرعة قد تؤدي إلى أرباح 2 مليون جنيه بنهاية هذا العام.”

 و دعا المهندس عبد العظيم طلاب الجامعة  إلى زيارة المزرعة  و كرر “أنا ادعوكم وأرجوكم  بزيارة المزرعة وإذا قررتم أن المزرعة تستحق أن تغلق فسوف نرضى و نوافق.”

ردد العمال هتافات تناشد الجامعة بتجديد عقد الإيجار، و تطلب مساندة الطلاب و قد شملت هذه الهتافات “بصوا الخضرة اللي حواليكم، شوفوا الشجر اللي مغطيكم احنا الناس اللي زرعناه علشان يرمي الظل عليكم. جددي لينا جددي لينا، بكرة الدنيا حتحكي علينا. إنت شايفها بتخسر ليه أنت جاي علينا كدة ليه؟ “