I visited our college on March 20th and met the young and restless students along with our dynamic T&P Head, Dr. P Nanda. I had some strong observations and I wrote to firstname.lastname@example.org and placement@vssut,ac.in but the mail to the info@… id bounced. Please check as I don’t want to send to any gmail id as it is unacceptable to me that our college doesn’t have a proper domain which is the first thing in branding. If we don’t believe in our brand, who else will? I have wrote the following points so that there is a systematic approach to those and if I see the intervention from our alumni is needed, it will be ensured and we will go to the top to ensure that these are executed precisely.
01. One Day Alumni Visit: I have proposed in the Mumbai and Pune alumni association that whenever an alumni visits Odisha, he/she should spend one day in college. The students should take a lead in arranging for the travel and stay arrangement of the alumni from Sambalpur Station and dropping him/her off. I stayed in the alumni house this time, but I must say that the quality has to be changed to a minimum standard level in terms of the toilets, fitments, connectivity and arrangement of food.
02. Alumni as a Mentor: We can see our alumni have gone to the highest echelon in organisations of repute globally and we are so proud of them. I think while any alumni would love to give back his/her some time, energy and ideas, the college and the students are so clueless as to how to take the mileage. I have suggested that let’s make it a process in terms of assigning at least five students to an alumni randomly. Say we have four hundred alumni at Mumbai and Pune and say 200 of them are willing to do it, we have 1000 students having mentors of the highest quality. These are the people who have been there, done that.
03. Industry Interface: I learned that you call up some five odd speakers every six months to have a Workshop where the speakers speak on industry topics and supposedly ‘motivate’ the students. I propose that these two workshops can continue and be properly documented, recorded and put on the website. Along with these, we should make at least 12 industry captains visiting the campus in a year and sharing the industry trends with the students. We should also start with our students doing some critical and interesting projects for industries in their summer internship. I have asked for the list of companies our second year and third year students are going this summer and I’ll ensure that our alumni help them out by identifying our people there and taking up the right projects. Please share the list asap.
04. Digital Presence: It’s so sad that the first engineering college of Odisha which was built in 1956 and it took 50 years to have its first website. Its alumni are ruling the roost globally as tech wizards and on the other hand this is the abysmal fact. And, even after nine years, all the teachers and student forum heads are not having mail id’s in the college domain name. Please arrange to have a deadline in executing this fast. The whole world is on social media, our college is still outside, strangely all the students are having large screen smart phones with 24 hour social media coverage.
05. Network of Alumni Associations: The college s not networking across alumni, it’s all capped in poor excel sheets. Mumbai & Pune Chapter can take a lead in terms of consolidating various alumni associations or motivating alumni to form one say at major cities in India like Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai etc. or outside such as US, UK etc.
06. Innovation Cell: I was happy to know that such a cell is itself in incubation mode and Dr. Debu Mishra is heading it. I met him for this and offered my ideas and personal commitment and I’ll be interacting with him. I’ll meet Dr. Mishra when he is here in Mumbai this week and we will learn the way it is run at IITB to take it further.
07.Match with the Best: We need to work with the college as to how the students can learn from some of the best institutes worldwide through our alumni. I observed that some of our alumni are from some of the best colleges such as Wharton University, Chicago GSB, London Business School, IIMs, SPJIMR, IITs etc. after their engineering degree. I am sure our alumni from these good institutes will happily share their ideas with the students. I have a strong network across all these people and I can help you do it excellently.
08. Outstanding Alumni: We need to work with the college so that they identify some outstanding alumni in each of the batches, call them to the college in the convocation and confer them with the awards. This will go a long way in forging a strong relationship between the college and the alumni. I have seen this practice with a lot of good institutes.
09. Student Grooming: I was sad in knowing that our students are hardly into sports and other activities. It was also sad for me to learn that the basketball court where we dribbled the ball for four years, got some great cricket matches on the field are almost empty and students are into sweet nothings of a so called social media. I have requested all our alumni to ask the students to have some great sports life, it certainly goes a long way. Its also unfortunate that the students are not into studying what’s happening in politics, economics etc. and they remained silent for a long time. The paradox was clearly visible: too many options today but too little effort to reach out to the world. We are the guys to tell them the facts. The idea is to make it a process may be through our mentoring program.
I have shared all the points with our alumni association here and would be be following up with the offices of the T&P Head and the VC regularly and all the student members to ensure that it happens. If some help needed from the highest authority, I’ll write to the Chancellor. But, the biggest change agents are the STUDENTS.