The alumni of the Dhaka University (DU) are set to gather on Saturday to celebrate the centenary of their alma mater. Dhaka University Alumni Association (DUAA) is organising the day-long event, titled as 'centennial reunion of the association,' which includes the birth centenary of Bangabandhu and golden jubilee of the independence of Bangladesh. The event was earlier scheduled to be held on January14-15 this year. Due to caseloads of Covid-19, it was suspended. As the situation has improved, the fresh date has been set for the purpose.
No doubt that the gathering is going to be a grand and joyous one as thousands of former graduates will be there. They are mostly well-established in diverse professions and organisations. Some of them will also really reunite with their fellows after a long break. Some have already come to the country from abroad to join the reunion. If not for all, at least for many of them, the time they spent during the university is the finest time of their lives. From academic learning to social orientation, the lives in the Dhaka University provided them a unique opportunity for the future. So, there are reasons to be proud of being alumni of the century-old academe.
Over the years, alumni of the Dhaka University have contributed to the development journey of Bangladesh in various capacities. A good number of them are now staying in different parts of the world and demonstrate their excellence in academic, scientific, economic and many other fields. Many of those who are living in the country are leading and operating different national and private bodies and institutions. The role and contribution of DU alumni to the country's politics along with shaping the destiny of the nation cannot be overemphasised. Not all are well recognised, though. Again, it is also true that a few alumni, despite having capability for rich contribution, have played damaging role and did not contribute positively.
The centenary celebration thus brings an opportunity to review and measure the roles and contribution of the alumni. Not that they have to do some hectic exercises and prepare a voluminous report with numbers and charts. What is needed is to ask themselves about their feelings about and observations on their own contribution. The association may initiate a process in this connecting through dialogues, talks, discussions, surveys and publications. This kind of review or assessment will help identify the more effective ways for contribution to country and society.
Again, the alumni, under the umbrella of the association, may come up to address various shortcomings and problems the university is facing now. The association has already taken a series of initiatives in this regard. Currently, the association provides 700 scholarships annually which may be enhanced. The alumni may create some social pressure on the university authorities and managements to improve the living and dining conditions of the dormitories and also take necessary administrative steps to curb bullying there. The association also has some leverage to increase the university budget and spend it properly to improve facilities like pure drinking water supply, healthy toilet, women's special care rooms and more buses for students. The association can also support better library and laboratory facilities. As the day-long programme has a session named 'Our Commitment to Alma Mater,' these things may be put on the table there for consideration.