THE SPEECH BY THE VICE-CHANCELLOR, PROF. SAMUEL GUDU DURING THE 1ST YEAR STUDENTS ORIENTATION HELD ON 23 RD AUGUST 2019 AT THE MULTI-PURPOSE HALL, RONGO UNIVERSITY

The Deputy Vice-Chancellors

Deans and Directors

Heads of Departments/Sub-Sections

Staff

Students

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good Morning

I wish to take this earliest opportunity to congratulate you for excellent performance at the KCSE examinations. Your presence here today is the clearest indication yet of your tenacity to succeed. You are among the over ninety thousand students admitted to various universities and university colleges out of the over six hundred thousand students who sat KCSE examinations last year. I salute you for the good work! Congratulations!

But I hesitate to say, do not over-congratulate yourself for your past performance, for the new but onerous journey has just begun which may not know your past success. The new battle requires new strategies and maximum effort.

Rongo University: The Goldmine of Knowledge

Rongo University is a vibrant institution whose Vision, Mission and Core Values reflects the aspirations of the Kenyan society with acute bias towards becoming a world class technology driven university. To this end, the University has put in place measures and strategies to complement the ongoing Government effort to attain the Big “4” Agenda, Kenya Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. We have carved out our niche by offering pure and applied sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts and education; training professionals and; conducting research on food and nutrition security.

The University is a multicultural and cohesive society that promotes co-existence among various cultures. It also provides equal opportunity to all qualified, willing and aspiring scholars. As such, admission to any program is based purely on merit and not on any other consideration. Here, we champion success, trade academics, promote progressive ideas, respect cultures and beliefs. To the academic enthusiast, we will support you, for the detractor we will scold you. Our training is wholesome, striving to offer quality education and mold students to be Kenyans of good character.

The Long Academic Journey

I am aware that this has been a hectic week for you as you have been registering, familiarizing yourselves with various facilities/staff and trying to get new friends and acquaintances. Many of you must be wondering what university life would be like. I can assure you that the scenario and parameters here are so different from your high school. The living environment so different from that of your family

5 back home. However, I reiterate to you that everyone here belongs, and everyone will find their place. The University has created an enabling environment for your studies. Try to fit into this environment and heed the advice from various faculties and managers of the University.

Today you are set to go fishing in the deep seas. Along the way, you will experience turbulence, some of you will fall off the boat, others will sink in the raging waters, some will come back empty handed while others will have their fill. The bottom line is, after 2 or 3 or 4 years, will you have weathered the storm? I wish all of you a good fishing expedition.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Administrative Matters: As you were told during the introduction and brief remarks, the University has two divisions coordinated by two Deputy Vice-Chancellors: one in charge of Academic and Student Affairs while the other Administration, Finance and Planning. There are six teaching Schools; namely, School of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Studies; Arts and Social Sciences; Business and Human Resource Development; Education; Information, Communication and Media Studies; and Science, Technology and Engineering, and 15 teaching Departments. The teaching is done on semesters with the main academic calendar starting in September and ending in April of the following year. There are also three Directorates namely: Directorate of Privately Sponsored Students Academic Programme (PSSP); Directorate of Open Distance and e-Learning; and Directorate of Quality Assurance. Various Units including finance, health, central services, estates, academic affairs, student affairs and transport just to mention a few are also available.

Academic matters: The University offers market driven Certificate, Diploma, Bachelors and Postgraduate programmes. There are already over 6,000 students whom you will join. Here, we value quality education and therefore strive to provide an environment that stimulates our curiosity to learn and innovate. Over the last six years, the University has graduated 4,567 students and many more will graduate during the next graduation in mid-December 2019.

Resources: The University has endeavoured to provide adequate physical facilities to enhance quality education and facilitate the development of conducive learning environment. Just like in any other establishment, these resources are not always adequate. Whenever there are issues or inadequacies, I urge you to be part of the solution. We shall also remain proactive in ensuring we meet your expectations. Accordingly, we have embarked on an ambitious programme to upgrade our teaching and learning facilities. To this end, the construction of a 5 storey tuition block is near completion, construction of 4000-seater is underway, construction of the University gate will begin within the next few months. We shall also purchase additional equipment and supplies for our science and computer laboratories. Last but not least, we shall upscale automation of our services.

Human Resource: During your study period you will interact with competent and industrious staff carefully recruited to offer efficient and effective academic and administrative services to you. We shall remain at your service at your point of need.

Co–curricular activities: At Rongo University we promote wholesome growth and development of our students. Therefore, we encourage students to spare time to take up any of the available games, sports, music and drama opportunities. We undertake to continue to sponsor winning teams/individuals to represent the University in various national and local tourneys.

Ladies and gentlemen

Innovations: The University supports staff and students who come up with viable innovation or invention through sponsorship to showcase the projects at Exhibitions, Trade Fairs and National Science Week, and also to protect the innovation. I therefore encourage you to be innovative and come up with novel projects which can attract both internal and external funding. Some of the recent invention by staff and student include the production of fuel from potato (published in the local media); and production of sorghum cultivars which are resistant to diseases and drought tolerant.

Payment of Fees: In line with our Fee Payment Policy, all students are expected to pay all fees at the beginning of each semester. Going forward, we shall not allow any student with outstanding fees to attend classes or sit for examinations, and the student shall be advised to defer studies. Further, observe academic deadlines including those for registration for courses and examinations. It is your responsibility to make adequate prior arrangements to clear fees before the beginning of the following semester. Remember, sitting examination without clearing fees contravenes the rules and regulations and may lead expulsion.

Pieces of Advice

Ladies and Gentlemen

As you begin your academic journey, I urge you to follow things that catch your imagination. In addition:

1) Respect deadlines: During your studies you will encounter numerous deadlines which must be respected. Some of these deadlines include submission of term papers and take-home assignments, registration for courses or examinations among others. Your ability to wade through and become outstanding scholars will be tested through simple issues such as respect of deadlines.

2) Try a society: Do not try to re-invent yourself too much. Do not try too hard to “fit in” or be a “copycat”. I know you will be tempted to join certain groups and/or act in ways that don’t necessarily reflect who you are. I urge you to network and choose your friends and society wisely. Socialize with people with common interests and values. Some of the available issues-based societies that you could consider joining include Christian Union, scouts association, debating club etc. However, we do not allow formation of ethnic or regional clubs and societies.

3) Find support services: The faculty will always be available to guide and help you to attain your goal in life. We will mentor you and respond to your interests, to your curiosity, and to your invitations. Do not suffer in silence, seek assistance from your classmates, student leaders and staff. If there is something you really want to do, some curiosity that you want to pursue, make sure that you do it in moderation, and don’t let anything stand in your way.

4) Manage your time well: Avoid issues that will distract and lead you to procrastinate. Avoid such distractions like mobile phones and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp) during your study time. I urge you to plan your time well by using a calendar and checklist. Be organized and focused on the task at hand. Remember a stitch in time saves nine. You should also ensure that you get enough sleep in order to remain active throughout the day.

5) The library is amazing: Make the most of the library. Make it your second home for it promotes progression of knowledge. Besides being a place to do assignments, the library will develop your vocabulary, enhance your comprehension and general positive impact on your achievements.

6) Be prepared always: Be always in the lookout and prepared for opportunities that may arise in your environment. There are enormous opportunities in extracurricular, athletic, games, sports, music and drama. Those experiences will have a huge impact on many of you. But I hope that none of you will lose sight of how special this time in your life is. It’s a time to learn. It’s a time to expose yourself to ideas that are completely different from what you have done, seen, or perhaps what you will see.

7) Do not overindulge: The adage goes “choices have consequences”. Avoid overindulgence of any nature! University life will accord you a lot of freedom which most of you may not have experienced. This freedom comes with its own social risks. I implore you to keep off activities that will not add value to your future life. Such activities include: use of drugs, cohabitation, living a lie, being a socialite, spending beyond your means, getting a “sponsors”, HIV/ AIDS pandemic among others must be avoided at all cost.

With those many remarks, I wish you the most fulfilling and rewarding experience at this great University

Thank you for your undivided attention

Professor Samuel Gudu, PhD, EBS

Vice-Chancellor Rongo University.