Brick by Brick: Tracing the evolution of the SU Culture
“Straki”? Hmmm! Does that sound like an institution’s name? Well, when Strathmore College merged with Kianda College in 1993, there need to embrace both institutions. The name “Straki” was floated but aren’t we all glad the team settled on ‘Strathmore’ instead! This was one among the many memories shared by our speakers, Ms. Dorina Telaide – Director, Administration Services and Special Advisor to the Vice Chancellor, and Dr. George Njenga, Executive Dean, Strathmore University Business School (SBS). Moderating this nostalgic conversation held on May 12th was Caroline Wakori, Manager, People and Culture.
What are some of the memories of the early days of Strathmore College that were shared?
- Back in the 90s and early 2000’s, everyone on the campus knew each other personally. This included staff, faculty, and students. With such relationships, no one was a stranger.
- The cafeteria had only one menu and the ladies sat on one side while the gentlemen sat on the opposite side.
- Individual staff birthdays were celebrated by all staff members while family members were part of the Christmas party celebrations.
- Though both Kianda and Strathmore College were hosted on the Madaraka campus, each took possession of opposite sides of the Central Building in then Phase one (now Sangale Campus). Either gender dared not venture to the other side.
- To help students comply and blend into the culture, which was foreign to some, staff members went out of their way to give personalized attention based on dress code, personal etiquette, and personal care. For example, Roseline Lubullelah, lecturer at SBS, once welcomed a student challenged by the newness of life at Strathmore, to her home for a period of six months so as to assist her adjust seamlessly.
- Before the main chapel was completed in 1998, Mass was held in the basement of the Central Building. Staff members sat on plastic chairs donated by Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL), much to the amusement, and sometimes consternation of first time visitors.
How can we eradicate the silo mentality and bring back the personalized attention?
The speakers, while sharing fond memories of the past, pointed out ways in which the SU community can correct the course on which we are on.
Dr. Njenga emphasized students cannot be just numbers while staff or faculty cannot be merely categorized as resources. In addition, Ms. Telaide urged staff members to live up to our motto – Ut Omnes Unum Sint – that all may be one: We should strive to share not only joys but endeavor to bear each other’s sufferings.
Even as we look forward to a time when we can freely be on campus, take time and reach out. What other ways can we use to contribute to the strong culture we found at Strathmore?
- By being constantly aware and taking an interest in what is happening around campus. You can achieve this by taking a keen interest in the activities organized by various departments and institutes.
- By opening up and getting to know others: Do you have friends from other departments or is your circle limited to your immediate team?
- By making an effort to get to know as many people as possible. Say hi to that unfamiliar face in the cafeteria. You never know, they may be just what you need to spice up your day at work or what they need to escape the weight on their shoulders.
Let us diarize Wednesday, June 9th, 2021, and join the over 130 Strathmore pax who enjoyed the great conversations.
The Explore the SU Way webinar series is organized by the Culture Committee.
This article was written by Annete Karanja.
If you have a story, kindly email: firstname.lastname@example.org