USP students rev up for the new academic year
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September 19, 2014—
Classes starting back up have charged LAU’s campuses with an overwhelming back-to-school buzz. For the fourth consecutive year, 56 recipients of the highly competitive and prestigious University Scholarship Program (USP) descended upon the university’s Beirut campus earlier this month to participate in the official welcoming orientation activities, which included meeting members of the LAU community and familiarizing themselves with the specifics of their grant.
The scholarship covers full tuition, medical insurance, transportation, housing, book costs and also includes a monthly stipend. The daylong event allowed students to become acquainted with the LAU’s USP management team and the Outreach and Civic Engagement unit (OCE), in charge of developing their leadership capacities and their general welfare, as well as giving them the opportunity to ask questions about their scholarship and the university in general.
The elite students were selected not only for their stellar academic achievement but also their dedication to community service and civic engagement. Students will be expected to put their time management skills to the test and get involved in various aspects of campus life while maintaining a high cumulative G.P.A.
A lively presentation on LAU’s campus life introduced students to the wide range of extracurricular available to them. Second-year business student Sarah Hanbali, part of USP’s second cohort, encouraged those entering their freshman year to partake in all that LAU has to offer. “The most influential thing in my life is being the president of the UNESCO club — it has given me the opportunity to attend international conferences and training sessions.”
Many of the former USP freshmen were on hand to give friendly advice and tips on how to navigate university life. Nourhan Ahmar, a second-year chemistry major, says that it’s important for incoming students to feel they have a support system at the university. “I remember when I was in their position last year — I was so anxious, so worried and I had thousands of questions,” she says. Her advice to new students is to work hard and to never give up. “Remember to have a good time and make the most of it — the school year goes by so fast!”
New and veteran USP students were given an opportunity to mingle over lunch and a campus tour. “As students who have already passed this stage our job is to mentor the newcomers and make sure they feel welcome,” says Ahmar.
Iman Alghoun, a freshman majoring in graphic design who starts this fall, says she appreciated the time and effort the LAU community was taking to make sure she and her classmates felt welcome and at ease. “I think I’m ready to handle a full life at LAU, I could not be more excited,” she enthuses.
USP is funded through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and its generous support provides full scholarships to academically high achieving but economically disadvantaged students from Lebanon’s public school system.