Association Of Ashoka Alumni Elections 2020
Divya Wagle UG 22
The AAA council elections are upon us. On 8th and 9th of August, the Alumni of Ashoka University will cast their votes to elect the Council that will carry the Association of Ashoka Alumni into its 5th successful year. Created in September of 2015, these elections are held every 2 years. With a record number of candidates and the largest electorate ever, the 2020 election is awaiting engagement and voter turnout like never before. The AAA is the official body that represents both Ashoka University and the AU alumni in a variety of fora. Its purpose lies in strengthening alumni connect between and among cohorts and programmes to advance the mission of the University and to serve the alumni community and world at large. The council is the apex executive body of the AAA which is linked to the Alumni board, the apex governing body of the AAA, which includes members of the higher administration (including 2 founders and the Pro VC).
What are the functions of the AAA?
The AAA functions to provide support services (career, resource access, mentoring) and avenues for networking (events and reunions) to the Ashokan alumni. It creates and maintains platforms for alumni communication, recognizes and celebrates the work and achievements of the alumni. They partner with the University in fundraising, building strategic partnerships and integrate with the University by strengthening and contributing to existing and future initiatives. As a nascent organization, many of the functions of the AAA are dynamic and continue to evolve with every council.
What are the positions the candidates will be elected into?
The positions to vote for are that of the President and of 5 directors whose offices range across Fundraising and Treasury, Communications, Initiatives and Programming, Alumni Career Support, Alumni Relations and the database and portal/app task force. The President , as the de facto head, is the official representative of the AAA to the university, external forums, institutions and stakeholders. The candidates for Presidency are Akashmegh Sharma (UG17), Anoop Kumar Maurya (YIF15), Nivedita A (YIF16), Rahul Maganti (YIF16), Vivek Neekhra (YIF17) and Vedhika Anoora Krishnakumar (YIF18). Even when it comes to directorship, this year’s positions showcase a refreshingly large number of candidates vying for the array of appointments.
Why be on the council?
The candidates standing for election are here owing to a variety of motivations. As proud Alumni, they are driven by a sense of giving back. Having built connections in their respective fields, they want return to leverage these for the benefits of the Ashokan community. As the University brand builds, so will the profitability of the alumni status. Some are driven by wanting to bring about radical changes and helping the students and workers. Perhaps the greatest motivation is institution building and a continued connection with their alma mater.
What’s new in 2020?
The 2020 elections are proving to be a refreshing turning point for one very specific reason – the increased diversity in the associations as more undergraduate batches join alongside the YIF. With 4 undergraduate batches and 2 MA batches being part of the association, they are almost 2800 strong! Most notably, this is the first year that is witnessing a UG candidate for presidency – Akash Megh Sharma. The fact that he’s a UG candidate, he believes, helps set him apart from others as he has spent 4 years on the campus. Having collaborated and fought alongside his peers for a much longer time, being a UG candidate in the elections is an important distinction. Having a diverse council representing more cohorts is only adding to the credibility of the AAA.
The Election Commission and the Campaigning
The Election Commission, led by Vibhor Relhan as the Election Commissioner, is the custodian of the electoral process. Its composition is decided by the previous Council and approved by the Board. They have been hard at work on these elections since a month now and have a packed week ahead as the 48 hours of elections, followed by counting of the votes shall be administered by them.
With the campaigning period coming to a close at noon on 7th August, the candidates are in the throes of the momentum which has built up to this point. An array of agendas is being campaigned by the candidates- Shivani Bajaj, a candidate from UG19 batch, says she’d like to create more opportunities for diverse and deserving students by executing a long-term financial plan to increase year on year scholarship disbursement by AAA. Vedhika, a presidential candidate from the YIF18 batch, plans to increase the AAA’s accountability, induce an inclusive Ashoka community and focus on a post pandemic roadmap and take local chapters to the tier 2 cities so more alumni can benefit. Nivedita, another presidential candidate from the YIF16 batch, makes it her mission to create an autonomous and accountable Council.
The AAA, brings the outside world to Ashoka as much as they take the Ashokan values and mission to places beyond the institute’s campus. It is an association that we as students of the university would soon be a part of upon graduating. The success of these elections would add that much more value to the AAA and increased engagement acts as a furtherer of their mission. So keep an eye out for the results as it would bring in the council that would lead the AAA into a future fit for the rest of us to be a part of!