Founder’s Week 2021: How We Kept Hope Alive
Sometimes, there are things we do as part of a tradition without really considering where the practices may have originated. It’s easy to forget that many of the rituals that we automatically take part in today had their roots in something entirely different — and sometimes surprising. Why does a wedding party include a best man? Do birthday candles have any special meaning, or are they’re just fun to blow out? Why do we make New Year’s resolutions?
Strathmore University has a unique history stretching from pre-independent Kenya. Our Founder, Saint Josemaría, inspired a legacy of working together towards the same aim, despite our differences – thus our motto: Ut Omnes Unum Sint – that all may be one. It is for this reason that, since 2016, we have celebrated our history and heritage through the #StrathFoundersWeek. The purpose? It’s a special time during which we, the Strathmore folk, immerse ourselves into his teachings.
Keeping Hope Alive
Amidst the great trials, tribulations and adversities brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, it may at one moment have crossed our minds that hope is bleak given the current times and circumstances. For many individuals, families and organisations, the last 18 or so months have created a sense of hopelessness. We’ve encountered an influx of difficult moments: the devastation of sickness and hospitalization of family members, death and grief, lost jobs and shattered businesses. An overall sense of chaos, disorder and pain seems to reign.
One would then dare to ask, ‘Where is our hope’? Do we really have any reason to be optimistic of a better tomorrow? Our Founder St. Josemaria, while he met many adversities himself, remained ever hopeful and often preached the message of hope throughout his lifetime. This year, to elevate our hopes and inject optimism into the Strathmore University community, we focused on how to #KeepHopeAlive, drawing inspiration from our Founder’s teachings and our personal experiences.
To mark the week-long celebrations of our Founder, the University held a series of events involving students, staff, faculty, trustees, alumni, and friends. The hybrid events ranged from high tea for the housekeeping team, catering staff, fashion ladies, groundsmen, and the security team who are integral in making Strathmore a home away from home. During the Eucharistic procession- a public witness of the veneration of the Holy Eucharist, staff, students, and friends intoned songs, and prayers for their families, colleagues, classmates.
We also had the privilege of witnessing first-hand testimonies of real-life heroine and heroes in Anne Njoroge, Prof. Aranguren, and Henry Wanyoike, who, despite life handing them every reason to give up, rose up, kept hope alive, and came out stronger than before.
At the height of the 2021 #StrathFoundersWeek, Stratizens gathered at the graduation square for an outdoor movie night – the first since 2019 due to the pandemic. This next level entertainment featured beaming faces of Stratizens, cozy hay bales for seats, ambient outdoor fairy string lighting under the tents, great decor, music and dance, a movie, well, two movies… and of course, burgers and mocktails!
Concluding the fun and hope-filled week was a cocktail for staff members at the Kilimanjaro Cafeteria. Despite the dark clouds and early scares of a downpour, the mood was an ecstatic one. Staff members showed that they too, still know how to have a good time – they proved to be good company, provided a light hearted atmosphere, a competitive spirit through the Kahoot Founder’s trivia and gave a dose of humour by performing Karaoke pieces.
This article was written by Francis Kabutu and Wambui Gachari.
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