Centre for Alumni Relations: A Tactical Gambit
With the wave of nostalgia hitting the outgoing batch of students as they stand on the brink of being promoted to the status of an alumnus of NITR from a student of NITR and the institute alumni relations teetering between highs and lows, Monday Morning caught up with Professor Bidyadhar Subudhi, Dean of Alumni Relations, to discuss and bring light upon the stratagems for improvement of these relations.
MM: What is your stand on the current alumni-student relations in existence?
BS: The alumni-student relations are pretty good now-a-days. On 17th April, we will be having an Alumni Induction Ceremony for the outgoing students of NITR where the visiting alumni will interact with the students and each student will be inducted into NITRAA as an alumnus. There have been instances in the past year where we have organized remote video conferences and lectures by distinguished alumni based in nations abroad. During my recent visit to USA, I was part of an overseas alumni meeting conducted in the Bay Area. The alumni attending the meeting promised to provide both financial and technical support to our students. For the above purpose, we have decided to list some product oriented projects on our website and ask the interested students to take them up, after which we will be forwarding the same to our alumni expecting their support. Also, some alumni have expressed interest in helping students with industrial as well as academic internships.
To create more awareness amongst the current students, we shall be sending via webmail all the details regarding how the alumni are extending a helping hand to the student community.
MM: How is the Centre for Alumni Relations different from NITRAA and ALNET?
BS: The Centre for Alumni Relations is an official administrative wing of our institute headed by the Dean of Alumni Relations and Resource Generation and supported by Madam Swagatika Sahoo, Assistant Registrar, and Madam Anjali Mishra. NITRAA is an alumni association and ALNET (Alumni Network) is an advisory body to support and accelerate the activities of Centre of Alumni Relations. ALNET has 5 sub-committees under it for the following purposes- database and website management, guiding the next generation students for employment and training, entrepreneurship and fund raising. The chairman from each of these committees is a member of the Apex Committee which also constitutes of a Chairman, Vice Chairman and a Convener. The Dean of Alumni Relations is the Convener of the Apex Committee. A team of faculty and students also help in this process of supporting and strengthening the alumni relations.
MM: What is being planned to make it easier for alumni to give back to the institute both financially and otherwise? How can students reach out to the alumni?
BS: In the institute website, the residence and office phone numbers and email addresses of Dean of Alumni Relations and the Director are easily available. Alumni can also reach out via the alumni website: alumni.nitrkl.ac.in or follow the ‘Industry and Alumni’ tab from the official website.
Students can reach out to alumni via the Centre for Alumni Relations. Plans of incorporating a considerable number of student volunteers into the alumni cell are underway. These volunteers will help in reaching out to the alumni, organising reunions and various interactive sessions while also gaining valuable insights from being in direct contact with our distinguished alumni.
MM: What are the proposed alumni reunions in the future?
BS: Till a few years back, the institute made provisions of only one alumni reunion for each batch of alumnus, which used to be organized 25 years after the passing out year of the respective batches. However, recent years have given way to the implementation and organisation of four alumni relations a year – silver jubilee reunion (25 years after graduation), ruby jubilee reunion (40 years after graduation), golden jubilee reunion (50 years after graduation) and crystal jubilee reunion. Apart from this, we also entertain requests for organising reunions for batches that are interested to reunite on years other than the stipulated ones.
MM: How is resource generation to function through alumni? How exactly does the Alumni Relations and Resource Generation (ARRG) function?
BS: Many alumni are interested to contribute. We are modifying our website so as to have a list of projects and causes for contribution in a drag and drop menu. Interested alumni may select the head under which they would like to contribute and thereafter, the payment process (both online and offline) too will be fairly straightforward.
The institute has also procured the tax relaxation scheme for alumni who are willing to give back financially to their alma mater. We are trying to procure such tax relaxation schemes from other nations so that we can reach out to alumni who are based abroad too.
The AARG is one of the five subcommittees under ALNET whose main function is to contact interested alumni and raise funds for student projects.
MM: What have been the major instances where alumni have reached out to the institute?
BS: Two of our distinguished alumni, Mr. Venkata Narsimhana Peri and Mr. Amaresh Tripathy, contributed to the establishment for the Centre for Financial Analytics. A Masters in Technology degree will be shortly introduced in Financial Analytics in collaboration with University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA. Apart from this, we have the Shanta Jain Memorial award, an award for inspiring product oriented project which has been contributed by Mr. Pramod Jain in memory of his late wife.
MM: Have the alumni expressed any views on the currently ill-functioning alumni relations status?
BS: To be very honest, neither the institute nor the alumni is satisfied with the current rate and mode of functioning of the alumni relations cell. This is a type of relationship which can be enhanced by including more reunions and more interactive sessions amongst alumni themselves and amongst students and alumni.
We are taking initiatives to improve the status of alumni institute relations. The website is being modified. The alumni database has been updated and the raw database is being formatted. The database will be uploaded on the website which will be up and running in another month’s time. Invitations are sent out to alumni to visit the institute and share their experiences with interested faculty and students as best as they can.