I got the privilege to interview DENNIS MUGAMBI ELEGWA the SAC (Student Affairs Council) Chair Person in USIU-Africa. Words cannot explain how inspired I was by this young gentleman. PART ONE “Let me take you back. Dennis is the chair person in USIU-Africa student government. He lived in the streets of NAIROBI. Used to collect plastics and sell as a way of earning a living. He got the opportunity to study criminal justice in USIU-Africa. He only managed to pay school fees for two semesters but by the third semester he DROPPED OUT!” Victoria: Out of school after 1 year experience in 2011. You had all the time in the world, what did you do?
Dennis: I used to come to USIU-Africa, engage in different activities like drama club. I decided to volunteer in the Marketing and Communication office in USIU-Africa. My work was to collect articles that could be published in the Campus This Week magazine. Students used to view it when they need to be updated on the current activities in school. It helped me to become better in marketing and branding. I always want to do something new that is out of my comfort zone. Life is about learning.
Victoria: Wow. Given the fact that you are shy, am impressed at how well you were able to do marketing. Having volunteered for so many months, what did USIU-Africa do to ease your burden of school fees so that you can resume classes?
Dennis: In spring semester 2012, my friend Ian pressured me to go and apply for Financial Aid. I wrote a letter to the school explaining my situation and they said they will get back to me. After a few months, I was called back to school and was granted a partial scholarship. The school was to pay Sh 80,000 and I was to top up with Sh 10,000. This continued and my deficit of Sh 100,000 was cleared: another miracle.
Victoria: God is truly watching over you. You got a scholarship and you’re deficit was cleared. That’s just but a miracle. What made you want to vie for Chair Person in the student government, the most powerful position in the student government? Dennis: Different politicians started in school government. It was a good platform for me to launch my political career. I had acquired leadership skills, was famous, had new things that I wanted to introduce and opportunities come once. I seized it; came up with an amazing team; had the biggest voter turnout the school has ever seen and all my team members were elected against the 4 strong teams that were contesting.
Victoria: Famous! (laughter). Congratulations on your win. Am sure it was a very hectic time but as always you emerged victorious. Being the new chair person, what developments have you made so far?
Dennis: The school wanted to increases the graduates’ school fees by Sh16, 000 and we were able to convince them to cut it by half, something that has never happened in the history of USIU-Africa. All the event we have organized; Mr. and Miss. USIU-Africa, Campus Award and Graduation Dinner; we made profits. The funds were geared towards empowering the physically challenged students by making sure the school has ramps in all classes for easier access.
Victoria: School fees cut into half, conducive environment for the physically challenged students and profits in all the events you have organized. Tell me more………….
Dennis: Through the help of Kenya Young Parliamentary Association (K.Y.P.A) and other universities, we were able to review the Universities Act and make it more of a Private Institution and more students friendly. Students in private universities were able to get HELB loans which never used to happen in the past; just because a student is in a private university it does not mean they are able, so many USIU-Africa students benefited from it.
Victoria: HELB is finally offered to Students in a Private Higher Education Institution. That is great News. The school offered you a scholarship, what are you doing to help other students who were like you?
Dennis: I try to inform students on the different scholarship we have in USIU-Africa. Information is power. I am in the process of having an Alumni scholarship account where by the USIU-Africa Clubs which are 26 clubs; contribute a certain amount from their budget. The USIU-Africa Alumni association also supports the school by contributing up to Sh 500,000 together with the SAC (Student Affairs Council) office that also contributes towards the course. This will enable us to have more scholarship opportunities for students.
Victoria: I love the way you are trying to make students life easier in your school. What are your future plans?
Dennis: Since am doing criminal justice, I will become a victimologist. This will help me to study political victims, crime victims, war victims. I will be able to talk on behalf of those people so that the government will be able to see their point of view. This will reduce the cases of victimization on the Kenyan people.
Victoria: You are really all about helping your people. That is very selfless of you. What advice would you give to everyone out there who have financial struggles and do not know where to start?
Dennis: All this things come from GOD. Never give up. Everything has its time. Just be determined, persistent and do all you can to achieve your hearts desires. Do your best in everything and you will become successful.
Victoria: I am so honored to have interviewed you. Thank you so much for sharing your life story. 10 years to come, you will be a great man.
Dennis: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to inspire people with my life. Its’ been an honor.
There you have it. Dennis Mugambi, an exceptional student. Determined, hard working and has the peoples best interest I mind. Leave comments…… Follow…….