By: Nourane Selim
For the first time at AUC, a group of students established the Animal Rights Association (ARA), a club that encourages students and faculty to stand up for animal rights, which began operation this Fall.
The club started with a post by the would-be President Zenah Helmy on the students’ Facebook group Rate AUC Professors, where she posted a survey asking who would be interested to join a club dedicated to animal rights.
“This post allowed Farah Al-Sherbiny, ARA’s current vice president, to reach me,” Helmy told The Caravan.
“We then worked together and presented the Club’s idea to the Office of Student Engagement [OSE] and the Clubs and Conferences Committee [CCC], fortunately to [later] be [told] that ARA won the slot to be an official club at AUC.”
Helmy’s innate passion for animals was the driving force behind the idea — ever since she was a high-school student she wanted to establish an organization devoted to animals in need.
She explained how the lack and leniency of laws against animal cruelty in Egypt pushed her towards affirmative action.
“It made me more eager to accomplish my dream of opening an animals’ club, because I believed
that we should not neglect the silent screams of many animals that are subjected to abuse in different circumstances.”
The club’s main goal is to increase public awareness of animal welfare in Egypt and reduce animal cruelty.
In its soft opening last spring, ARA collaborated with the Egyptian Society For Mercy To Animals (ESMA), and brought rescue dogs to campus, for members of the AUC community to shower with love.
The soft opening caught many animal lovers’ attention, who then decided to join ARA. The recruitment phase started in summer and exceeded expectations, garnering one faculty and 100 student members , 23 of which are on the board.
“We have four projects that we work on: awareness campaigns, supporting animal shelters, Giza Zoo and cats on campus,” ARA’s Human Resources Director Maya Salah said.
“If an animal’s life did not matter than God would not have encouraged all individuals to have mercy on all living creatures so he could have mercy upon us,” said Helmy.
Even with the support of the OSE and the AUC community, University policies and regulations regarding bringing animals into campus will force the Association to hold most major events outside campus grounds.