How NIT Warangal's Lakshya Foundation Bridged the Gap between Alumni and StudentsAlessio Pieroni
Raise your hand up if you have ever looked back to your college years in a nostalgic way. Yes, probably you did. We always do. We are not talking just about friendship and fun, but also about the amazing feeling to learn, discover new things and become ready to enter in the real world. And I’m pretty sure that you have also ask to yourself if there is a way to give something back to your college. That’s the same question that Anand Rajagopalan asked himself in 2008.
From this question he founded, together with other 4 friends, The Lakshya Foundation, an alumni organisation of NIT Warangal. Their mission is to help build an ecosystem of research and entrepreneurship through creativity and innovation at NIT Warangal by bringing together alumni, students, faculty, the institute and relevant partners. “Our primary motivation was to bridge the alumni institute gap”, says Anand, CEO of the Foundation.
Since its inception, the institute focused on providing relevant benefit for the students of the NIT Warangal “The immediate need was for funding students who found it difficult to cover their fees. We gathered funds from the alumni and paid it for them. It was a very simple model. Call for applications, create a shortlist, verify candidates’ economic condition by visiting their home and finalize list of students in need. What helped us was our constant communication with donors and complete transparency.” Those values are still valid today, since every expense or donation is published on their website “We run on donations from the alumni which pays for our projects, salaries and the office in Hyderabad. There is a tremendous desire among alumni to give back to the college but they also want to see the money being used wisely.”
A practical example of their activities is their very first project that was funded by alumni: ‘Hovomarine’, that combined the use of a hovercraft and a submarine into one vehicle. The student was given a dedicated facility on campus by his department to fabricate the unit (he used fiber reinforced plastic). When certain components weren’t available in Hyderabad, they utilized the alumni network to get them manufactured or procured from Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Singapore. Finally, the prototype was created and patent attorneys gave the thumbs up to go ahead with patenting the technology.
After 4 years of activities of the foundation, their ambitions were becoming bigger and bigger. So Anand, that at that time was a developer for Oracle, decided to quit his job to begin working full time for Lakshya. The organization is working to achieve in 2018 three important goals “We want NIT Warangal to be rated among the top five technology institutes in India, we aim to incubate five technology startups a year which will have a combined net-worth of $1 million in two years of operations and to enable the institute to file 10 patents annually”
Lakshya also aim to develop entrepreneurship creating a community capable to create successful startups thanks to the meeting of ideas, mentors and funding. That’s why on Saturday 7th September they will host an event called NITW Entrepreneur Meet. “It is imperative to bring them together to get things going and to leverage ideas and expertise coming in from outside”. For the first edition Srini Raju, Anand Sudarshan and K.Sharath Chandra will be the external speakers that will take part in the event.
Lakshya is not just an alumni foundation. It is an example of bridging the gap between students and alumni, alumni contributing to the next generation of students through their experience and the power of pooling together resources to create something extraordinary to make a positive dent in our society.
Note: The NITW Entrepreneur Meet has been postponed due to unavoidable circumstances. We shall keep you informed about the new date as soon we receive word on it.