Make a Difference: MAD Camp Begins Today for AUC Student Leaders
Starting today, the MAD (Make a Difference) camp will begin in Sharm El Sheikh, where 40 AUC student leaders will get together for five days of training, networking and character building, with the final day devoted to a conference in which students will propose a civic engagement and social enterprise project to be implemented in the Egyptian community.
President Francis J. Ricciardone, Dean of Students George Marquis, Associate Vice President for Campus Services Noel Knille and Vice President for Digital Innovation Hanan Abdel Meguid will engage with students at the camp. The governor of South Sinai, Khaled Fouda, will also attend the final day.
“MAD Camp is an annual student training camp that gives leaders of AUC student organizations the opportunity to receive training, network with their peers and learn what it takes to successfully lead an organization,” said Mohamed Alaa ’16, a computer engineering graduate and one of the event organizers who initiated the camp in 2014 when he was still a student. “These ongoing programs are customized so that student leaders have the opportunity to explore topics relevant to their specific roles and organization types.”
The camp is open to presidents of all student organizations and associations at AUC. Interested students were required to fill out an application, after which a camp committee made up of AUC students and a representative from the Office of Student Engagement, which is coordinating with the students in organizing the camp, selected participants based on their answers.
At the camp, students will be divided into four teams and will engage in competitions throughout the five-day event. Each team will come up with a civic engagement and social enterprise project, which they will present at the conference on the final day. One of these projects will be selected by a judging panel for implementation in the Egyptian community.
In addition to competitions, the student-led camp will engage participants in a wide array of activities such as structured training and interactive sessions that emphasize teamwork, leadership traits and character building. Topics covered include how to become an authentic leader, how to lead by example and be committed, as well as personal, social and work values. “Our focus is on developing the characters of students, not just their skills,” explained Alaa. “That’s why we don’t tackle leadership as a skill. We talk about service leadership and leadership authentication. We talk about commitment, about values. These topics tackle people’s characters.”
For Alaa and the other event organizers, the key outcome they expect to achieve is enhancing proactivity. “We are expecting a change in the characters and leadership styles of the participants,” explained Alaa. “We are expecting them to be more proactive in their communities. Being proactive means if you are a leader of an organization, you should take care of your people and pass on your knowledge and experience. Being proactive means if we as students have a problem with the administration, we don’t just stand and shout. Rather, we come up with ideas and discuss them with the administration. Being proactive is all about empowerment.”
Entertainment and fun are also part of the camp, whereby student participants will take part in diving, beach games, a three-kilometer hiking treasure hunt, as well as other physical and mental activities. The organizers also included a “fun room,” where participants could play indoor games during their break time.
Looking forward to engaging with students and listening to their ideas, Dean Marquis said, “I am honored to be asked to participate in such an important event and look forward to meeting new AUC student leaders and working with them as they map out their ambitious goals for the coming year. My involvement in the MAD Camp will help me to hear firsthand from students who care about AUC and our wider community as to how the Office of the Dean of Students can better serve their student engagement needs.”
"I am excited to be part of MAD Camp,” said Vice President Abdel Meguid, “and I am looking forward to engaging with outstanding AUC students on the subject of social entrepreneurship, with a focus on doing great business by doing good.”
And the students share similar sentiments. “We are happy to have President Ricciardone and other members of the AUC administration at the camp to establish a platform of communication with student leaders because they are the ones leading the voice of the student body,” said Alaa. “AUC is special in Egypt and the region because of its student life, and student activities are a big part of that. We would like to hear the president’s input on the civic engagement project we will propose, and when we are back on campus, we will work to have all members of the AUC community participate in this project. This is an initiative from the AUC community to serve the Egyptian community. It’s our duty and responsibility.”
For more information, visit aucmadcamp.com.