Over the past few weeks, Katangites have witnessed some remarkable purchases and some notable changes in some blocks in the hall. The mystery behind all of this was unravelled on Friday, 27th of August 2021, when the Indy Hall Alumni Association commissioned the newly renovated reading rooms of the Great Independence Hall. On the tail of this commissioning was a memorable event at the International Conference Centre to mark the hall’s 60th anniversary. These remarkable events certainly struck a chord in the heart of Katangites. The whole commissioning ceremony, the camaraderie of the members of the Alumni association, and the enthusiasm displayed towards the hall should have lit a fire in the heart of the students. These happenings are symbolic; lessons were passed across, a new movement came into life. What are the significant matters this should bring to our consciousness?
The Alumni Association and the Torch of Change
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
― Margaret Mead
By the tenets of rationality, it is safe to conclude that the Indy Hall Alumni association took the right step in the right direction. Their actions are like lit torches; lit torches that can be passed down from one generation to another. They have not only launched the hall on a trajectory of change, they have been able to build a structure for continuity and blaze the trail for subsequent actions for all other stakeholders involved.
According to Dr. Badru, a one-time Administrator-General of the hall and a member of the alumni association, choosing to renovate the reading room first was a collective decision over what structure would pass the loudest message of camaraderie. It was chosen to top the list of preference because the body recognizes how pivotal it is to the academics of the students. As expected from this spark of change, the results were nothing short of excellent. The reading rooms were fully equipped with proper tables and chairs, wall sockets and air conditioning machines.
Aside from doing all of that, they did make provisions for the continuity of these projects. As of now, the Alumni association of the Great Independence hall has a website and a platform for fundraising. What started from the WhatsApp group of past Adminstrator-Generals has bloomed into a duly registered association that has the potential to be sustainable. On the alumni website is a list of high priority renovations this noble body intends to make. In the same vein, this body has also created a template for the new members and consequent advancement of the noble cause.
On these notes, it is only proper to accord praise to whom praise is due. The actions of the stakeholders of this body and every other individual that contributed to the success of those projects have left indelible marks in the sands of time. These actions are nothing short of laudable. Just like Margaret Mead opined, if structures like this are put in place and built to function, they could create ripples strong enough to effect laudable changes in the University polity and in the country at large.
Independence Hall and Renovation Issues – A Bold Call to Action
The current circumstances surrounding renovations in the Great Independence Hall have made it an over-flogged issue. Like every other hall of residence in the University environment, the residents of the hall have moaned, whined and hoped in expectation of an action or a statement of accountability from the hall management. The best the student body got last session was an account of the Hall’s expenses, electricity consumption and the contributions of the neighbouring communities to that upsurge.
While the student body sat helplessly, incapacitated by the boundaries of jurisdiction and the unavailability of finances, the Alumni association stood to the rescue. These Katangites noticed the deplorable state of things and made the decision to initiate a turning point. In a fund raising statement issued by the Alumni association, they specifically raised the issue of the toilets, the reading room, power supply and the gates.
While this is a step in the right direction, it is an indirect message to the hall and school management to take active steps towards correcting some of these despicable structural declines. Of course, bodies like the Alumni association are part of the sustenance mechanism of the hall. However, it would be a wrong step if the hall completely relies on them to fix managerial inconsistencies. Even if the Alumni association is actively working towards fixing these issues, the Hall Management needs to answer to these: what about our plumbing system? How long should we wait till the hall gets a facelift? What about the hall entrance? How long should we ask questions before these things are addressed? Are there any plans for the students? Does the management think we deserve answers? At the very least, the management should show empathy by attending to these needs, even if it’s a gradual attempt!
The A Block and C Block reading rooms are almost alien in the hall — their beauty and neatness are parallel to the current state of other things in the hall. It is therefore expedient for the hall management to embark on the facelift of the hall; it is long overdue! Indy Hall is a 60-year-old woman who needs makeup.
Dear Alumni Association, Here are Some Suggestions for Continuity
Just like every good deed in life, Katangites, the executive body, the alumni association, and the management would all want a repeat of this sort of action. Apart from the structures put in place already, here are some suggestions on how to encourage continuity:
- To encourage an increase in the number of registered alumni members, active steps should be taken to enlighten the final year students of registration. It could be done that Finalists would be instructed to register as part of their final clearance out of the Hall of residence.
- Since the Alumni body is not near its capacity, there should be active plans for expansion. The alumni body could also leverage the Hall’s record as an avenue to reach out to some other members that are not aware. The use of big socials like Facebook would be instrumental in achieving this feat. Also, the data promised to the association by the Director of the University Advancement Centre would come in handy. At this time, the association should consider forming a community whose focus will be on expansion and reaching out to prospective members of the association.
- The bane of functional structures like that would be bitter politics. It would be beneficial to all the parties involved if the camaraderie that was displayed at the commissioning ceremony remains the underlying driving for the body’s administration.
Dear Students: A Call to Civility
While we are revelling in the euphoria of a step forward, wisdom dictates that we sit down, evaluate where we are coming from, and learn from our mistakes. It is true that the hall needs to pay attention to certain renovations, but how far have we sustained the effected changes? For instance, the hall management carried out an all-round renovation of doors in the Independence Hall, early last session. Around that same time, the railings on the corridors were also fixed. In that same streak, the toilet seats and flush systems were fixed – all in one massive attempt at repair.
Despite all of this, let’s look back and evaluate the present conditions of these things. How long did the doors last? What about the toilet seats, how presentable are they now? Are the railings still fastened to their original position? Of course, it is justifiable to call for renovations, what about maintenance? How far did the students go at keeping these structures functional? Would we blame the management for all of that too? Are these actions good enough to encourage continuity?
The same thing applies to the new reading rooms. While this project is purported to be the start of a roller-coaster, it is also a litmus test of whether we are qualified for the proper structures or not. The state of these chairs, tables and air conditioning machines by the end of a year would be our message (of gratitude or otherwise) to the Alumni association. There need not to be a fine system to check our excesses; the execution of these projects should be a call to our civility, our education and our acclaimed greatness. Wisdom demands that we are patriotic and civil enough to maintain these structures for the sake of posterity and continual development.
In sum, despite the hurdles of incompetence and unfulfilled promises, it is a fair evaluation to say that the 60th anniversary of this great all of residence has been remarkable. Hopefully, the stakeholders (the hall residents, executives and the management body) would take a cue from this and work hand in hand with to ensure sustained development of the hall. Aluta Continua!!
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