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Graduate: What A-UNifying Feeling
Graduates of AUN have continued to talk about their experience on campus, as well as the merits of their unique experience at Yola. Mr. Verse Shom, Class of 2009, became the Coordinator of the Alumni Corps immediately he graduated. In this interview, he testifies to the continuous relationship between the University and its graduates.
“Even after you graduate, you somehow retain connections and interactions and have other activities to do with the University. So, right from the onset, AUN had that in plan …where the alumni leave but never cease to be part of the University.”
Mr. Shom, who flies the AUN flag at the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja, says the decision to involve alumni in the affairs of their Alma Mater was a wise move as it is a common practice in universities. Alums stay in constant touch and get involved in the development of the place that nurtured them.
He noted that President Margee Ensign played a crucial role in the formation of the AUN Alumni Corps and sold the idea effectively. “In her wisdom, the President initiated the Alumni Corps program to get some alums to come back to work for the University. She sold the idea to me and since I was already planning at least one-year work experience before proceeding on any further academic pursuits, I thought it wise to come back to the school.”
Others in the Class of 2009 who returned to contribute to development at AUN include Mr. Luke Dalughut, who works in the Office of the Assistant Vice President for Administration & Development, and Mr. Livingstone Soni in the HR Department; they were all put in the areas of their strengths. Today, their activities have grown by leaps and bounds. AUN alumni are found in virtually all departments, including the Office of the President.
Shom commended the Founder, HE Atiku Abubakar’s decision to set up a multicultural institution like AUN in north-east Nigeria. “The founding father of this University did a good job in trying to structure it from the onset to be a community. So right from the inaugural class you had that sense of home, a sense of being part of the system.”
Since students, professors and staff come from different parts of the world, Shom said this generates a unifying feeling that is quite indescribable. “You can’t really place your hands on it, it’s just flowing through everybody’s veins and they know that, yes, it’s an AUN spirit,” he said.
Unfortunately, he said, Nigerians residing outside of campus cannot enjoy all that AUN has to offer. This is because AUN, “…is like the Dreamland where there is constant power, constant water, and 24-hour Wi-Fi. These are things that you will not find anywhere else in Nigeria.”
He added that the hands-on experience gained at AUN has made him more efficient as a Nigerian, and more importantly, “…a global citizen, rather than just a Nigerian person who is trained and groomed in the Nigerian way of doing things.”
Concluding, he appealed to alumni everywhere to return to their alma mater whenever the opportunity beckons. “It was a very rewarding experience and so I would encourage all alums to pick up an opportunity like this if it ever presents itself – to come back and serve. When you graduate and come back, you will find that your work is made easier, faster and more efficient.”
Mr. Verse Shom was Speaker of the Class of 2009.