If you are reading this you have already taken the first step. You have decided to be the chief cook and bottle washer for organizing the reunion.
This step should be started at least a year and a half before the planned reunion.
Get together with one or two of your classmates who can and are willing to spend considerable amount of time. This will be your initial core team (to be expanded later).
Get a copy of you class souvenir and scan it into a database. Also create a database of all the names in the souvenir. We had created an EXCEL table with all the info in the souvenir plus columns for current address, phone numbers, email addresses. We should have added columns for country code and identify the phone numbers as land or mob/cell.
Update the current info for all your classmates that is readily available.
You should also get a DROPBOX to share info among the team members.
With the ground work laid you are ready to start the fun and challenging part of locating your missing classmates.
The least cumbersome way to locate your classmates is by networking with those for whom you already have the info.
To locate classmate in India you can use www.phunwa.com and put in the person’s name and last known location. You will get a list of names and then you will have to patiently make phone calls to those names and you may get lucky and find your classmates. We were able to locate quite a few this way. In addition to the person’s name you can also try using any other name associated with the person in the souvenir e.g. father, brother.
About three or four months into this process you will have enough data to ascertain whether you have a viable population to hold a reunion.
Send out group emails floating the idea and the general dates for the reunion. You will need one on one emails and phone calls. We found that talking on the phone while time consuming was a good way to get a greater participation not only in the attendance but in locating classmates.
Once the decision is made to proceed with the reunion then your team has to be expanded.
The team should be expanded to include:
Someone in India who can coordinate and work with BIT. BIT has a Dean for Alumni relations – the contact info can be found on the BIT website.
At least 2 people with editorial skills to put together a reunion souvenir. Prepare a sample reunion souvenir page for someone on the team. Let the editorial team work on it and get it to a “final stage”
Send out emails requesting info you want to include in the reunion souvenir and attach a copy of the sample souvenir. This will require a lot of follow up with multiple phone calls and one on one emails. At this point you may need to enlist the help of other classmates to put pressure on the procrastinators.
Decide on the accommodations. One place is the BIT Guest House which is very much like a hostel but is included in the registration fee charged by BIT. It is good option for those classmates who will be stretching themselves to attend the reunion. For those who can afford better accommodations there is the BNR Hotel and the Radisson. The team member from India can get a list of hotels and prices.
Set a preliminary agenda for the reunion.
If you will need (I am sure you will) funds to cover the costs of the reunion you can either charge an additional amount or ask for contributions.
After the dates and the accommodation situation is finalized send out an email announcing the dates of the reunion, the total cost to the classmate, accommodation options a preliminary agenda and the suggested dates of arrival and departure.
Be prepared for lot of one on one emails and telephone follow ups.
We created an EXCEL file keeping track of responses.
WHILE GOING THROUGH THIS PROCESS YOU WILL WONDER IF YOU HAD LOST YOUR MIND TO TAKE ON THIS RESPONSIBILITY – IN THE END IT WILL BE ALL WORTH IT. YOU WILL BE FORMING BONDS WITH YOUR OLD AND LOST FRIENDS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
QUICK RESOURCE REFERENCE:
Letter by mail in India
Most useful in finding landline phone numbers in India is phunwa.com. Use various combinations of first name, last name and the name of the possible city. Select a few most likely phone numbers and make calls. Also use the last name with different first name because they may be relatives. Ask the person if they know your classmate.
Use Google and LinkedIn and you may get lucky to find some matching people. Review their credentials, age and educational background and make an educated guess.
For US and Canada, whitepages.com is a very good source.
Radaris.com is similar to whitepages.com but it could provide a phone number that whitepages.com may not list.
Sending a letter by post using the address shown on your batch’s Souvenir some time reaches the original address and it could be forwarded by the current resident. The 1963 batch found one batch-mate through this method.
Setting up a website for your batch.
Register yourself on this website and then login.
Click on ***Go To MY Batch Site***
On next page, enter your graduation year and submit.
You will be shown a page with your graduation year.
Click on various links and see if there is any content loaded. If there is no content loaded, you will see a message to this affect.
You can browse the site for the 1963 graduation year and see examples of content loaded under various links.
BIT Mesra Contacts
Contact Dean of Alumni and International Relations. Contact details are listed on this page.