During 2021, Student Affairs at Ashoka University carried on with its commitment to ensure the holistic development of our students through a plethora of activities outside the classroom.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic continued to trudge on for a second year, student activities flourished virtually in 2021 as we build upon our past experiences and embraced the new ‘normal’.
We had our first glimpse of hope in January when the University began to bring back students to campus in a phased manner. The Office of Student Affairs spearheaded the mammoth task of facilitating the return of select senior students while also working on the ground to ensure that the campus community remains safe. Over 800 students returned to campus over three months after undergoing strict isolation and testing regime designed in consultation with faculty experts and local authorities.
However, the second wave was soon upon as in April and students on campus had to return home due to challenging circumstances we once again found ourselves in. In between arranging for RT-PCR tests and contact tracing, the Office also strived to ensure that routine activities were not affected and announced the annual Merit Awards as scheduled. As we recognised the accomplishments of over 15 individuals and 21 student groups, the occasion also gave the Ashoka community an opportunity to celebrate despite the bleak times.
When the University finally decided to virtual convocation in July, we were keen to make it special for our young graduates despite missing out on a campus ceremony. The idea for the graduation celebration box was born out of this desire to demonstrate that each student carried Ashoka with them wherever they went hereafter. What could be more Ashokan than the very mitti the campus stands on?
The Office welcomed the Class of 2024 in August with a week-long Orientation programme that included everything from academic expos and panel discussions to experiential workshops and open mics. The institution’s commitment to ensure a seamless induction process during the global pandemic was a true reflection of the vision with which Ashoka was established.
The student body also began to return to campus in a phased manner from September as we reopened partially, accommodating over 1000 students by mid-semester. Though teaching remained online, the campus was abuzz with students as several of them were experiencing campus life for the first time.
The student-led clubs and societies as well as the Resident Assistants (RAs) continue to successfully reimagine the campus experience for students through a wide variety of online programming efforts. They have organised over 150 virtual events so far during the Monsoon semester alone and helped foster the community spirit during these socially distanced times.
With the help of our dedicated team, especially the Residence Life staff, we are able to provide students with a safe and comfortable living experience like none other during the pandemic. Many of them put their lives on hold so that ours could go on.