Rector of Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), Prof. Ir. Panut Mulyono, M.Eng., D.Eng., met with hundreds of alumni who joined UGM Alumni Association (KAGAMA) in West Nusa Tenggara in an event titled UGM Greets Alumni in the Aruna Hotel, Senggigi, West Lombok, on Saturday. (29/7). In that event the Rector asked the alumni to form synergy in order to give contributions to the nation.
The Rector said currently the number of UGM alumni was about 300 thousand people, spreading across the nation and abroad. “In some world regions, UGM alumni associations have been set up, including in the Middle East, Japan, and the US. Those associations form synergies and orchestrate their vision and steps to develop Indonesia forward,” he said.
From several alumni that have strategic positions in the Indonesian regions, such as West Nusa Tenggara, Rector asked to open opportunities for collaboration in order to support the progress of that region, so that the regional development can be achieved optimally.
He added each year UGM sends thousands of students for the Student Community Service programme that is now focused on remote, isolated and underdeveloped regions. The Rector hoped this programme to be supported by the alumni in those regions so as to develop local welfare while doing suitable projects.
“We will also collaborate with local universities so we can establish a student network after their graduation,” he added. Cooperation with the local universities is expected to increase applicable scientific contributions, the Rector said, adding, “We want to have state leader candidates that have characters whilst always serving the society,” he said.
Chairman of Kagama in West Nusa Tenggara, Mamik Lalu Azhar, appreciated the visit by the Rector that went to greet the alumni directly. Mamik wished UGM give contributions to the local people through technology applications that can improve the economy of the people of Lombok who are mostly farmers.
“You can say that there is no technology touch on the local agricultural products. There may be a technology for cultivation that can be applied here by the local people. The technology learned at the campus can really be applied here,” said the alumnus from 1961 who is known as higher education initiator in the province.
Regent of West Lombok, Fauzan Khalid, said one form of real contributions that can be given by UGM to the people of Lombok is giving added value to agricultural products. “Added value for agricultural products is one of the basic problems here,” he said.
As high as 70 percent of Lombok people work in agricultural sector with poverty rate at 16-17 percent in this group. To improve their welfare, according to the Regent, a programme is required to increase the added value of agricultural products. “I think this can be a subject of attention for UGM,” said the graduate programme alumnus of UGM.