For most of us among the alumni and Sai devotee community, the news of a magnificent new educational institution which had just been inaugurated in August 2012 came as Bhagawan’s calling card heralding His ‘return’ in the subtle form and the continuation of His mission. The accompanying pictures from the event, which went viral on the social media, had His signature all over it!
While many among the alumni and alumnae community had seen the pictures, the opportunity to visit the campus came in late 2016 during the weekend of October 22-23. This was to be a special weekend for the alumni in many ways. The campus was hosting its first Alumni-Campus Connect event. As the word spread about the event, alumni and alumnae from Hyderabad (for whom the Gulbarga campus is the closest institution), their families, the dynamic Hyderabad Youth Group, alumni of the Gulbarga campus, the Sathya Sai alumni based in the Gulbarga district anda few alumni from Bangalore, decided to be a part of this special weekend at the campus
While considerable background work had been done by Sri Govind Reddy, Chairman of Gulbarga campus, and the alumni coordinators to create a well rounded program schedule, as the weekend started, it was evident that Swami was the One guiding the program. Swami had taken a keen interest in this event from the time it was being planned.
As the various groups converged on the campus in Navanihala, Gulbarga on October 22, one was struck by the beauty of the buildings even while approaching the campus at a distance. The buildings which are situated on higher ground stand proud and invite all visitors to come in and witness the many miracles and works of transformation that goes on day and night in these haloed portals of education. And this indeed was the theme that each person experienced that weekend
The alumni-campus connects are an opportunity for the alumni to connect with the campuses, explore opportunities to engage in a sustained way and be a part of the transformation work. Already the Mandya campus has hosted 4 such campus connect weekends and the Alike Girls and Jayapura girls campuses have hosted one such connect event each. These events are helping create a solid platform for alumni-campus interaction and engagement. Similar connect events are being planned in other campuses to engage the local alumni.
Some of the highlights from the weekend were –
- The Gulbarga Campus Alumni Cell was formally launch by lighting of the lamp. The alumni cell is a core team constituting senior staff from the campus and alumni coordinators who are responsible for creating a effective platform at the level of the campus for alumni-institution engagement
- The alumni who have graduated from the Gulbarga campus played a key role during the weekend where they had organized a program to honour some of the senior staff members. There was much to learn from their sense of gratitude towards the institution.
- The Gulbarga graduate alumni also pleasantly surprised everyone when they announced that they were contributing towards the education of one student through the Each One Educate One (e1e1) program. It was remarkable for these youngsters to collect and pool money from their pocket expenses and support Sathya Sai Institutions’ ideal of providing free values based education
- The weekend provided a wonderful opportunity for the alumni and alumnae to interact with the children through some value games and experience sharing sessions. Similarly, it gave an opportunity for the senior alumni to interact with the recent graduates and discuss how the seniors could be of assistance to their younger brothers
- The thoughtfully arranged campus tour by Chairman sir himself gave the visiting group an insight into what it takes to run a campus of this scale. Aspects like the self sustainability initiatives like the diary farm, fruit orchards, vegetable plantations (all managed by the staff and students) and other initiatives left everyone very impressed.
- Towards the end of the evening, a meeting among the visiting group and the Sri Govind Reddy opened up discussions on the various areas in which the alumni could engage in the Gulbarga campus. Each One Educate One as a platform was also discussed. In the meeting the alumni and alumnae also resolved to stay engaged in the campus in a sustained way. Some of the areas that were discussed apart from e1e1 were – library books, Science Lab, English coaching for the children, career guidance for outgoing students, Bhajan training among other topics
Overall, the visit left everyone mesmerized by Swami’s continuing work in such remote parts of the land, it had given everyone an opportunity to meet and get to know the remarkable people who are working day and night in His mission. The time spent with the children really filled ones hearts. While leaving the campus, one could only offer one’s gratitude to Swami for the special weekend and the opportunity to participate in the wonderful work that is going on in these campuses.
(The attached document has an overview of the weekend’s program schedule)
|October 22, 2016
|4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
||Sports with the students
|6:30 pm – 7:00 pm
|7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
||Interactive session with students
|8:00 pm – 9:00 pm
|9:00 pm – 10:00 pm
||Alumni Interactive Session
(Focus on Gulbarga Campus Alumni)
|October 23, 2016
|5:30 am – 6:00 am
|6:00 am – 7:00 am
|8:00 am – 9:00 am
|9:00 am – 9:45 am
||Bhajans and Honouring the Teachers
|10:00 am – 11:30 am
||Campus Tour and Classroom Interaction with Students
|11:30 am – 1:00 pm
||Sharing of experiences from morning
Video on Swami’s continuing mission
Talk by Ramamoorthy Sir
Role of Alumni and Swami’s Guidance
Talk by Govind Reddy Sir – Invitation to Participate
|1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
||Lunch (Visiting Alumni Serve Current Students and Staff)
|3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
||Interactive Session with Students :
Value Games & Experience Sharing
|4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
||Discussion on Next Steps