President of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) of Ghana Institute of Management & Public Administration (GIMPA), Samuel Anim Addo, has called for enhanced collaboration between the institute and the student leadership.
Anim Addo explained that the new phase of contemporary SRC leadership is not only to point out challenges facing the student body, but also to articulate in a constructive way, alternative solutions to the challenges.
He said this is achievable only with school and the SRC are in a constant jaw-jaw and willing to compromise for the mutual interest of all stakeholders.
Anim Addo was recently nominated as the Best Student Leader in the country, and NEWS-ONE caught up with him to explain his trials and triumphs as SRC president of GIMPA.
What have you done for the students for far?
Practically, the SRC here in GIMPA has just some eight months left to stay in office and we were sworn into office at the threshold of vacation and even before we could settle down, school had gone on vacation but we decided to use the vacation period to work anyway.
Our first task was to go straight in search of the best of human recourse to occupy curtail positions like the positions of chief justice, speaker of our parliament, chief of staff, welfare committee chair and other portfolios in the general assembly without which we cannot function. Simultaneously, we were also refurbishing our offices because the place had deteriorated and did not befit the status of the student leadership of a prestigious institute as GIMPA.
We raised funds on our own and contracted a professional to do the facelift and interior décor for all our offices. Your working environment tells a lot about who you are and we do not want to embarrass ourselves before the several guests who would be visiting our offices.
Just when that was done, our team had to go for a training programme in leadership. Normally, some elected student leaders do not have any leadership background and it is necessary to take them through some capacity enhancement. Again, there was no money for this so on our own, my team was able to raise funds for this training.
Everything you have done seems to be about your office and executive.
No. That is not true. There are several good things we have done to find solutions to crucial challenges facing the GIMPA students. And I must add, we sacrificed our vacation to do most of such projects which were financed by myself and my team. For example, some of our students are nursing mothers who come to campus with their babies. They cannot send the babies into the lecture halls, meanwhile the babies’ room was in a very sorry state. Quickly and while school still was on vacation, we renovated and refurnished the babies’ room to make it baby-friendly. Again, we contracted a professional paediatric and persons who have some specialised training in child care before we settled on the choice of toys, theme for the décor of the room and issues of ventilation. This was expensive but we had to look for the money because it was a challenge for our students with babies.
Another worry of the students was that after lectures at night, the walk ways get very dark and there are no street lights. My team again, within the vacation period sought sponsorship to purchase high quality and durable streetlight which would be more than enough to brighten up our campus. It is sad that management of the school has not given us the permission to put up the lights. Such things are beyond the SRC. We have purchased the lights for the school and management ought to cooperate with us to fix the lights. I am disappointed that cooperation between the management team of GIMPA and the SRC with specific regards to the fixing of these highly expensive and much needed street lights have not been the best. But sometimes, leadership is about tenacity and lobbying so we have not given up because there are still reports of snakes and reptiles which pose a danger to students at night.
Are you saying that the GIMPA’s management is not cooperating with the SRC?
I just gave you one clear example and there are several others. Can you believe that my executives have been able to lobby the Minister for Sports, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, and he is ready to build a mini sports complex for GIMPA but this project has delayed because the management of the school say they need the approval of the council before they can show us which part of the school to locate the mini sports complex. It is disappointing.
Again, we are lobbying a few companies to build for us an SRC complex which would come with an ultra-modern library, a reading room, a study centre, a befitting cafeteria, offices, a date center, hostels, a conference room, a theatre and other facilities, but again, management is not giving us the approval because they are working for council. We have an eight-month mandate which would soon expire and we need the approval of the council to convince the companies to take us serious. And the approval is not coming. These are the type of bottlenecks I am trying to explain to you.
You are saying without the council, your SRC cannot function?
It depends on the type of project we want to do. Certainly we need the council’s approval for the examples in cited. But, we have other projects we can do on our own.
A fortnight ago, we held a well-attended press conference where we detailed our plans and programmes to the media.
Last week, the SRC organised a grand star-studded happy hour and barbecue event for the students, where we invited some poplar musicians to perform for the students.
We have organised a successful health-walk, we have teamed up with Zoom Lion on a sanitation exercise in and around our environs. One sanitation exercise was held at the Dome Market where we led the clean-up and took time to educate the traders on best sanitation practices.
Periodically, we invite companies to come to the school to expose our students to what opportunities are available out there, we invite experts to take us through human resource seminars, our student clubs and associations are very vibrant and continue to work closely with the SRC and from next week, our fresh students would start arriving so we have planned a week-long activities to welcome them.
What is the future like for your SRC?
Even before you talk of the future, it is worthy of note that my SRC executive members and I have gone very far in our attempt to secure a bus for the students. We are about 70 percent through and we hope to speed up the lobbying process to get this done before end of this semester.
I want to raise the yardstick for grading the SRC. Student leadership is serious business. To succeed, one must know how to balance a little bit of politics, corporate administration, human resource management and financial discipline. I want to work very hard for my people and set a mark in the school so that posterity would refer to my era and as a reference point when talking about persons who championed some positive landmark achievements for the school.