The University of Ghana Students Representative Council (UGSRC) has reached a significant milestone, as it celebrates its 65th anniversary. Since its establishment, the UGSRC has been at the forefront of advocating for the welfare of students, promoting their academic and extracurricular interests, and engaging in national and international affairs that impact the student community. Over the years, the UGSRC has become an essential part of the University of Ghana’s governance structure, and its contributions to student development and leadership cannot be overemphasized.
As part of ways to celebrate this achievement, the current SRC executives thought it wise to celebrate the 65 years, beginning with a launch.
The launch took place at the Biochemistry auditorium on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. The anniversary will be on the theme ” Celebrating six decades of student representation, the digital journey ahead”.
The event was however marred by some issues that made it difficult for attendees to fully engage and enjoy the celebration. In this opinion piece, I will examine some of the positives of the launch and then some aspects that did not go well and suggest ways that the SRC can improve its future events.
Here are some positive takeaways from the launch.
Innovative and timely theme
Firstly, the theme of the event, “Celebrating six decades of student representation, the digital journey ahead”, was a great choice. It effectively captured the essence of the event, which was to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the University of Ghana’s Student Representative Council (SRC).
We are currently living in a digital age where technology has become an integral part of our daily lives. By incorporating this into the theme, the organizers of the event showed that they are aware of the changing landscape and the need to adapt to new technologies. This is an important consideration for the University of Ghana SRC, as it prepares its students for the demands of the modern world.
The theme represents a new focus for the University of Ghana, as it looks towards the future of student representation. By emphasizing the “digital journey ahead”, the event recognized the importance of technology in shaping the way that students engage with their representatives and with each other. This focus on the future demonstrates the University of Ghana’s commitment to staying at the forefront of innovation and progress in which it captures as “Adapting technology” in its 75th anniversary theme.
Good choice of speakers and guests
Another positive aspect of the event was the lineup of speakers. Bringing in Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, a well-known figure in Ghanaian politics and former SRC President himself, added credibility and relevance to the event. The Dean of Student Affairs, Prof Rosina Kyerematen’s presence also showed the University management’s support of the SRC activities and a go- ahead to continue promotion of students’ welfare.
Additionally, having other SRC Presidents speak provided a diversity of perspectives and insights into the challenges and successes of student representation over the years. Their speeches were informative and engaging, and left the audience with a deeper understanding of the history and significance of the SRC.
Good way to engage student graphic designers
Lastly, the logo competition for the 65th anniversary of the University of Ghana SRC logo launch was a great way to engage students and showcase their creativity. By inviting submissions from students, the event organizers not only encouraged participation but also fostered a sense of ownership and pride among the student body. The winning design was unveiled at the event and received a lot of positive feedback from the audience.
These positive aspects helped to make the event memorable and impactful, and highlighted the important role that student representation plays in shaping the future of universities and societies at large.
Aside all these positives some activities marred the swift flow of the event. They have been listed below.
Late Start of Event
The anniversary launch started an hour later than scheduled, causing frustrations among attendees who may have made arrangements to attend the event on time. The representative of the UG Alumni said he even came before 2 pm as stipulated on the flyer, only for the event to start minutes after 3 pm.
When the alumni member mounted the stage, the first issue he decided to talk about was the youth and time and how the youth of today don’t stick to the agreed time all in the name of ” GMT” (Ghana Man Time). This delay could have disrupted the rest of the event schedule, leading to a rushed and disorganized program. This is a significant issue that could have been avoided by proper planning and timely execution.
Poor Introduction of Chairperson
Some events that left me on edge and gritting teeth began with the introduction of the Chairperson.
When the MC, Frederick Brooks introduced Edward Boateng to introduce the speaker, it took close to 4 minutes for him to walk unto the stage, he looked like he wasn’t ready, from the back I could see him consulting some of his colleagues, didn’t know what it was but, worst off, he runs out of the auditorium, then came back before he climbed the stage, made a number of unpardonable mistakes before he picked up.
The chairperson was Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, a former SRC President of the University of Ghana. He is also the former Minister for Youth and Sports. Recently, he contested for the National Secretary of the National Democratic Congress where he lost to Fiifi Kwetey.
To introduce such a noble personality, for a grand event, it should have been better.
No Program Outline
Another exposition was that, there was no program outline for the event, It was shocking to realize there was no program outline, at least even if there was, it wasn’t available to anyone and even the chairman of the event, Honourable Elvis Afriyie Ankrah. He complained of not having the outline although he had been made to chair the event. He said he was called to chair the event just the day before.
Here are his words;
” So I had a call yesterday afternoon, that I was supposed to chair this program, I didn’t know about it, and so I said how can you call me to chair a meeting, a program of the crème de la crème of society because we are talking about university students, they are very smart, they are very objective and analytical and you call me at the last minute that you want me to chair a program, and they said well we sent the letter, it was out there but we forgot, so I’m here to come and chair the program, I haven’t seen any program outline yet so I guess I am going to follow my instincts and speak to you as younger brothers and sisters…”
Although if you were at the event, you might not take it as tough as it appears here because he made it sound jovial this is disrespectful, poor planning and organization, and although he might not say it, that has left a lasting impression on him on organizational and planning skills of the SRC.
The lack of a program outline made it difficult for attendees to understand the structure and flow of the event, leading to disorientation. A proper program outline would have provided attendees with a clear understanding of each segment’s proceedings and purpose. Creating an outline isn’t difficult especially when we are focusing on digitalization where we could just scan to download.
Poor briefing of speakers
The guest speakers at the event were also not properly informed of their speaking roles in advance, which could have impacted the quality of their presentations. Without adequate preparation or briefing, the guest speakers may have struggled to deliver coherent or relevant speeches that effectively contributed to the theme or objectives of the event.
The Dean of Student Affairs, Prof. Rosina Kyerematen did not seem enthused about the development. Here is what she said;
” I was telling Hon Afriyie Ankrah that I wasn’t told I was going to make a presentation, I think next time, you need to do things properly, you need to send us an outline or the program, so that if we want to prepare, we do so I’d just say a few things extempore since I didn’t prepare for any speech”
The former SRC President, Dr. Syvlester Amoako also said the same when he mounted the stage to speak. Luckily these speakers were those who could do these things on their feet so it wasn’t much of a big deal. If the main speakers are telling you these in public, it means that they are hurt by your actions. The whole thing still boils down to planning and program outline.
It was as though, every activity was going to be based on which guest showed up.
When I was coming for the event, my roommate wanted to join but wanted to know how long it will last I told him it may be an hour and a half since it was just the launch but the event lasted for almost 3 hours. Why should it take that long? I even heard there was supposed to be a panel discussion but was cancelled because of time. I believe the launch should have just been brief, simple, and concise. I still remember the launch of the UG at 75 anniversary last August. It was just a 75 minutes event, to show timelines and 75 years of proceeding with integrity. The SRC could have done the same if the event was well thought out and organized.
Launch and Unveiling of Logo
After the SRC President and his vice delivered their speech, the University’s anthem was played and the logo was introduced in a video form via a projector. After that, shirts with the logo printed on them were held out by the executives and they took pictures. Then, Felix Appiah, the student who designed the logo was awarded.
What they missed in all that, was the relevance of the logo, why that logo was selected, and what did the colours mean, I saw some piano-looking keys on the bottom of the 5 but nothing was said about its relevance. There was a better way to have introduced the logo, maybe a poetry performance, an appellation, a cultural display, a spoken word, or a well-written piece on UG SRC is 65. Then give a breakdown of the significance of the logo.
Publicity and Media Coverage
For the pre-event, the SRC did well with publicity using their social media platforms.
I however wondered why they failed to make use of the src email account that gave them access to all students on campus. Then around, 2:41 pm the email account, sent the flyer for the launch through the University’s mail.
Why did they have to wait till when the event was about to start before doing that? when in fact, a day before they had wished the SRC Vice President a happy birthday through the same mail, what prevented them from blasting the mail with a countdown to the launch but doing that minutes before the event?
University of Ghana SRC needs to improve its organizational and execution skills when planning future events. The SRC should prioritize proper planning, timely execution, and effective communication to ensure that attendees can fully engage and enjoy the celebrations.
The University of Ghana SRC’s 65th-anniversary launch was not a great event to begin the celebration of an incredible feat. It is imperative that the SRC considers this feedback and makes the necessary improvements to its future events. By doing so, the SRC can ensure that its events are well-organized, engaging, and enjoyable for attendees.
Little advice, treat the 65th anniversary of the SRC like management treats the 75th anniversary.
Article by; Gideon Nicholas Day- Host of Radio Univers Morning show; Campus Exclusive | Producer and Content Writer| univers.ug.edu.gh