Invited guests (seated) with staff of USP’s Labasa Campus during 50th Anniversary celebration.
Tears of pride and laughter were the order of the day as The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Labasa Campus concluded its “Moment to Shine” with some inspirational words from several speakers on 18 July 2018.
Chief Guest Mr Selemo Drokamaisau, Divisional Educational Officer Northern, told the audience that, as the University’s alumnus, he felt the University was the leading regional institution for several reasons.
Mr Drokamaisau added that this was because of the unique Pacific culture engendered by having a wide diversity of students from different Pacific nations and backgrounds.
He spoke of the multi-lingual campuses with Fiji being the Hub of the Pacific and complemented the University on the high level of research conducted and the large number overseas students that congregate within the USP community.
Mr Drokamaisau commented on the plans for USP to incorporate campuses in Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and Papua New Guinea and pondered the point that the 50th Anniversary was merely a milestone in a much longer journey on which the University had embarked.
Dr Guilio Paunga, Vice-President Regional Campuses and Estates and Infrastructure told the students that they carried the hopes of their families today just as their Pacific forefathers had carried the hopes of their families when they ventured across the Pacific in canoes in days past.
Student orator, Ms Mereoni Waqa, challenged her classmates to be the “best or nothing at all” when she questioned them as to why they chose USP as their choice of tertiary institution, later providing them with the answer.
She highlighted that USP is the premier University of the region as had been proven by fifty (50) years of hardworking, dedication and commitment to the people of the Pacific across fourteen (14) Campuses and 10 Centres.
Alumnus, Mrs Milika Nauca shared her story of completing her Degree in 2013 then finishing her Postgraduate studies in 2017 as an extension student.
The mother of six (6) explained that only through the flexibility and assistance provided by USP she was able to complete her studies, proving that distance and family was not a barrier to education.
Mrs Nauca drew gasps of admiration as she recounted how she submitted her last Postgraduate assignment at 1:00 pm and then gave birth to her 5th child eight (8) hours later.
After this narrative, her encouragement to current students of “never lose hope, whatever the challenges” was particularly powerful.
Another alumnus, Mr Petero Sioweli, talked about his lifelong professional journey with USP.
Sharing their teenage years together, USP was thirteen (13) years old and he nineteen (19) when he first enrolled in 1981, to complete his diploma in teaching.
After struggling as an extension student, he returned in 1988 to complete an “in service” scholarship.
After a long teaching career, he fell back in love with USP when Labasa Campus Director Dr Samuela Bogitini persuaded to continue with his lifelong learning.
The Labasa Campus also held an Alumni function on the same day where the success of their “Moment to Shine” was celebrated.
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