A reflection on our long overdue fee to ACCET…

Dear ACCET87 friends:

I along with my family had a memorable time participating on our SJC; many, many thanks to the tireless work of the organizers – planning every small detail, engaging the right people to manage certain aspects of the events like the Master of the Ceremony, orchestra, etc. Rajeshwar, VP, Vilva,  Boby, Sivanantha Raja and team– Kudos to you! We are blessed to have leaders and volunteers like you in our midst.

As I was reflecting on the commitment and responsibility that we have undertaken in ASSET87, it is evident that we are going to need an ongoing monetary contribution commitment in addition to the volunteer and time commitments.

Well, first let me firmly state that the soft skills enhancement is a worthy cause. In fact, after many discussions leading to SJC, listening to all of the presentations on August 11th and talking to a few people on the engineering campus recruitment side after the SJC event (people who had nothing to do with our college), I am convinced that ASSET87 is a precedent/best practice that other colleges will eventually embrace.

Coming back to the topic of our commitment to ASSET87 and the funds that will be required to sustain it; I wanted to share my thought process when I made my first pledge and a few other things I realized as I continue to reflect about our college…

If I rewind a few months back, I was confident that we’d do a splendid job of organizing the SJC and do a sizable contribution similar to our seniors. I had the privilege of being inspired by one of our seniors who had a moving experience of participating in their golden jubilee event at Karaikudi two years back. Right then, I had made a commitment to attend ours in person and make a contribution. I am happy I was able to do both!

As I reflected sitting at the SJC and later, I realize that it has still not quite dawned on us as to how blessed we are to have been awarded this opportunity in 1983 to be a student of this college. So, I started thinking a few “what if”s – they always help me put things in a better perspective…

  • What if the ACCET fee had been Rs. 25,000 per semester – instead of the “close to nothing” that we eventually paid; could my parents have afforded to have me study at ACCET? What would have been the student loan when I graduated, if we had to take a loan?
  • What if like most other colleges started in mid-80s, there had been a “capitation fee” to get admission to the college? Could my parents have paid it? Probably not; I would have studied in an Arts college for a three year science or a commerce undergraduate degree; how different my life might have turned out?
  • What if I had to spend in $s for my college education? I already know the answer – not a hypothetical answer but a real one: I could not do my post-graduate studies after ACCET in USA; it was too expensive and we could not afford it. In US, majority of the people graduating have huge student loans that they end up paying along with their car and house loans for many, many years.
  • What if every college today was like our ACCET! As a parent today, how much do  I actually need to plan to save to get a college education for my children… To put this question in perspective, when we had our third child when I was 41 years old, my financially savvy friend commented that I should forget about retiring and work until and perhaps after my last one graduated to pay for upbringing and college.

Reflecting on these, I can’t but wonder what a blessing and gift ACCET has been to my life. Yes, I work hard, to be where I am today and trying to stay there and improve; but ACCET was the foundation that even made any of this possible.  Meena and my children are strong supporters of my contributions to the college now and am sure in future; particularly, after seeing the college in person, what it needs today to deliver the kind of education that we received, and the camaraderie and commitment of all of our batch mates!

Friends, it is time to reach in to our pockets and bank accounts and pay our college fee that have been due for the past 25 years! The beauty of this fee is that it is only due in our minds and hence the amount, late fee, interest and inflation adjustment – everything is up to each of us to determine. Even if you have made your contributions already, consider doing your own analysis and add to the contribution and make it an ongoing commitment, until we believe that our ACCET dues have been paid! I commit to doing my own analysis. Please share it with your family – you need their support and encouragement as well.

I am sorry for the long winded message, but this is an important topic deserves your time, attention and consideration.

Cheers,

Srinivasan R.S. ECE