Virtual Association of Alumni
Alumni instinctively feel the need for an association of some sort, a
that binds us together. But not everyone has the stomach for the work and formalities
Think about it, the demands on an association are minimal:
- a directory of contact information,
- a forum for communication, and
- a succession of events/activities in which we may
The directory is growing; comms forums are improving
(Yahoo lists are active); and initiation of events is up to anyone and everyone. So
we're all set: a Virtual Association of Alumni (VAA) already exists on
the web, no office bearers, no expenses, no politics.
- fund-raising, e.g. construction projects, scholarships
- others of local interest
Well, not quite. First, the VAA is effective only for the
of alumni with a web connection (that number is rapidly increasing,
perhaps more of a quorum than we could assemble physically in any given
city), and many who are web-enabled are not aware of this
web site. Second, there are some formal requirements when money
involved. To cope with these needs, here's a minimalist structure consisting of Frats,
Bees and Legal Eagles:
There could be hybrids of the above. A Frat could be formally
and acquire Legal Eagle status — the Bombay group has essentially done
- Frats are
autonomous units of any size, defined by geography, age, blood,
etc, crowds that feel comfortable together, maybe spread across
countries. Each Frat decides upon its agenda and degree of
based on the appetite of its members — have a picnic, register with the
government, launch a spacecraft. At least one member has access
the Web, and passes information back and forth periodically.
Frats already exist; much of our growth to date has been through
Our aim is to get every alumna into at least one Frat.
time there'll be more and more individuals hooked directly into the
and the Frats may survive or evaporate at their choosing.
- Worker Bees track down local alumni who are still out of
Know of someone who's in “somewhere in the Los Angeles area, I
Contact the local WB and he'll follow up. There are no turf
we need all the WBs we can get. Would be nice to have at least
in each significant alumni concentration: Bombay, Delhi, Goa,
Bangalore, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, London, Toronto,
Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, etc. Please e-mail
me to sign up. Here's the WB list
as it currently exists.
- National Legal Eagles were earlier called “queen bees,”
stung for that and the beehive analogy got turned on its ear.
are men reasonably familiar with local business practice, who can
quasi-legal tasks such as securing charity status, establishing bank
and maybe credit card accounts (the merchant type, for receiving funds)
in the name of SMS, and channeling funds to the school. There are
some arguments for nationally-coordinated efforts: (a) tax deductions
contributors, which could benefit the donor/school to the tune of 25%,
(b) perhaps better exchange rates on large transfers, maybe a 1–2%
(c) convenience, saving everyone a trip to the bank and service charges
to execute an international draft. We have one Legal Eagle at the
moment, covering India. Nominees required from other countries —
it seems appropriate that since money is involved, it requires a group
effort, or nominee-volunteers, to fill these posts.
The above is not a constitution, but a realistic and sustainable
for the glue we seek, a bit of order and a lot of flexibility.
no pecking order — worker bees are not answerable to legal
etc. There's no urgency to any of this, no anxiety to build Rome
in a day. We evolve at a manageable pace.
Please feel free to e-mail the Editor with your thoughts.