The University of Jordan (UJ) has taken a long-awaited, historic step: launching an ambitious fundraising campaign.
Last Wednesday, the UJ’s president addressed a letter to the university community informing them of the administration’s resolve, upon the prior approval by the Board of Trustees and the Deans’ Council, to launch a fundraising campaign on Tuesday, March 19 under the title “UJ’s Development Initiative”.
The ambitious campaign, which hopes to collect 100 hundred million dinars in the coming years, is the first in UJ’s history, as well as the history of the higher education sector in the country.
The practice is widely-known internationally, as many world-renowned universities rely on fundraising as a main source of their budgets.
In our part of the world, this mechanism has almost been non-existent. Some have taken baby steps here and there, but none have fundraised at a large scale and in a sustained manner.
UJ, following the launch on Tuesday, plans to do exactly this, through an earnest, well-organised and sustained drive.
It is pinning high hopes on the initiative and is intent upon making it succeed.
For so many years, the university has relied primarily on tuition fees to sustain itself. In the earlier days, it also relied on governmental financial support.
Between the two, it managed just fine.
Over the past few decades, however, governmental support has dwindled significantly, and fees have largely remained unchanged, two facts which many are unaware of.
As a result, the university found itself unable to foot the bill, not only of so many necessary development processes and projects, but also of the cost of maintaining so many of its aging, obsolescent facilities.
Rather than wait, or resort to raising fees in these difficult economic times, UJ decided to take the initiative to seek solutions through other means, two of which are widely employed by renowned international universities: endowments and fundraising.
Regarding the former, it has taken all the necessary steps, including the establishment of an office to handle logistics, and will launch the drive soon.
As for the latter, it will be launched next week.
The overall purpose of the drive is UJ’s development. Toward this end, UJ has identified its projects and needs very precisely, and the list is available for those who are interested to know how the money will be spent.
It is long, but it includes a number of the following vital projects: a ring road with an environment-friendly means of transportation to ease student movement on campus, the necessary digital infrastructure for the enhancement of teaching and learning, including blended and online learning, its solar energy project, the research and scholarship schemes and a major facelift of the campus infrastructure, facilities and landscape.
UJ is aware, of course, that the culture of fundraising is not well-entrenched in our part of the world, especially when it comes to the higher education sector, and therefore, there will be challenges ahead.
It is, however, intent upon pursuing the initiative with great optimism and determination, targeting the university community first, then the alumni, then Jordanian society and beyond.
The purpose is manifold: offering students the quality education they seek, providing a world-class campus environment, advancing its position regionally and internationally and continuing to contribute to the development and welfare of the country and the nation