Updated: January 29, 2022 7:48:00 am
FOR A public university that 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 at various ranking surveys or the need to use alumni connections to come up with industry-academic collaborations, which led to the creation of a Section 8 company that now operates the alumni association.
About six lakh students pass out each year from the university on an average and yet the alumni cell registry search currently available on the SPPU website doesn’t show up more than a few thousand names.
While job fairs, placements, internships, industry-academic collaborations, guest lectures, scholarships and more is hoped to be achieved from the cell as it hasn’t generated as much response as hoped.
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Pratik Dama recently appointed as alumni relations officer at the SPPU hopes to change all that. He believes there is a way forward harnessing technology and social media.
“Until, a few years ago, the departments had their own alumni cells and so did the colleges according to UGC instructions. There was no umbrella body of alumni representing the university as a whole, which was done in 2016. A little work happened after that; events were held but since the past two years the pandemic happened. Even during the pandemic, the cell was able to get some jobs and placements for students through alumni help. For example, the Afghani students’ alumni helped us to connect with other students here during the recent crisis in their home country and provide support to them. Yet, for a university of our size and stature, it is not enough, 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 former students, heads of 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.
The university’s alumni cell now has a presence on every social media platform from Facebook to Telegram and Twitter.
As part of the outreach programme, a new webinar series will be launched from mid-February and offline events have also begun. A small felicitation ceremony was held on Thursday where a few alumni, some of who were recently felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were felicitated.
“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 the extensive data from the 900 colleges affiliated to the university as well. It should be functional by next month. We need our alumni to join us in these efforts,” said Dama.
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