By Aliah Salih | This story appeared in the Spring 2018 edition of AUCToday.
With AUC’s centennial on the horizon, one question is top of mind: How should AUC celebrate its 100th birthday?
The University shared the task with the public through the Got an Idea? competition to find 100 ways to celebrate AUC’s centennial. Then all the creative energy started to flow in.
Approximately 180 ideas have been submitted, ranging from the creative and innovative to the heartwarming and strange — and it’s becoming hard to choose. Though the committee is still in the process of selection and weighing out the potential of each idea, it doesn’t mind sharing a few — among many — that stood out.
Most of the contributors are keen on having music and art as an inevitable part of the festivities — because what is a celebration without some music? Some of the suggestions are having musicians from AUC perform their groundbreaking work, as well as bringing in alums who went on to become famous singers. This will definitely guarantee a centennial with a unique soundtrack of different voices, genres and energies. Other ideas assert the presence of the arts through AUCian contributions, which include visual arts and theatre. As for those who are not artists per se, one idea is to dig into your old photo boxes and find shots from your glory days at AUC to display in an art exhibition. Others suggest bringing together select community members and having them compose and write a custom AUC song.
Some of the most interesting ideas are telling the story of AUC through fashion, which is possibly one of the most entertaining ways of reflecting on the decades of fashion do’s and don’ts. The suggestions are playing dress-up and snapping photos, or putting together an entire fashion show that showcases the different sartorial creations that AUC witnessed through its students, faculty and staff in the past 100 years. One even recommended having a 1919-themed party, and another went for à le Great Gatsby extravaganza. Overall, we suspect some outfits will be a hit and make a vintage-retro comeback.
Many of the ideas revolve around selecting 100 achievements made by AUC through social media channels, books documenting civic engagement and journals of AUC reflections. Other ideas focus on inviting international and Egyptian influential faculty and prominent alumni and having them speak about their intellectual research and success stories.
“Inviting 100 alumni influencers highlights what AUC is all about — how it contributed to shaping the future of many prominent figures in society,” explained Dina El Turky ’05, ’13. “These figures will show, mentor and assist students on how to give back to the University and society, which is another value we acquired at AUC — to always give back to the community.”
Keeping in line with AUC’s achievements, one of the most intriguing suggestions is finding 100 people whose lives have been changed through AUC. This transformation could have been through academia, social awareness, financial aid, employment or something that hasn’t even crossed anyone’s mind. Through a hashtag like #BecauseOfAUC or #100GratefulAUCians, people can tell stories of how the University helped change their lives.
“It’s my second semester at AUC, and I can sense the impact AUC has had on me. It’s relatable, and I think it’s a great way of thanking our University for 100 years of changing lives,” said student Maisson Hatem Hussein, explaining her hashtag idea. “It would be a memorable hashtag. It would grab the eye, and have people share and read meaningful phrases. Our University will become more associated with positively changing people’s lives.”
Giving back, a distinct trait that makes AUC what it is today, seems to resonate with many. Countless people propose giving away 100 scholarships to prospective students, raising funds for 100 students and granting scholarships to distinct students from across Egypt. One of the most heartwarming ideas is 100 acts of charity, which calls for giving back to the AUC community and beyond through donating money, giveaways, supporting more entrepreneurs and offering training opportunities.
Some ideas look into the future and call for expansion, such as establishing new departments in the next 100 years and building another campus in 6th of October City. Other ideas are guaranteed to warm everyone’s hearts, like finding and honoring the oldest AUCian alive, or highlighting 100 college sweethearts who found love at AUC.
“AUC is not only a place for education. It is also a place were families actually started, and many of them have lasted until today,” said Engi Radwan ’02, who met her husband back in the Tahrir Square campus. “Couples like my husband and I first met at AUC, and love stories were written over the years because of this place. We can show off to our kids and tell them how we started off as friends and how this University brought us closer through education, social networking, events and extracurricular activities — and it all ended up in starting families. AUC will always have a special place in our hearts, and many families like mine will be forever grateful for it.”
Some thought of leveraging the opportunity by planting 100 trees and spreading the word about sustainability. Other ideas are full of wishful thinking, like giving A’s to all students, 100 free days of parking and a tuition discount of EGP 100,000. Still others aim to symbolize AUC’s old school side and its modernity, like designing custom AUC postage stamps and creating virtual reality experiences through both campuses. “AUC’s legacy is primarily all the AUCians who graduated since its founding and their contributions to Egypt and the world across all aspects of life,” said Maged Farrag ’93, parent of a current AUC student.
Farrag proposed creating a 360 video that would be shared on social media platforms as well as played on virtual reality headsets on campus and during centennial events. “We would make a 360 video shooting of the old and new campuses and blend it with archival photos and videos to bring it to life,” he explained. “It would be like a time machine — taking a journey into the campus memories across the years, bringing the old campus to life through an immersive experience. As AUCians, we cherish the moments we spent on campus, and the photos that we keep are part of our legacy.”
In the end, AUC is brimming with all the ingenuity, which we know will generate a series of celebrations that reflect the University’s artistic and intellectual outlook.
By the way, to AUC’s rugby team: We got your 12 ideas about being included. We won’t forget you.
Find out more about the centennial here.