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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Pune Campus Watch: SPPU harnesses social media to connect alumni

Pratik Dama, recently appointed as alumni relations officer at SPPU, hopes to broaden the scope of the alumni cell by harnessing technology and social media

Written by Alifiya Khan | Pune |
Updated: January 29, 2022 8:05:16 am
About 6 lakh students pass out each year from SPPU on an average and yet the alumni cell registry search currently available on the SPPU website doesn't show more than a few thousand names.

For a public university which is nearly 75 years old and boasts of a list of notable alumni from royalty to industrialists, film stars to chief ministers of states, it was only recently that the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) officially established its alumni cell in 2016.

While university departments and affiliated colleges ran their own alumni associations, it was probably low ratings in ‘public perception’ scores in various ranking surveys or the need to use alumni connections to come up with industry-academic collaborations which led to the creation of the Section 8 company that now operates the alumni association.

About 6 lakh students pass out each year from SPPU on an average and yet the alumni cell registry search currently available on the SPPU website doesn’t show more than a few thousand names.

While job fairs, placements, internships, industry-academic collaborations, guest lectures, scholarships and more, are hoped to be achieved from the cell, it hasn’t yet generated the response the administration had hoped for.

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Pratik Dama, recently appointed as alumni relations officer at SPPU hopes to change all that. And harnessing technology and social media is what he believes is the way forward.

“Until a few years ago, departments had their own alumni cells and so did colleges, as per UGC instructions. There was no umbrella body of alumni representing the university, which was done in 2016. Even during the Covid pandemic, the cell was able to get some jobs and placements for students through alumni. During the crisis in Afghanistan, some of our Afghani alumni were able to help Afghan students on campus.  Yet it’s not often, for a university which is of our size and stature and hence efforts are now being renewed to get more alumni connected to the university so we can create more opportunities,” he said.

This week, the alumni cell put out an appeal to all students and alumni, heads of the departments, principals, professors, faculty teaching and non-teaching staff members, training and placement officers to help launch a platform for collaboration and networking of alumni and SPPU fraternity on new-age social media platforms.

From Facebook to Telegram and Twitter, the university’s alumni cell now has a presence on every social media platform.

And while building a virtual community is a top priority, for which a new webinar series will be launched from mid-February, offline events, too, have begun. For instance, a felicitation ceremony was organised on Thursday, where a number of alumni who had set up successful startups were honoured. Some of these startups had even bee felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier.

“We have some really big names as our alumni and this network can be really powerful. Recently we bought new software that will help us get extensive data from the 900 colleges affiliated with the university as well. It should be functional by next month. We need our alumni to join us in these efforts,” said Dama.

Here are some social media handles to follow:

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