The American University in Cairo occupies an urban campus. Most students live at home with their families, although most foreign students (over 14 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 administration reserves the right of veto in matters of student activities including those mentioned in the constitution.
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 departments and units, most are initiated and carried out by student groups.
Student Associations and Clubs
The Student Union is composed of elected representatives from each and constituency undergraduate major. It provides student representation on university academic and other committees, organizes events and services, and coordinates the activities of student clubs and associations. Student associations and clubs provide a variety of ways for students to share similar interests. Some groups are formed by students with and interest in geographic areas, like Al Quds Club. Others provide services to the Egyptian community, such as Volunteers in Action. Still others are formed around specific interests or majors, like the Political Science Association and Computer Club. Student organizations sponsor lectures, films, shows, and exhibitions as well as trips to places of historic, scientific, or other interest in Egypt. Each student organization has a faculty advisor with experience and expertise in the club's area of activity. Membership in all clubs is open to any interested student. The Office of Student Organizations is responsible for guiding and supporting the Student Union, academic clubs, and the student conferences. A new student organization may be formed with recognition from the Student Union and approval by the Office of Student Development. All organizations must renew their recognition and approval each year.
Student Organized Conferences
Student organized conferences, such as Model United Nations and Model Arab League (under the auspices of the Political Science Department, and Office of Student Development for non-conference activities) as well as others, including the Student Leadership Conference, International Conference on Information Technology and Global Economy Conference, afford the opportunity for students to learn special skills such as negotiation, public speaking, expand their knowledge of the world, and participate in a major organizational challenge. Conferences are valued by the University and its students, involve hundreds of students from AUC and other Universities, both in Egypt and abroad, and contribute significantly to student life on campus.
The Community Service Program
Anti Cancer team, Anti Drug team, Hand in Hand, Volunteers in Action, Help Club, Friends in Need, Rotaract etc. are all community service clubs that work with the spirit of serving the Egyptian Community. The Office of the Community Service Program supervises all community service activities , and focuses on raising students' awareness regarding the social challenges facing their community, and gives them the opportunity to take initiative in dealing with such problems. This way the students benefit by enhancing their social commitment. They also learn positive values such as leadership and citizenship and how to become engaged in a positive social action. Currently there are more than ten community service volunteer clubs operating with different groups of unprivileged people including the poor, the blind, orphans, cancer patients, the elderly, and children with special needs etc.
The Office of Cultural Programs is responsible for cultural clubs and groups. The Choral Group, Music Group, Egyptian Folk Dance Troupe, Marionette Group and Art Group, along with several other cultural activities groups, are trained by competent professionals on an extracurricular basis throughout the academic year. They represent AUC 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 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, by international ensembles on tour, and by talented students.
Theatre and Film
The AUC Theatre Company, comprised of theatre majors as well as students from other departments, is one of the most active student enterprises on campus. Under the guidance of the Theatre faculty, students from all nationalities act and occasionally design and direct several productions a year ranging from classics to modern experimental theatre. Students also play a major role in constructing sets, costumes, lighting, sound, and make up. Recent plays include Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author, Farag's Sulayman El Halabi, Dorfman's Reader, Congdon's Tales of the Lost Formicans, Sophocles' Antigone, Ibsen's Ghosts, Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors, and Moliere's The Miser. Productions in English and Arabic. Plays take place in two new state-of-the art theatres in the Falaki Academic Center.
Films are a favorite form of recreation at AUC, and several university units organize regular showings.
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 kills 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, mini soccer, table tennis, tae kwondo, tennis, volleyball, wrestling, etc. There are provisions for AUC students to participate in additional sports at clubs in the area, including gymnastics, football ( soccer), handball, 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 exercise facilities are open to all students. The Zamalek Student Residence also has an exercise gymnasium to serve residents.
The Parents Association (PA) was established in 1985 with the objective of creating a partnership between parents and the University to enhance the learning opportunities for AUC students. All parents of undergraduate students are members of the PA. Within the PA, a board is elected that works entirely on a voluntary basis to further the aim of the Association through bylaws regulating all PA activities and initiatives. Each year, the Parents Association offers the PA Scholarship to assist a student who faces sudden financial difficulty during his or her term of study. During the spring commencement, the PA also bestows upon an exceptionally gifted and outgoing faculty member the PA Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. Furthermore, during the fall and spring commencement ceremonies, the Association awards the PA Cup to an exceptional student who successfully maintains a high grade point average in addition to taking part in student-run initiatives and organizations. The PA Cup has become one of the most distinguishing features of every AUC commencement ceremony.
Cafeterias and Services
The university has cafeterias on the Main Campus on the Greek Campus. Each serves snacks, sandwiches, drinks, and hot lunches at midday.
The university's student center is located in the Wallace Building and includes a lounge, the Student Union office, and the Office of Student Organization Activities.
The Fountain Shop, located in 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. Egyptian students from other cities or whose parents live abroad, as well as many international students from Arab countries and around the world, choose to live in the Zamalek Student Residence.
The building is entirely air-conditioned, with many facilities including an exercise gymnasium, computer lab, cafeteria, study room, common TV with satellite and VCR, housekeeping, rooms with T1 high speed Internet connections, phones for making local phone calls or receiving international calls. Room cleaning and laundry of bed linens are provided. There is 24-hour security, a part-time clinic staffed by a physician, and a small stationary/bookstore. Shuttle transportation to and from AUC runs continuously.
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 focuses on cultural opportunities, adjustment to Cairo, special procedures, etc.
The university employs qualified counselors at the Student Counseling Center to assist students with personal difficulties and growth issues. The Director of International Student Services is available for ongoing orientation and counseling of international students. The university physician and counselors refer students to professional help outside the university when necessary.
The university clinic, with the university physician and trained doctors and nurses in attendance, is open every day, except for Fridays and Saturdays, to provide medical services. The clinic is open from 8:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. A qualified nurse is available after 3:30 p.m. and till 5:00 p.m. 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. International 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. The university approves humanitarian assemblies, provided authorized procedures are followed.
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 apolitical institution, respected in the community at large and maintaining its liberal education atmosphere, 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.
- Face veiling "niqab" in any form on university premises or at any university events.
Students violating standards of conduct may be subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal.