In mid-2019, one of our classmates (C’77) posted pictures of our hostel 5 on WhatsApp. There was an uproar.
The hostel (if one could call it that) looked terrible. We were not sure if we were looking at photos of what was once our home or a crumbling ruin like the Golkonda fort. After the initial shock, we decided that we needed to do something before the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) stepped into IIT and declared H5 to be a “protected” structure and opened it up to tourists to visit a medieval ruin.
Shortly a group of alumni from the ’70s and ’80s assembled and the brainstorming started. After considering a variety of options it was decided to focus on improving living conditions in the hostel by adding toilet facilities on every floor of every wing and two modern study rooms in the open play area between wings. The estimated cost for the project – roughly INR 3.5 Crores. Some sharp minds calculated that it was roughly 2.8 million times the monthly hostel rent we paid during our time.
Then came the next question – would the Institute allow us to do such a project?
We approached the then Dean ACR Prof. Suhas S Joshi who is currently the Director of IIT Indore. And to our delight, he strongly supported the idea and we put together a potential MoU outlining how the Institute, IITBAA and IITBHF would work together and what we would deliver to the institute. The proposed design and MoU were reviewed across the Institute – infrastructure and planning, student affairs, finance, H5 students – and approval was obtained from the appropriate committee of the Board of Governors. In other words, IIT allowed us to become architects, engineers, contractors, project managers, fund raisers and make H5, a home again.
In early 2020, we were ready to roll when the pandemic struck and everything ground to a halt. Then sometime in October ’20 we got a call from the anxious students of H5: When would the project would be rolled out? We sprang into action. A request for donations went out to the alumni of H5. The response was amazing – roughly 170 (Yes, one hundred and seventy only) alumni across the years from the mid-60s to 2019 donated roughly INR 5.5 Crores, i.e. 2 crores more than we thought we would raise. We were now in a position to do the planned enhancements to the hostel as well as much needed structural repairs to the hostel.
The accompanying photographs will give you some idea of how the hostel has been transformed.
The success of this community effort of the IITB alumni fraternity has galvanized the Institute, IITBAA and the IITBHF to dream and dare to venture into Project Evergreen – a world class hostel facility estimated to cost about INR 135 Crores.
The addition of two air-conditioned study rooms is a remarkable effort. Previously, we would usually go to the library - a kilometre away - to study. The cubicles are not only well equipped but also aesthetically pleasing - overall very conducive to single-minded pursuit of our educational goals. THANK YOU ALUMNI! − Jaskirat Singh Third-year Dual Degree Environmental Science and Engineering Department IIT Bombay