Two developments on Monday marked a commitment to the welfare of students at Africa University.
The two milestones recorded in the history of Africa University were the commissioning of the recently completed Highland Park Student Union building, which was officially handed over to the institution and the commissioning of two buses for student and staff transport.
The occasion celebrated the magnanimity of the Highland Park United Methodist Church that funded the project.
In addition, Africa University also commissioned two brand new locally assembled 65-seater UD Nissan Buses.
The two additions to the university’s vehicle fleet will bolster efficiency and mobility for both students and staff.
Some of the stunning features of the building will enhance student life transforming the building into a hub of student-centred events on campus.
Africa University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Munashe Furusa, speaking at the official handover of the building said: “What we see before us today is a multi-purpose facility that boasts on the ground floor a spacious entertainment centre where our students may socialize, mingle and network.
“This place will become the epicentre of campus entertainment activities and bring another dimension to the cultural integration of our community.”
There is a gym that will cater to the holistic well-being of students. The gymnasium is also fitted with on-site shower facilities.
To serve AU’s growing student body, the institution has extended shopping facilities with a ground floor tuck shop and upstairs mini market that will sell a variety of convenience goods.
On the top floor, the student beauty salon has been fitted wherein state-of-the-art equipment will allow students to access such services on campus, saving them valuable time and money.
The Students’ Representative Council offices and Board Room are also located on the top floor where deliberations on student welfare and representation can be conducted in a professional and conducive environment.
There was great appreciation of Highland Park United Methodist Church for standing ready to answer the call to improve student welfare on the AU campus.
The official handover of the SU Building follows the Highland Park-funded Women’s Hostel that was officially opened during the February 2020 Board Meetings.
Professor Munashe Furusa expressed great appreciation to AU Board Member Mrs Lisa Tichenor and the international collaboration between teams in the USA and Zimbabwe for the work undertaken in order to bring the project to fruition, and on schedule, especially in the face of socio-economic upheavals that have been experienced globally.
He said: “We are so fortunate to have friends and partners such as these who demonstrate unshakable faith and love for Africa University and its sacred mission of training morally and ethically grounded leaders for Africa.
“It is important to note the Highland Park United Methodist Church did not only provide funds but also experts in the form of Mr Marty Burnson who worked very closely with our local architects and construction teams.”
Speaking to the student body and emphasizing the importance of the Highland Park Student Union Building to the community, Professor Furusa said: “Students of Africa University, know that this building has been built with love. Love for you, for the promise that each of you hold and for the Africa that you shall create.
“Do not take this gift lightly. Understand the great sacrifice that has been made by those who did not have much to give, but did so whole-heartedly.
“Understand that of whom much is given, much is expected. You now have an obligation, a duty and a responsibility to them and to the University to honour this sacrifice.
“Let this be a safe space where sexism, tribalism, or discrimination of any kind is never given room to rear its ugly head. We believe that for you to become the best, you must have the best and here it is before you today.”
Representing the Students’ Representative Council, vice-president Mr Fiston Okito expressed gratitude on behalf of the student community.
“We are so grateful for the funds that have seen the construction of this ultra-modern building that stands as one of the best in the country and region. We are so grateful to the Highland Park UMC for their love and faithfulness to the vision.”
The Highland Park Student Union Building and the newly acquired buses form part of the University’s strategy towards creating a world- class university that offers services and facilities that are at par with the best on the continent and the globe.
AU continues to lead among institutions of higher learning in Zimbabwe and beyond especially in the areas of blended learning, enterprise development and innovation with many more exciting projects currently under development.