The American University in Cairo occupies an urban campus. Most students live at home with their families, although most foreign students (over 15 percent of the student body) live in university housing or share furnished apartments.
Student activities and services are promoted and supervised by Student Affairs under the Dean of Students and by the Student Union within the context of university policy and a constitution approved in 1983 by a student body vote, and authorized by the university's administration.
The many extracurricular activities available at AUC reflect the diverse backgrounds and interests of its students. While some events are sponsored and organized by the faculty and administration, most are initiated and carried out by students.
Student Associations and Clubs
The Student Union is composed of elected representatives from each undergraduate major. It provides student representation on university academic and other committees and coordinates the activities of student clubs and organizations.
Student associations and clubs provide a variety of ways for students to share similar interests. Some groups are formed by students from geographic areas, like the Lebanese Cedars Club. Others provide services to the Egyptian community, such as Volunteers in Action. Still others are formed around specific interests or majors, like the Music and Computer Clubs. Student organizations sponsor lectures, films, shows, and exhibitions as well as trips to places of historic, scientific, or other interest in Egypt. Student organizations have a faculty advisor with experience and expertise in the club's area of activity. A new student organization may be formed with recognition from the Student Union and approval by the Office of Student Affairs. All organizations must renew their recognition and approval each year.
Music, Dance, and Art Activities
The Choral Group, Music Group, Egyptian Folk Dance Troupe, and Art Group, along with several other cultural activities groups, are trained by competent professionals on an extracurricular basis throughout the academic year. They compete every spring with students of Egypt's other universities in the National University Cultural Activities Competition. Trips to represent Egypt and The American University in Cairo at festivals abroad are planned periodically for the choral and folk dance ensembles.
Lectures and Concerts
Lectures and conferences held at AUC cover a wide variety of topics and feature scholars, diplomats, political figures, businessmen, and others from the university itself, and from Cairo and abroad. The University's Distinguished Visiting Professor program enables individual departments to host speakers throughout the year. In addition, student organizations invite guest speakers whose lectures are open to the university community.
Musical performances by visiting artists and AUCians are given throughout the year. Concerts feature a wide variety of music including classical and contemporary Arabic music, jazz, and Western classical music performed by local groups like the Cairo Symphony or by international ensembles on tour.
Theatre and Film
The AUC Theatre Company is one of the most active student enterprises and traditionally a meeting ground for students of all nationalities. Under the guidance of the university's drama faculty, students act in and occasionally direct several productions a year ranging from classics to modern experimental theater. They also construct sets and work on costumes, lighting, and makeup. Plays in recent years have included musicals and works by Shakespeare, Brecht, Ibsen, O'Casey, Chekhov, Tennessee Williams, Tawfik el-Hakim, Naguib Mahfouz and Ali Salem. Productions are in English, Arabic, and occasionally French. When AUC's three fully equipped stages -Wallace Theatre, Howard Theatre, and Ewart Hall- are not in use by AUC they occasionally host outside productions.
Films are a favorite form of recreation at AUC, and one of the most widely attended student activities is the Thursday Night Movie series, organized by the Student Union to show good films for the student body at large. The Performing and Visual Arts Department also regularly shows classic films.
Caravan, the student newspaper, is published weekly, in English and in Arabic, and distributed on campus without charge. It is both a learning laboratory for students majoring in journalism and mass communication who receive some academic credit for participation, and a co-curricular activity open to participation by reporters, photographers, and students with writing skills or artistic talent from the student body at large. Over the years many Caravan alumni have become professional journalists in Egypt, elsewhere in the Middle East, and in the West. All student publications activities are guided by faculty advisors.
The university has limited but intensively used athletic facilities on campus, accommodating basketball, boxing, fencing, handball, table tennis, tae kwondo, tennis, volleyball, and wrestling. There are provisions for AUC students to participate in additional sports at private clubs in the area, including gymnastics, football (soccer), horseback riding, jogging, rowing, squash, swimming and diving, track and field, and water polo.
Participation is open to men and women. Talented students participate in national competitions and matches with other universities. Beginners' classes in a number of sports are periodically organized and the Hill House exercise gymnasium is open to all students. The Zamalek Student Residence also has an exercise gymnasium to serve residents.
Model Arab League and Model United Nations
These two large and prestigious student activities involve annual conferences in which serious "modelling" takes place, developing communication and inter-personal skills among participants as well as requiring academic research and a knowledge of rules for functioning for particular multinational bodies. Both events attract delegates from Egypt's national universities as well as universities abroad. MAL and MUN are organized under the auspices of the Political Science Department, and open to all students.
AUC Parents Association
The AUC Parents Association (PA) was established in 1985 to encourage the active involvement of parents in the life of the university. The Parents Association, formed by a group of parent volunteers, sponsors educational and social activities and acts as a liaison between parents and the university administration. The PA holds an annual fund-raising activity (Family Night) which is geared toward sponsoring student activities like Model Arab League, Model United Nations, environmental activities and scholarship. The PA also sponsors awards for academic excellence, undergraduate teaching, sports achievements, environmental awareness research, and a photography competition. Membership is open to all parents, and elections to the PA board are held every two years.
Cafeterias and Services
The university has cafeterias on the Main Campus and on the Greek campus. Each serves snacks, sandwiches, drinks, and hot lunches at midday.
The university's student center is located in Hill House and includes a large lounge, the Student Union office, and some Student Affairs offices.
The Fountain Shop, located off the main campus cafeteria, offers souvenir items, tapes, magazines, film-developing service, and other items and services of interest to the AUC community.
Duplicating centers which serve the students and the AUC community are located in the cafeteria on the Main Campus and just inside the library gate on the Greek Campus.
Textbooks and a broad assortment of general books may be purchased in the Hill House bookstore on the main campus. A smaller general bookstore, open to the public, is located in the Zamalek Student Residence.
The Zamalek Student Residence provides accommodation for 300 students with separate sections for men and women. Linen is provided and shuttle transportation included. Meal and laundry service are also available. Applications for housing must be filed with the Student Housing Office, 5 Youssef El-Guindi street, Apt #5.
Orientation, Counseling, and Health Services
An orientation program for new students covers the academic and extra/co-curricular activities at the university. Additional orientation for non-Egyptian students covers special regulations, cultural opportunities, and adjustment to Cairo.
Through the Office of Student Affairs the university employs qualified counselors at the Student Counseling Center to assist students with personal difficulties. The Director of International Student Services is available for ongoing orientation and counseling specifically for non-Egyptian students. The university physician and counselors refer students to professional help outside the university when necessary.
The university clinic, with the university physician and a trained nurse in attendance, is open every day to provide medical services. The university provides limited accident insurance for all students while they are on the campus or engaged in certain university activities. Medical costs beyond the provisions of this insurance must be paid by the student. Foreign students are required to have health-insurance coverage.
The American University in Cairo is a guest in Egypt with a purely educational mission. It encourages open study and examination of all intellectual subjects in its academic work. Both its curriculum and extracurricular activities are dedicated to helping produce informed and independently minded human beings. But as a matter of basic policy AUC carefully refrains from involving itself in political or religious issues, and it does not permit its campus or facilities to be used by outsiders, by AUC personnel, or students for such involvement. The AUC Board of Trustees does not take positions on political or religious matters, nor are any AUC bodies or entities permitted to do so.
Students who attend the university are expected to show concern for each other, for their teachers, and for the university itself. Student behavior is expected to be appropriate to life at an academic institution and to take into account Egyptian society and traditions. Rules of student conduct, intended to perpetuate and reinforce these policies, are explained more fully in the Student Handbook and other student information materials.
Because of the importance of maintaining the complete integrity of its academic work and of ensuring that AUC remains a purely academic institution, the university views the following violations of AUC policy with special seriousness:
- Cheating (see Academic Honesty Policy under Academic Regulations section).
- Involvement in political or religious issues or activities on the campus or in the dormitory or the instigation of or participation in demonstrations therein.
- Behavior that disturbs university functions and activities.
- Participation in any illegal activity, on or off campus.
Students violating standards of conduct may be subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal.