✍️By Special Correspondent
The Silver Jubilee Reunion for the Class of 1997 Civil Engineering graduates was held on Dec 26, 2022. What made this reunion special was not just the celebration of 25 years of graduation and nostalgia but also celebrating the start of an initiative of giving back to the alma mater. What started as a routine online adda session during the pandemic induced lockdown in 2020, has morphed into something unique in the history of Jadavpur University. The Civil engineering graduates of 1997 – a cohesive group thanks to technology – decided to celebrate their silver jubilee of graduation with not only the reunion on Dec 26, but also contribute to their alma mater.
The group of 85 students spread out all over the world –in leading industries across domains and in reputed universities–decided to contribute to infrastructure development, in line with the alumni activities in IITs and universities abroad but with a difference. For administrative ease, and in consultation with the university who have been very helpful, the alumni decided to contribute in a turn-key fashion towards upgradation of the departmental computer lab and the conversion of a classroom to a modern seminar hall. Thus, this was not just simply donating funds but actually taking up the responsibility of carrying out all the required work. This initiative was uncharted territories for Jadavpur University but the administration – both the University and the Department – have been extremely encouraging and supportive.
While the funds generated were based on individual contributions from the Civil Engineering Class of 97 and is therefore modest at best, the primary objective has been to develop this culture across the University, something in line with the IITs which have strong alumni support. The University also has decided to make this effort a template for alumni engagement across the university and already this is bearing fruit as has been outlined in the VC’s convocation speech on Dec 24.
As one of the Class of 97 mentioned “The monetary aspect of our effort is modest. This is an act of love and gratitude towards a university, which has given us quality education and a time, which remain one of the best phases of our lives. JU continues to impart quality education at costs that are even today the cheapest in the world and yet continues to be one of the top universities in the NIRF rankings. We hope that our effort will have a trickle down effect and if the alumni of every department contribute similarly– as is done by IIT alumni – the infrastructure in JU will become at par with the best in the world. It just requires us to take ownership to be the harbingers of change”.
The efforts of the last 3 years has not only brought the Class of 1997 together – as evidenced by the more than 50% in person participation many of whom flew in from continents for just 3-4 days but also several joined online. The camaraderie was evident and as some remarked “It doesn’t feel that we have not met in 25 years”. While the laughter and the gossip has now shifted in social media platforms maintained by the Class of 97, the effort is now towards completion of the remaining activities and also taking up new ventures towards helping their alma mater.