The history of Victoria University Kampala will barely be written without the name Peter Isiko, the University’s third guild president. The computer science student on started handed over the guild presidency to another person who name will forever re-echo in the history of the University – Maria Peggey Nabunya, the first female guild president.
In this exclusive interview Peter Isiko dwells deeper into his one year rule as the top ranking student leader of the Ruparelia Group owned University located on Jinja road in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, East Africa. Read on.
How has been your reign as guild president of Victoria University? How can you describe it?
It has been bittersweet because there have been challenges as well as accomplishments. I have had several things that I wanted and managed to do and then others that I didn’t do. But overall I will give my reign as guild president of Victoria University a 60-40 score. The 60 percent is for the achievements and the 40 percent for the challenges I faced.
Talking of challenges, what are some of these challenges?
The biggest challenge has been the response from students. When you are at Victoria University it is not the same as any other local university. The main component of the student body is not native, they are not all Ugandan.
They come from so many different cultures so their interests vary. It is hard to get them on a common ground. Obviously things like sports and clubs they try to contribute but other activities it was not so easy to get a common ground.
The other challenge was the communication gap between administration and students because of the culture issue. If you have a student from South Africa, Zimbabwe or Nigeria, the way they communicate is different from a Ugandan student, typically.
Obviously the administration can communicate something that you as a Ugandan can understand but the Nigerian may perceive it in a different way so you have to bridge the gap. Those are some of the challenges I can point out for now.
And what are some the things you have done for the University as guild president? What are your achievements?
We managed to set up a vibrate sports club where games like football, basketball and swimming are now very strong and vibrate at the university. Before there were no games the University was participating in.
We also managed to build student clubs at the university; the Rotaract Club of Victoria University was chartered. It is now a growing club with a strong a membership of 30 students.
The business club is also up and running, they are having their launch next semester, we couldn’t do it this semester but they recently had a business dinner.
I also managed to build faculty activities. For example the health science faculty, they just had their own health week. The faculty of technology had their technology boot camp under the guild council were the security mobile app was built.
Under my reign I wanted to do two things; one, to show the intellectual prowess of our student and also engage them to the outside world. These I achieved.
How has being a guild president at Victoria University impacted you at a personal level?
I have met so my people in my field, I am a computer science students, who wouldn’t otherwise listen to you twice before but now they pay close attention they say since he is a guild president let us hear what he has to say.
So at a personal level I have made connections with people who are going to help me out professionally the moment I finish university, this being my last semester.
And how has it impacted you academically?
I maintained my good grades throughout like it were but being guild president imparts more pressure on you. Instead of reading for two hours, you might find that you need to find a third extra hour to read maybe because half the time you were not in class or something like that. It gets hectic.
Would you recommend someone to join Victoria University?
Yes definitely, Victoria University is growing. It is a University that looks at high standards, a university that looks out for the best for their students so when someone joins the university they can’t leave the same way they came. They will meet very many high profile people which help their careers.
At the same time, the learning system at Victoria University is not a typical school system, its quite different. It looks out for things that will train you for the future. It is an interesting and different place to study from.
Now that you have tasted leadership as guild president, would you consider joining mainstream politics and political leaders at a national level?
After being guild president, I understand what is required of a leader but usually my principle has been that always go for leadership when there is a change you can bring to the people.
It is not about people loving you or people supporting you but sometimes it is about what change you can bring about in society or community. Right now I don’t see what I can do because my vision right now is to move in the realm of technology development and innovations.
Maybe we can wait and see what the future holds but at the moment no, I don’t see myself going into that kind of leadership.