Tag Archives: Student Union

Lebanese pop-stars to entertain at Saturday’s concert

By Safaa Ali

Lebanese pop-singer Ramy Ayash, D.J Carlos, and performer-singer Nicole Saba are going to entertain and sing in the Fall Concert, which will be held by the AUC Student Union this Saturday.

The S.U. organizes and end of semester concert as part of it’s mission statement. “But this year every body wants to celebrate moving to New Campus,” said Ahmed Saleh, the Chair Activities Committee. “So we wanted it big and sparkling.

The cost of the concert is being covered McDonalds, Commercial and Industrial Group, Port Ghalib resorts, Cherry Cars, and Housing and Development Bank. “We are offering 2,000 tickets for 60 L.E,” said Saleh, “they will be available ‘til the day of the concert.”

Saleh said they had not made any arrangements for commuting. However, he is hoping that the concert being on a Saturday rather than a Friday will mean attendees, who are both from within and outside AUC, will be able to take advantage of the university buses running.

AUC students, however, don’t think the timing for a concert is right. “It’s Eid and we have finals afterwards, I won’t have the time to go to a concert,” said Loujaina El Sayed, economics senior.

“The concert should be held after exams, so I can be relaxed enough to enjoy it,” said Nizar Khashaba, mass communications sophomore.

Mohamed Kamal, I.T coordinator in the S.U, said they had been organizing the event for two months. “We all work together as if it’s a one family business,” he added. “Of course we faced some problems regarding the license for the party, taxes and getting sponsors but we have managed through them all.”

The concert will take place at the AUC Portal. Tickets are available at the SU booth opposite the SSE building.

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Students hold historic protest on new campus

Alaa Mosbah

Students sit together outside the administration building, to protest the new campus. Photo: Alaa Mosbah

By Nader Ramadan

The morning after a historical election in America, students at The American University in Cairo made history too, staging the first ever protest on the Kattameya campus aimed squarely at the university.

The sit-in outside the administration building attracted throngs of students, who came together to voice a litany of complaints about the new campus, from the cost of food to the low pay workers on campus receive.

President David Arnold has agreed to address protestors’ demands at a student forum next week.

“We’ll give a response to the demands on Monday,” Arnold said.

Organized by three AUC students, the rally was meant to collect concerns, and present them to university officials.

The protest’s organizers have a number of specific issues they already want the university to address.

The organizers want AUC’s contract with food consortium Delicious Inc. and all the university’s financial records to be made public, to be provided cheaper food alternatives, a guarantee that campus facilities will be finished by this spring a reimbursement of four weeks of tuition expenses, and a cap on tuition hikes.

“Last but not least, we demand an apology,” said Amira Gabr, one of the protestors.

It is the latest development of student activism against the school, which is still struggling to reach completion of its new campus, and facing big losses in its endowment reserves.

Some international students have been writing letters to their home schools, warning them from sending more students to AUC.

Others circulated a petition, detailing the poor conditions of hotels provided by the school to house students as they await the completion of campus dormitories

At the Wednesday protest, the crowd was punctuated at times with raucous chants.

“We want koshary!” the gathering repeated. “No more Delicious!” “Come down David!” and “Protest! Protest!” were also yelled out, while organizers collected signatures for a petition supporting their list of demands.

Many wore red armbands to show solidarity with the protest. Others wrote down their complaints about student housing on a bed sheet.

The students were supported by the Student Union. Arnold later met with SU representatives, and agreed to hold the student forum in Mansour Hall.

One university official braved the crowd to speak to protestors.

At times having to deal with students shouting to his face, Ashraf El-Fiqi, Vice President of Student Affairs, told protestors they could speak to Arnold at the forum.

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Parking fee refunds coming soon

By Ahmed Wafaey Mansour and Mohamed El Sherif

Some students at The American University in Cairo will begin receiving refunds for parking fees, after the administration halved the initial 3,000 L.E. parking fee earlier this month.

“We already started the process of refunding the 50 percent for those who had already paid,” said Ron Smith, the associate vice president for Facilities and Operations. “We received a little bit over a hundred so far, but no one received the refund yet.”

The Student Union, which argued with the university to lower parking costs, said the fee reduction should result in more students buying parking permits.

“I believe students will prefer the parking permits because now the fees are reasonable with no big difference, and it is much safer to park on campus,” said SU President Mohammed Ali.

Only 455 parking permits had been purchased out of an available 2,000 by the mid-September deadline, according to the university.

Some students, though, said the price was still too much.

“I didn’t get a permit when it was for 3,000 L.E., and I still won’t get one now,” said Omar Salah, a Business Administration senior. “It’s still too expensive, especially that the other options aren’t that bad.”

Salah said that he currently parks in the desert, for free.

“Although these prices are now similar to what I used to pay the valet at the old campus, it felt like a necessity because the valet really was my savior,” Salah said. “Now I have other options, free of charge.”

Gamal Sultan, a professor, said he used to pay about 100 L.E. a week when he parked at El Bostan, a commercial garage close to the old campus. After the cut, he calculated that he would now pay 35 L.E. a week.

“I am satisfied with the decision, I think it’s very reasonable,” he said. “Paying 3,000 L.E. per year, to only use the permit three times a week was just unreasonable, and I would have never bought a permit.”

Sultan wondered, though, if he could use a different car with the same permit.

Ali said the fact that only a fraction of parking permits had been sold by the September deadline convinced the university to lower costs. “It is a matter of supply and demand,” he said.

But there still were questions about what the university would do next, as it was stated that the price cut was a one-year plan.

“I promise that the SU will try to keep the situation as it is now,” Ali said. “If the parking fees are increased again we will make sure that there are enough services in the parking lots – like shaded areas for the parking spaces – to make sure that the parking worth its fees.”

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Campus move costly to student groups

By Menna Taher

Student organization leaders said new expenses and university restrictions on the new campus are costing them, while transportation concerns and the campus’ remote location are obstacles to attracting new members.

The main reason clubs will lose money, according to Aida Maged, director of the office of student organization committees, is a new restriction on food caterers and sponsors.

An agreement was signed last year with Delicious Inc., the company that provides the food outlets for AUC, which bans other competitors. Therefore, sponsors will not be allowed to put up booths or distribute their products for free on campus.

“In the old campus, the contract was signed with United Enterprises, so students only had to ask this company for permission to get a food caterer. Delicious Inc., however, is a collaboration of many companies, which makes it hard to ask each one for permission,” Maged said.

According to Student Union (SU) Vice President Heba Azzazi, the university’s clubs combined are expected to lose 500,000 L.E. from their budgets this year.

“Club members will have to pay from their own budgets, which is unrealistic and it’s hard to ask [the university] for compensation when the club issue is not on the priority list of the problems regarding the new campus.” Azzazi said.

When asked how much money the catering provided, Salma Abu Hussein International Conference of Global Economy (ICGE) organizing committee head said it contributed to about 80% of the their total budget.

Meanwhile, Nada Abdel Hay, president of the Entrepreneurs Society said that catering accounts for up to 50,000 L.E. of their annual budget.

Also hurting budgets, club leaders say, is the new expense of having to provide bus services to the campus on weekends for their non-AUC members.

Various club members, along with SU representatives asked for compensation for the clubs from the vice president of student affairs, Ashraf El Fiqi.

El Fiqi said he would try to get sponsorship from corporate companies like Mobinil, one of three mobile phone service providers in Egypt. He also promised to provide transportation for clubs members, AUCians and non-AUCians alike, on weekends.

Eman Kourtam, the president of Alashanek ya Balady, an on-campus charity club, said that it will be hard for outsiders to apply for the club since the campus is far away.

Another concern for Kourtam is the distance between the campus and Ain el Seera, an underdeveloped neighborhood situated in Old Cairo that members traditionally visited and worked with orphans.

“[That area] was very close to AUC, now I’m concerned that we will visit less,”  Kourtam said.

Despite the obstacles, some students said they would not be prevented from taking part in club activities. Mina Fathy, the former IT head of ICGE, said that he would stay longer hours on campus if he had a meeting, and on weekends the members would meet downtown.

In the first two weeks on the new campus, clubs have also faced a shortage of booths for displaying advertisements, and have used tables instead. The setup doesn’t aid clubs in attracting people, said Abdel Hay. “A booth gives more freedom for creativity, we could hang banners or decorate it, now, there is only a table available,” she said.

 “Also, the campus is too large for proper advertisement. On the old campus we used to put up piñatas and balloons in the SS (Social Science building) and everyone knew about it,” added Abdel Hay.

The new version of the advertisement and promotion policy that is designed for the new campus would also hinder public relations for clubs. It is a pamphlet, with set regulations, that includes the ban of banners. “The rules are set that way so the campus wouldn’t look like a market.” Azzazi explained.

The university is attempting to help clubs with the transition. Cubicles will be provided for each club and there are 20 movable booths under construction, Maged said. The Student Union’s welcome pack, consisting of planners, equipment and gifts for students, is being distributed at the beginning of the semester as always.

Rihab Saleh, the secretariats head of ICGE, was philosophical about the challenges facing clubs on the new campus. “It’s a two edged sword, either we take advantage of it or dwell on how bad the situation is.”

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