The JKUAT January- April 2016 semester is in its homestretch. Students are currently revising for or sitting their final semester examinations. If you visit the University right now you’ll either witness busy study groups perched throughout the expansive University compound. A group discussion here, a practical session there, and another student going it solo in a corner. Even the University Library is opened throughout the weekend for the sake of revision. The printing and photocopying areas are also abuzz with activities, matter of fact the operators are currently making a kill. The volume of notes to be photocopied, handouts to be printed and projects to be printed and bound for presentation to panels of ‘unforgiving’ JKUAT lecturers…Its simply a sight to behold,but only if you are not in the mix. For some, its the last semester, their very last in University. Congrats to them by the way, for the academic ladder is no easy climb.
For others, its a completion of an academic year and are already making plans for either a long holiday or industrial attachment. There are also those who will be returning in the May-August semester. Whichever the scenario, it has been an eventful semester, with its fair share of highs and lows, and as it now quickly advance towards its sunset, we look at the highlights of the semester; what stood out, what didn’t and how the University has managed to sail through this far as a family. In this nostalgic adventure we begin with the JKUAT Journey Community. What are they, what were they up to this semester and what did they accomplish?
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology is known as a trendsetter in higher education, research and innovation. Usually this is what clicks in anyone’s mind when JKUAT is mentioned anywhere. In the process people assume that JKUAT is just about academics, academics, technology and everything ‘technical’. This could not be further from the truth. There’s so much more to the institution, so much more that makes it whole and that ensures that students end up holistic and equipped in all spheres of life. One way of achieving this is through clubs and societies, which are very vibrant and effective in the University. The Journey JKUAT community is one such entity.
The Journey is a community of like-minded students, brought together by a uniform objective of bringing about positive transformation in the society. The Community is religious, bringing together students from across different faiths and denominations, their goal being to mentor each other, learn from each other, strengthen each other, build each other and learn on how to be of service to humanity, all these in a fun and interesting way. I insist on calling it a community because when I spoke with this vibrant lady, a member of JKUAT Journey by the name Lilian Jeruto aka Chesh, she passionately insisted ‘I can’t really say Journey is a club. Well according to the University we are registered as a club, but really we are a community, and everyone is always welcome to be part of us’
So what exactly is the motivation behind the existence of such a community? The journey was founded in 2004, at The University of Nairobi by a team led by one Mr. Brent Hanson. Since then, it has expanded to Kenyatta University and JKUAT. The organization accomplishes its mission by running different programs in universities all aimed at complimenting the academic work of the students.
In the course of last year while producing a student union magazine I had the privilege of interacting with one Joey Njuki who was one of the leaders at the helm of The JKUAT Journey community. His intellectual insight as regards the mandate of The Journey is one I’ll have to quote verbatim; “Whereas there is ample formation in the intellectual and professional career areas, there is little intentional formation in other areas of life of a student that are critical to their success. For instance, there is not much formation of character, soft skills, relational intelligence and capacity to see. The journey was founded to fill this gap. The organization works to be a community where students are formed character wise, are given a chance to explore their potential, trained in relational intelligence and challenged to be a positive transformation agent in society.”
So what exactly was The Journey up to this semester? Here we go.
Every Monday evening the Journey JKUAT community met (and will continue to meet) on a day set aside for ‘The Storymakers’. These are Bible study groups in which the students get a platform to discuss various day to day life experiences and topics through the Bible. It offers the students a much needed insight and guidance as regards the daily life challenges in and out of campus. The motivation behind storymakers is to streamline the thinking and decision-making of the students upon the established foundations of the biblical principles.
The Coffee Bar
Every Thursdays the JKUAT Journey community met at CLB 002 for an intense and productive session in what is popularly known as the coffee bar. The motivation behind this is to draw students to God, give them an alternative way of spending their free time and providing a priceless platform
of socializing and integrating with one another. The coffee bar sessions are usually kicked off by motivation or biblical encouragement by the cartographer. For your sake let me digress and say a cartographer is a person who creates maps, and in The Journey context, this is a person, or a leader for that matter who leads the journey community, kind of give them a ‘map’ to guide in the ‘journey’. Got it? Anyway, for the JKUAT case the current Journey Campus lead is one Sam
The coffee bar seeks to engage the students and in an interesting and fruitful way. Oh, and of course there’s coffee, and a band! Yes, there’s an amazing Journey band that serenades the students as they go about the activities of the coffee bar. You only need to listen to some of them belting amazing tunes to fully appreciate that JKUAT is a hotbed of talents. One thing worth mentioning is that The Journey is open for every student, and so are their events. So next time ‘hauna form’ or is tempted to drink alcohol, do drugs or engage in any activity your mum or Jesus would frown upon, come to the coffee bar. Here there are good vibes only, and you’ll leave refreshed, with a new perspective and greater purpose for your life!
The Friends Camp
The Journey JKUAT Community does not limit their activities to the confines of the University environment. In February they went for a three day camp out, themed ‘Friends Camp’. The camp was at Gatamaiyu in South Aberdares and was fashioned to basically afford the students a chance to interact, socialize, reflect, and of course have fun.
Such activities are encouraged in the Journey community since they enable members to get equipped with not only social skills but also practical survival skills.
The Journey Sensitization Week
One of the mandates of the Journey JKUAT community is to bring on board as many students as possible to walk their amazing voyage. To this effect they conducted a sensitization week in the University main campus at the beginning of the semester. The initiative entailed entertainment in the form of dances, games and motivational sessions. It took place at the Basketball court near the hostels and had an impressive impact among the students.
Fun Day; The Amazing Race
On Sunday, 3rd April the JKUAT Journey community had their version of amazing race around the school compound. This was basically a fun day where the students got to engage in competitions, various sporting activities among others. It offered an opportunity to reflect, let off steam and freshen up with new energy for the new month, the last month of the semester.
I cannot possibly highlight everything that the Journey community was engaged in in the course of the semester . There are a lot more that this great team does and engages in that can’t all possibly be featured…from the game nights, community activities and even inter-university sporting activities just to mention a few.
The bottom line is that it was a great experience for these students. With their slogan of belong, believe, become, they cruised through the semester and can only look forward to another successful one. The Journey has had an amazing impact in the life of students, so much impact that I can’t possibly document here in entirety. This is not an opinion but a simple statement of fact. One Lilian Jeruto says this of the Journey “There’s so much transformation of character. Since first year it has taught me servant-hood. It makes students become passionate in each and everything they undertake. There’s so much love in the community, and anyone is always welcome to join us.” Another member of the Journey JKUAT community, one Juney Karisa says “The Journey has been like my second family, home away from home. I simply can’t trade the priceless experience I’ve had, the friends I’ve made and the life lessons I’ve learnt.”