The University of the South Pacific, Samoa Campus was teeming with prospective students, parents, teachers, invited guests and friends of University during its annual Open Day on Wednesday, October 6, from 9am to 2pm on the theme: ‘USP: Shaping Pacific Futures’. Approximately 1,000 students representing many colleges in Upolu were among the curious mass that had swarmed into Samoa Campus to witness first-hand what it has to offer. For these students, making informed decisions about best career paths and options for higher learning was the order of the day.
Proceedings commenced with an invocation by Reverend Poasa Suesue, followed by the cultural salutation by Lecturer in Agriculture, Manuleleua Dr. Sonny Lameta, also the Master of Ceremony (MC) of the day. The welcoming remarks ensued, voiced by the Samoa Campus Director, Tootoooleaava Dr Fanaafi Aiono-Le Tagaloa, who extended a warm welcome to everyone in turn: The Chief Guest Honorable Minister – Sports, Education and Culture—Le Afioga Seuula Ioane Tuaau; Reverend Poasa Suesue; Heads and staff of Government Ministries and Corporations; Members of the Diplomatic Corp; Heads and representatives of the Private Sector and Non-Government Organisations; USP’s development partners; Campus staff, students, college principals, teachers and students and the general public. The Campus Director then highlighted the importance of the Open Day as the day of decision-making for students. She urged the students to ‘open your ears, open your eyes’ while on tour of the Campus, so as to learn and decide wisely on the next leg of their educational journey.
The keynote was delivered by the chief guest, Honorable Minister – Education, Sports, and Culture—Le Afioga Seuula Ioane Tuaau. Throughout his keynote address, Honorable Seuula stressed the importance of a quality education and of making good educational choices to the students, citing the University Open Day as a ‘defining day’ in their lives. He traced USP’s 50+ years’ evolution from a ‘good’ to an ‘excellent’ university, all while shaping Pacific futures by transforming students into ‘quality social beings’ who are now ‘drivers of progressive changes’ around the Pacific. The Honorable Minister drew focus on USP’s resilience and thriving-ability in times of crisis, for having attained 2 prestigious rankings from esteemed ranking bodies, amid the crippling effects of Covid-19 around the world: a ranking of 11 for Crisis Management by the renowned World’s Universities Real Impact (WURI); and a ranking among the 10% of the world’s best universities, by the esteemed Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2022. He then impressed upon the students that ‘[T]here is no better time to join USP than NOW,’ most especially, he added, since USP is now ranked among the best universities worldwide, and also because securing good employment is difficult without a qualification from a quality university—like USP. The Honorable Minister concluded with the wise words of a great leader: “Education is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world”, and a reminder to students that if they so choose it, USP could be ‘that powerful weapon’ that can enable them to “change the world.” In parting, the Honorable Minister recited the Samoa-Campus Open Day hashtag “#BeYourBestWithUSP” and its Samoan translation: “#USPTausili” as a final bid to show that USP is the right choice.
The vote of thanks was offered by the Campus Coordinator for Agriculture and Food Technology (AFT)—Assoc. Professor Siaka Diarra. In thanking everyone, Prof. Diarra stressed the importance of the four values of participation, commitment, perseverance and asking questions in the life of a student, values which he stated had earlier been used by the MC to summarize the keynote speech of the Chief Guest.
Other highlights of the day included guided tours to key sections of the University: the IT section, the Library, Student Administrative Services, Campus Life, Estates and Infrastructure, the Library, Student Learning Support, the Farm, Livestock, Laboratories, Finance, and so forth. The guided tours provided students with first-hand information on what each section offers, and how they can support student-learning throughout the semester. At the laboratories and farms, the students gained hands-on experience through participation in different staged experiments and demonstrations. There were fun, engaging quizzes with prizes at the different destinations, and students also gained much information from the USP sponsors’ stalls and displays that were there. Post-tour activities included more quizzes and cultural performances by different student cultural groups which were enjoyed by all until 2pm when the Open Day ended with the closing remarks of the hard-working Chair of the Open Day Committee, Ms Ronna Lee.
See Samoa Campus Open Day photo gallery here.