When they understood the growing but scattered alumni strength of the University of Southern California (USC) in India, Ranjit Nair, President,USC Alumni Club, India, along with its other graduates, felt the need for a big event — a reunion of sorts — to bring them all under one roof. “Previously, we used to have events like a football match attended only by about 30-40 people, even though there are about 400 USC alumni in Mumbai alone,” said Nair, adding, “We realised there are more alumni we are not able to reach out to. So we decided to come up with a big event to draw most of them.”
In what may be called its first, full-scale reunion, graduates came together at “Celebrate USC event,” held at Mumbai’s Comedy Store on Sunday. The evening was also attended by the spouses and families of former USC students. It started at 7.30 pm with an hour-long casual mingling between students over cocktails and snacks followed by the evening’s centre-act of stand-up comedy show at the auditorium.
After a short introductory talk by Nair and a video-recorded message by the Dean of USC Engineering Department, comedians Vipul Goyal, Atul Khatri, Amogh Ranadive and Keshav Naidu took over. From taking digs at one’s own communities, to the audiences seated in the front row, the stand-up act kept those present hooked for over two hours.
Around 11 pm, the proceedings shifted upstairs to the sprawling dance floor-cum-lounge in Canvas, where dance, drinks and dinner awaited. The elaborately decked-up place was in perfect sync with the trademark USC colours of cardinal and gold.
Amar Agrawal, a USC alumni and owner of Comedy Store, who was one of the co-organisers of the event, said, “You would still trust your college buddy more than others. USC students in India hold huge prospects as a network that would help the alumni and faculty alike.”
Agrawal’s voluntary decision to sponsor the venue, food and drinks eased most of the event’s cost, according to Nair. With the help of a few others, the entire event became free of cost. “It is the first step towards building a formalised network for former students,” said Kamaldeep Chadha, director, USC India.