'A synonym for excellence' is how Amrutha G Kartha, a software analyst at TCS, Cochin would like to refer to her alma mater, Adi Shankara College of Engineering and Technology (ASIET), located in Kalady, Kerala. It is a fact that eight out ten students love their college. However, Amrutha's love for her alma mater is not baseless; she states several reasons to show that her statement is not a flamboyant one.
In 2009, when Amrutha wanted to study engineering, Adi Shankara was not a preferred option for her. She wanted to study in a college, which was near her home and had the reputation of taking the cream of engineering aspirants from Kerala. "I was frustrated at that point thinking that a better performance in my entrance exam would have given me a chance to get an admission in the college, where I wanted to study. Therefore, I spent my first year in Adi Shankara like any other student, concentrating only on studies," says Amrutha, the girl who spent her entire first year in her dorm room, buried in her books, later went on to pioneer key initiative in the institute and was eventually awarded 'Best outgoing student of the year 2013.'
ASIET is one among the many self-financed colleges in Kerala, which were established in the early 2000s when the government decided to open the doors to private parties for running professional colleges. However, overruling close to 80 colleges that are lined up for the race at same time, the college came into limelight by creating a student centric learning environment. "Our aim is to provide value added technical education with flair of professional excellence and ethical values. To fulfill that, we need to give students the opportunities to take up responsibilities by themselves, beyond what the university has prescribe in its curriculum," says Dr. S. Gopalakrishna Iyer, Director, ASIET.
The institute's unorthodox approach towards engineering education has encouraged many students to come out from their comfort zone and Amrutha is one such example. "During my second year, we wanted to start a student chapter of IEEE in our college and we proposed our idea to the management. With immediate action, Iyer sir (Director) and other administrative members including faculty helped us and we started with 10 members," remembers Amrutha. The student chapter of IEEE at AISET that was been started off with limited number of volunteers is now one of the proactive associations initiated by the students of the campus. The student body organizes workshops and other events to create awareness among students about the latest technologies in the market. The recent achievement of ASIET students, who have reached the finals of All India Innovative Project Competition conducted by Texas Instruments, Bangalore, after superseding 1500 entries in the competition and wining the semifinals, which is organized at IIT-Chennai, speaks volumes about their zest to be present themselves in challenging situations.
"Hosting Microsoft DreamSpark Yatra was the first major event under IEEE student's chapter. With participation of around 250 students across the state, the event was very well appreciated and more than that it was a confidence booster for me as I could play a major role in making the event a successful one," says Amrutha. Like IEEE student's chapter, ASIET hosts numerous students driven clubs catering to the different needs of students and the society. While students' clubs of most colleges focus on conducting arts, sports and technical events, students of Adi Shankara have initiated many programs that can help the unprivileged societies living around their campus. Programs called 'Vidhyuth,' which gave electricity to 60 houses and 'Punarjani' - Organ Donation Awareness Program, are few such names to mention.
Seminars, conferences, cultural and technical events are now part of the day-to-day activities of ASIET. However, every year the students and staffs of ASIET wait for their biggest festival – 'Brahma.' Amrutha was the chairperson of student's union that had the whole responsibility of making 'Brahma' a huge event, as she explains, "Brahma is a three day festival, where students from all over the South-India gather in our campus to showcase their talents. To make the event a success, we require good amount of money and other resources. With the guidance of college management, 75 percentage of the job has to be done by us and that was big challenge." Events such as Brahma, which starts with performances of students and professionals in classical art forms followed by the other technical and non-technical competitions, has taught students of ASIET the challenges of taking leadership in a practical way.
"I have been practicing classical dance since I was five year old. I could carry that passion along with my studies as I got opportunities to showcase that talent at my college," claims Amrutha, who secured third rank in the M. G University B.Tech examination 2013 in Electrical and Electronics. Along with extracurricular activities, the institute has ensured that its students are not weak in their academics and other related activities. The long list of university rank holders including Amrutha and MNCs like TCS, Infosys, SIB, SAP, CTS, E&Y, Poornam Infovision, Spectrum Softech Solutions coming down to the extreme south of India to recruit students from ASIET, are testaments to this campus' achievements and to show that textbook is not the only tool to make successful professionals.
Dr. S. Gopalakrishna Iyer
Dr. (Prof.) S. Gopalakrishna Iyer holds a ME and a PhD and is the current Director of ASIET. He believes that India's transition to a knowledge economy requires a new generation of educated and skilled people who are flexible, analytical and can become the driving forces for innovation and growth.