Mount Kenya University (MKU) has launched a staff cafeteria and fitness centre at its main campus in Thika town and is planning to construct a similar facility at its Kigali campus in Rwanda.
Vice chancellor Prof Deogratius Jaganyi VC termed the facility as first class, with state-of-the art equipment and encouraged his staff to make maximum use of it.
“Our chairman, Prof Simon Gicharu, observed that our staff have been using exercise facilities which are not quite up to standard,” he said.
While launching the facility, Gicharu said the university’s staff health insurance provider can lower related insurance premiums if the university workers take to serious exercise at the gym.
“Exercise is the best medicine especially at this time of the Covid-19 pandemic. This facility is a comfort gym for our staff members,” he said.
“This is another milestone achievement at MKU. From now henceforth, MKU will be counted amongst the few universities in the country that have a state-of-the-art Senior Common Room. Our students are equally supported through various Recreational facilities in MKU campuses that host a number of sporting activities,” Gicharu said.
The chairman said the idea and initial plan of the gym and restaurant was the brainchild of Dr. Peter Kirira, formerly the Director of the MKU Foundation.
“The Dean of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Jane Kanjuru designed and ensured we have a top-notch staff cafeteria,” he added.
Gicharu said according to research, when one engages regularly in physical activity, for about two – three hours duration twice per week or 1 hour per day of participation in physical activity improves both physical and mental health.
“The two facilities, which we are launching, will bring the staff together, enhance their socializing, and assist in developing a strong bond,” he said.
While praising the MKU chairman Gicharu for investing in staff welfare, Janganyi said a similar facility is now in the planning stage for the MKU Kigali campus in Rwanda.
“In our current strategic plan, we have called for excellence in delivery of programmes, which include hospitality projects. This facility is also a new platform for training of our students,” the VC added.
Also under construction is a Convention centre in Thika campus. The facilities being launched add to the modern academic resources needed and business units to support practical training, internship opportunities for students in the school of Hospitality, Travel and tourism management.
These include but not limited to; Golf residence in Mombasa County – supporting school of Hospitality, Travel and Tourism Management; TV47 (Kenya) and Royal FM radio (Rwanda) supporting practical and professional journalism training and internship opportunities to the students and alumni.
Prof Jaganyi challenged university students and graduates to be more innovative, saying there are several opportunities which they can explore to create jobs instead of just waiting to be employed, yet job opportunities have shrunk.
“There are also several institutions that are willing to help the young people incubate their innovative ideas and even help them realize them,” he said.