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Peradeniya Engineering Faculty Alumni Association establishes Colombo Chapter


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The Peradeniya Engineering Faculty Alumni Association, known as PEFAA, was formed in September 1991. The main objective of the association is to encourage, foster and promote close relationship between the Faculty and its alumni, and also to assist and support – financially and otherwise – the Faculty, its students and alumni. 

PEFAA was established with 483 members, under the guidance of former Dean, Emeritus Professor M.P. Ranaweera. At present there are more than 5,000 members. PEFAA is the first faculty level alumni association in the country. 

The expression ‘Peradeniya Engineering Faculty’ includes the Engineering Faculty of the University of Ceylon, the University of Sri Lanka (Peradeniya Campus) and the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.  Therefore all who graduated, and are/were members of the academic staff are eligible to be members of PEFAA. 

Throughout its journey of 26 years, PEFAA supports students who need financial backup by granting scholarships through its Students’ Fund. A few key activities of PEFAA are: organising membership gatherings at numerous locations, the New Year festival called ‘Hanthana Avurudu Udanaya’, annual trip for members, welcoming ceremony of new graduates soon after annual convocation, publishing newsletters and various support schemes for students and faculty. 

PEFAA coordinates studentships, prizes and awards such as the Prof. Mahalingam Endowment Fund Award, Award of Dr. Tilak Peiris and Ms. Nimala Peiris, Prof. Bartholomeuzs Fund, Studentships from Association of Engineers Pera Zero Batch and E/99 and coordinating overseas scholarships from Australia and UK. 

PEFAA also donated a bus to the Faculty, supported the Production Department Restoration Fund to coordinate generous donations to restore the fire-afflicted production lab. The restored laboratory will have state-of-the-art facilities. PEFAA also aids with loans for Faculty departments, Engineering Design Centre, etc. 

PEFAA recently started a project to provide a Wi-Fi-enabled synchronised clock system to the university (over 250 clocks costing Rs 10 m), refurbishing of lecture rooms and seminar halls, coordination of donation of latest books to libraries from well-wishers, and a digital university management system ‘Fedena’ for the Engineering Faculty. 

Supporting students is one of the key objectives of PEFAA. Students are provided with drawing instruments on lending basis, students are supported to travel overseas to represent research projects in international technical forums. PEFAA also provides support to the Art Circle to encourage extracurricular activities, sponsorships for the Innovators club, the Sports Club and loans for destitute students, etc.

PEFAA also organises talks on various topics mostly outside engineering by distinguished personalities, and musical events with leading artists in the country, where many of them are alumni of the University of Peradeniya. 

At the 26th Annual General Meeting of PEFAA, which was held on 2 December 2017 at E.O.E. Pereira Theatre with the participation of past Engineering graduates from the last 75 years, it was determined to form the PEFAA Colombo Chapter.

The main objective of the Colombo Chapter was to get engineers who graduated from Peradeniya and then University of Ceylon to get involved in PEFAA activities effectively. Another objective was to guide and assist alumni who have recently completed their course of study at the Faculty to obtain employment and to engage in productive pursuits that are beneficial to society. 

The Colombo Chapter will help undergraduates find suitable places for training and bridge the gap between the industry, academics and students to provide industry supported Research and Development opportunities to the Faculty.  Also by forming the PEFAA Colombo chapter, the alumni around Colombo who desire to help their alma mater and the students will get the opportunity to contribute. 

A group over 130 engineers from various from sixties to 2018 met in Colombo on 5 April at Sports Ministry Auditorium, Colombo 7 and formed the Executive Committee of PEFAA Colombo Chapter. 

The key members of the Executive Committee are President Eng. Nandana Abeysuriya, Managing Director of NCD Consultants Ltd.; Vice President Dr. H.M. Wijekoon, Deputy General Manager of CEB; Secretary Dr. Parakrama Ekanayake, Senior Lecturer of Faculty of Engineering University of Peradeniya; Editor Eng. Rajkumar, Deputy General Manager of National Water Supply & Drainage Board; and Treasurer Eng. Nilantha Balasooriya, Head of Schneider, Sri Lanka. 

The Committee has planned long-term and short-term goals for the PEFAA Colombo Chapter. The long term plan of PEFAA Colombo Chapter is to facilitate industrial training opportunities in the western province and also find circumstances for undergraduates to have wider exposure to the changing trends.  

This method would, in addition, avail opportunities for the undergraduates and the staff to attend a conference in Colombo. Students will be encouraged to partake in innovative research competitions and encourage the industry to partner with the faculty for research and development. 

The immediate or short-term plan of PEFAA Colombo chapter is to identify one or more projects that will benefit the faculty and take ownership to implement them in consultation with the faculty. In order to achieve that the committee has discussed to conduct workshops at the university to provide some insight about the growing market segments in the country and assess student employability qualities, skills and interests and advise on the culture of the workplace to make student referrals for job placement appropriately. 

Further the chapter has decided to create a job board or website that contains updateable job contacts and employer and career information. Moreover another short-term goal is to develop BSc/MSc courses for University of Peradeniya to cater to industry needs (resource personnel from the industry through Colombo Chapter) and encourage retired staff to participate in research and development.

The PEFAA Colombo Chapter membership drive is now on, and is requesting all the alumni of the faculty to join. There are three categories of memberships available:

Ordinary member – any person who has completed an Undergraduate or post-graduate course in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Peradeniya.

Life Member – any Ordinary Member can become a Life Member upon paying the Life Membership Fee.

Honorary Member – any person who not being eligible for ordinary membership but has rendered distinguished service to the Faculty, may be nominated by the Executive Committee and be elected by the Chapter as an Honorary member.

The Executive Committee is planning to ceremonial inauguration of PEFAA Colombo Chapter on 27 September and expect all the alumni who deeply care and are grateful towards the faculty, to get the membership and join the Chapter to contribute for the development of the faculty and student life in Peradeniya and Colombo.

 


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