Bassey, Christian Agala
My Role as an Alumnus to my Alma Mater and Alumni Association
Written by: Bassey, Christian Agala (Green House, 2011 set).
Some months back, I had need of my WASSCE results originals so I had to go to the college to get it. On getting there I was chanced to see Mr. Essien, the man who gave me introductory lessons in physics and made physics as easy as “cake and pie” and he shamed me, he said something that made me realise I had failed in my duties as an alumnus of F.G.C Ikom. I'll share what he said later on, but first let me highlight the role an alumnus has to play to his alma-mater as well as his alumni association. To a large extent, Alumni have a huge role in ensuring the continued development of an institution and to this end individual alumnus have a duty to the institution to embody the ideals of the college stated in her vision statement – Excellence in knowledge, skill and character – ensuring that their conduct is becoming of an ex-student of the college.
The roles I as an alumnus have to play in the development of my alma mater is not limited to just embodying the virtues of the institutions, but also to give back to the institution as I gained so much more than just an education from the college, characters were built, skills were acquired and friendships unbreakable were forged. Giving back through donations or sacrificing time is a role an alumnus has to play which would go a long way to support the college. Donations can go a long way to provide funding for outstanding students financially incapable of providing for themselves. Such donations can also be used to revamp and refurbish the school facilities without waiting on government funding or support as we all know it comes a little too late.
The sacrifice of time to serve in my alma mater is a basic role, maybe the most important role for me as an alumnus since teachers have sacrificed their time building us up, it is only right I sacrifice a little of my time every once in a while to attend college functions as part of an alumni body, sacrifice time to aid the teachers as support staff in courses I am capable of teaching, mentor the younger ones, motivate them and challenge them to greater heights. He who builds a child, builds a generation. Perhaps this has been my greatest failing as an ex-student of the college, not giving back to the society that made me all those years ago.
I can always start now as a volunteer staff at F.G.C Ikom, it’s not too late to mould young minds to greatness, a month of teaching in an academic session is not bad and yes, all these are achievable as an individual, but in identifying with the national body much more is achievable. It is not enough to have graduated from the college, it is not enough to have a network of friends to rely on from your set, it is not enough to volunteer one month a session as support staff but we should be able to identify with members of other sets, we should be able to have support staff volunteering each month a year or each week a year as their schedule allows, here I believe my role in the alumni association comes to bear. As an individual, an alumus of F.G.C Ikom I have a role of creating networks of ex-students and forming an alumni chapter wherever I find myself ensuring support to the national body, creating events that raise awareness and support of my alma mater as well as foster unity among alumni members.
The prime role when all is said is the sacrifice of time, availability for other members of the association, presence in meetings and identification as an F.G.C. Ikom alumni wherever I find myself. What Mr. Essien said to me that shamed me greatly was this “So you graduated and haven't come back once even for a carol or inter-house sports event, you have forgotten the place that laid your foundations, you think it’s only by calling me on phone that you can show appreciation? Visit once in a while, show this young one that you can be successful and motivate them. I wish you were still little I would have flogged you with my bunsen burner!” believe me the man still has the capacity to instil fear of his bunsen burner in me. He was right, I had forgotten my duties to the college perhaps we all have, but who am I to judge when posterity stands by? I remember my duties as an alumnus, and I believe it’s not too late for us all to remember.