By Kefa Senoga
The Uganda Christian University (UCU) School of Business (SoB) has become the fourth of UCU’s 11 schools/faculties to have a formalized professional group for all its programs. For the SoB, it’s called a “society.”
For the School of Law, it’s also a society. For the School of Social Sciences, the name is Social Work Association. For the School of Journalism, Media and Communication, the group is the Media Link Association.
On August 2, 2022, the UCU Business Society, which is now the official fraternity unifying all students under the UCU SoB, was launched after tense elections. These were the first elections conducted by the Business Society and organized to usher in a democratic leadership. Ayebare Phillip Bravo emerged as the winner with 76.35%, with Mujuzi Paul Richard at second with 23.65%.
The founding committee members of the UCU Business Society shaking hands with the new committee.
As with all four groups, the rationale for the Business Society is primarily two-fold: Student sense of belonging, and building of skill sets, relationships and connections beyond the classroom.
Giving his speech at the launch, Ayebare discussed the importance of implementing a four-point program as follows:
- Establishing favorable partnerships both in and out of campus, for example, with other associations in the university, in order to intensify student-related programs.
- Engaging students in extracurricular and developmental activities (i.e., intensifying sports activities, such as the business league).
- Advocating robust academic-oriented programs, such as mentorship and career guidance seminars.
- Ensuring student subscription policy, such as a semester-based mode of payment.
Natasha Alinda, the Vice President-elect of the UCU Business Society, says the student body will promote culture and values of UCU, “policies concerning students of business can easily be passed through our association, which is student-oriented.”
The SoB Dean, Vincent Kisenyi, says that “through this society, students will be able to do a lot of things as students, build their self-esteem, work on the different activities in the school and build that oneness among themselves, hence enjoying their stay at the university.” Kisenyi adds that one of the important ingredients in the UCU Business Society will be a strong business fellowship that will guide students to understand everything is anchored on God.
Ssemakula Musa, the former guild member of parliament (MP) for the SoB and who spearheaded the formation of the society, says that as he was contesting for the position of MP SoB, he noted in his manifesto that he would pioneer the establishment of a body that unifies all students under the SoB.
“Many students were coming to me, requesting for the formation of an association that brings them together,” Ssemakula said. “They always related to the UCU law society, which had demonstrated its visibility at the campus.”
Ssemakula says that it was important to come up with the UCU Business Society due to the fact that there are so many courses under the SoB, for example, Business Administration, Procurement and Logistics, Accounting and Finance, Tourism and Hospitality.
He adds that besides the Business Society encouraging unity and mutual relationship among the students, it is also meant to establish relationships between the students of the UCU SoB and other external stakeholders.
“We are looking at partnerships from bigger business entities like Stanbic Bank, Uganda Revenue Authority, global companies like Coca-Cola,” Ssemakula said. “Therefore, the Business Society will mediate all these processes, beginning with sourcing for students’ internship opportunities in these big companies.”
Ssemakula adds that another core reason for establishing the business society was to create avenues for financial support for students, for example, “we have plans of introducing the 1k campaign to help, in one way or another, our colleagues who may lack tuition.” This campaign will be in addition to UCU’s recent launch of a “For just 10K, Change a Life” campaign, seeking a small donation of 10,000 shillings per person.
UCU has a process for such groups to be legally recognized by the university. A motion has to be tabled in the house of the students’ guild parliament and if this parliament passes it, then the guild vice-president, who is the guild official in charge of associations, forwards the matter to the Director of Students Affairs, who then presents it to the Vice Chancellor for approval.