The All India Catholic University Federation (AICUF), a University Student Movement, works through University students who as a team want to do something for their own growth and the welfare of society in which they live in. They draw their inspiration from the person and life of Jesus Christ. The AICUF motto is: "We are born in an unjust society, and we are determined not to leave it as we have found it." Associate membership is given to students of other faiths who share the ideologies of the AICUF as enshrined in its Constitution and the West Bengal State Policy Document. There are 22 units in West Bengal. In Kolkata itself there are 12 units - five at St. Xavier's (Bengali, English, Hindi, Santhali and XIA). Within the WB AICUF there are Adivasi Yuvaa Chetna Manch (AYCM) and Womens' Commission, which have been formed for specific purposes. Presently our AICUF State Advisor is Rev. Fr. Dr. Felix Raj, SJ; Co-Advisor is Rev. Fr. Dr. Dominic Savio, SJ; State Animator is Rev. Fr. M.S. Arockiasamy, SJ; State Coordinator is Dr. Charlotte Simpson-Veigas and the Professor-in-Charge of the Santhali unit is Prof. Aparajita Hembrom. In the year 2014-15, AICUF organized a plethora of programmes. They are as follows:
The AICUF (All India Catholic University Federation) of St. Xavier's College (Autonomous), Kolkata, held an Orientation Programme on the 20th of July 2014 to welcome approximately four hundred new members to its family. The AICUF is a students movement and it has a social dimension. It aims to subvert structures of injustice in the society through non-violent action. Each member is taught how to develop leadership skills and to live by the AICUF motto- "we are born in an unjust society and we are determined not to leave it as we have found it." West Bengal AICUF started its journey under the charismatic leadership of Rev.Fr. G. Beckers, SJ in 1959. It continues to do commendable work under the able guidance and visionary leadership of Rev.Fr. Dr. J. Felix Raj, SJ, the State Advisor of West Bengal State AICUF and is assisted by Rev.Fr. Dr. Dominic Savio, SJ, the State Co-Advisor. The Orientation Programme began with a Eucharistic celebration by Rev. Fr. Dr. Mathew Jayant, SJ, the main celebrant and Rev.Fr. M.S. Arockiasamy, SJ, who is also the new State Animator for West Bengal AICUF. After the Eucharistic celebration Mariya Varghese, the State Convenor for West Bengal AICUF delivered a welcome speech following which Dr. Charlotte Simpson-Veigas, the State Coordinator for West Bengal AICUF, motivated the students by her inspirational words on leadership and how AICUF plays an integral and positive role in personality development and character formation. Thereafter, Rev. Fr. M.S. Arockiasamy, SJ delivered a speech followed by a short introduction of the State Team, National Team and National Council members elected from amongst the students. Rev. Fr. M.S. Arockiasamy, SJ, Dr. Charlotte Simpson-Veigas and the new members were then escorted to the 'green bench area' inside the college campus by the office bearers. Refreshments were served. The new members were then sent to their respective units. AICUF has five units and two commissions namely - the English, XIA (Xaverians in Action), Bengali, Hindi and Santhali units as well as the SWC (State Women's Commission) and AYCM (Adiwasi Yuva Chetna Manch). Orientations were conducted in allotted classrooms by the office bearers of each unit. The orientations included powerpoint presentations and videos on AICUF as a movement. The presentations described the aims and objectives of AICUF and the various events it organizes throughout the year. This was followed by interactive sessions with Rev. Fr. M.S. Arockiasamy, SJ, the State Animator and Dr. Charlotte Simpson- Veigas, the State Coordinator. They were accompanied by Maria Varghese, the State Convenor, Alex Thakur, the State Co-convenor and Nixon Peter and Anshula Medha Murmu, the State Part- Timers along with the SWC and AYCM office bearers as they moved on from unit to unit. During the interactive sessions, students were encouraged to participate enthusiastically in all the activities organized by AICUF. This wholehearted participation would definitely enhance their academic and scholastic performance. As St. Francis of Assisi had said, 'For it is in giving that we receive'. The orientation ended with fun activities organized by the office bearers. This was followed by short sessions and experience sharing of ex-AICUFers and ex-office bearers. This further provided a motivational boost to the new AICUFers. AICUF is proud to welcome a large number of new members to its family. It is committed to its legacy to pass on the AICUF values and traditions to its students and to motivate them to work for societal change and progress. The marginalized and the downtrodden are at the centre of AICUF's action plan. AICUF also wishes to congratulate the new State Team, National Team and National Council Members along with the new office bearers for the year 2014-15. They have been elected from the senior, second and third year students of the college. Rev. Fr. M.S. Arockiasamy, SJ and Dr. Charlotte Simpson-Veigas shared many plans which will be put into action through collective efforts. AICUF, as it proceeds along this enriching journey, is committed to the empowerment of the marginalized and deprived sections of the society.
Celebration of the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola
On July 31st the All India Catholic University Federation (AICUF), celebrated the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus at St. Xavier's College, Kolkata. The program commenced with a Eucharistic celebration in the college chapel. Fr. Dominic Savio, the Co-Advisor of AICUF was the main celebrant along with fifteen priests. An entrance hymn accompanied by a dance welcomed the celebrants to the altar. Hymns were sung in English, Hindi,Bengali and Malayalam by the choir members of AICUF. Fr. Felix Raj, the AICUF Advisor and the guiding light of AICUF introduced and welcomed the "high-powered AICUF State Team"- Fr. Arockiasamy (the State Animator), Dr. Charlotte Simpson-Veigas (the State Co-ordinator) and the other members. After the Holy Mass, light refreshments were served. This was followed by a cultural program on the college grounds. It included an Adivasi tribal dance and a street play on the early life of St. Ignatius of Loyola, performed by the students. The day's celebration ended on an inspirational and joyous note. The attendants of the celebration took back with them the very inspiring and motivational words from Fr. Dominic Savio's sermon enlightening them on the guiding principles of St. Ignatius. All present were reminded of the meaningful words of St. Ignatius, "what profits a man if he gains the whole world but suffers the loss of his own soul". This very principle is also a guiding light for the Jesuits and they urge everyone to be inspired by the unconditional love St. Ignatius had for Jesus and wish that each one of us imbibe it as well. AICUF wishes to spread this message and encourages everyone to take a leaf out of St. Ignatius's spiritual life.
Santal Hul was celebrated by the Santali unit of AICUF. It was held on 31st August, 2014 at St. Xavier's College (Autonomous). The Santal Hul was last celebrated by AICUF after a hiatus of four years. The enthusiastic celebration therefore was all the more praiseworthy. A meaningful theme was chosen for the event. The theme was "Santal Hul: A Flame for Renaissance". The programme was organized by the students under the effective leadership of the AICUF State Animator Fr. M.S. Arockiasamy, the State Co-ordinator Dr. Charlotte Simpson-Veigas and the Santali Unit Advisor Prof. Aprajita Hembrom. The Santali Unit President Kushal Murmu gave a introductory speech on the significance of the event. This was followed by a talk on Santali culture by Fr. M.S. Arockiasamy. The AICUFers performed a skit showcasing the significance of Santal Hul in the struggle for independence. A panel discussion was conducted in order to pay homage to those who sacrificed their lives through dedicated service for the upliftment of the Santals. Memories of the Santal Hul that had occurred several decades ago were brought to life through this discussion. The panelists included Dr. Timothias Hembrom, Dr.Anand Besra, Ms.Ruby Hembrom and a student representative Atman Tete. The vote of thanks by Sudhir Kisku brought the curtains down on the event.
The All India Catholic University Federation (AICUF) organized a talent hunt competition entitled "THE SPOTLIGHT -Envision Ta l ent Beyond Exposure" at St. Xavier's College Kolkata, on September 7, 2014. The program was inaugurated with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp by Rev. Dr. Dominic Savio (The AICUF State Co-advisor and Vice Principal of the B.com and BBA departments). He was accompanied by Fr. Joseph Kulandai (Vice Principal of St. Xavier's Collegiate School), Fr. M.S. Arockiasamy (AICUF State Animator) and Dr. Charlotte Simpson-Veigas (AICUF State Coordinator).
The programme consisted of a series of on-stage as well as off stage events. On stage events included items such as solo/duet performances, minute to win it, battle of bands and group dances. Off stage events included photography, videography and Junk funk. The second half of the program showcased exceptional band performances as well as a guest performance by Shayne David Hyrapiet who kept the audience actively engaged throughout. The group dance was performed by three colleges - AIMK, Scottish Church College and St. Xavier's College. St. Xavier's College bagged the much coveted first prize in the competition with their exceptional performance. The program ended with the prize distribution ceremony. A vote of thanks was pronounced. The contribution of all those who made the event a grand success was duly acknowledged.
AICUF celebrated Adiwasi Diwas on Sunday, September 21, 2014. The event began with Holy mass which was presided over by Fr. Dominic Gomes-Vicar General Archdiocese of Calcutta, along with Fr. M.S. Arockiasamy SJ, State Animator AICUF, West Bengal. The programmes for the day were organized in the Primary School building of St. Xaviers Collegiate School. The Chief Guest at the event was Mr. Innocent Soren, Deputy General Manager RBI. He along with Fr. Arockiasamy (West Bengal State Animator) and Dr. Charlotte Simpson-Veigas (West Bengal State Co-ordinator) received a traditional welcome into the gathering. This was followed by the washing of the feet of the dignitaries as a symbol of love and respect. The traditional tikka was then applied on the forehead of each of the dignitaries. The students of the AYCM (Adivasi Yuva Chetana Manch) presented a beautiful song. The Chief Guest and the other dignitaries were then presented with shawls. Mr. Innocent Soren began his speech by requesting the audience to rise and sing the National Anthem along with him. He delivered a powerful speech which inspired and motivated everyone in the gathering to be an agent of social change in the community. The dignitaries and office bearers were then invited to light the lamp. This was followed by the interparish debate, prize distribution for painting and essay competition and fashion show based on tribal culture. After the lunch break there were other events that included Nepalese and Khasi songs, a skit written, directed and performed by the AYCM students. This was followed by a Santhali dance competition. The programme concluded with a prize distribution ceremony.
State Puja Camp
THE AICUF State Puja Camp was held in North Bengal St. Th th Xavier's College Campus, Rajganj from 30 September to 5 October 2014. There were three AICUF units which included AICUF of St.Xavier's College, Kolkata, North Bengal Xavier's College Rajganj and St. Joseph College, Darjeeling. The theme was " I am, I can, I will: Catalyst for change"
The camp was a very enriching experience for all. Each one of the AICUFers went back to their destinations after having benefitted tremendously from the exposure.
Celebration of the Feast of St. Francis Xavier
The West Bengal AICUF (All India Catholic University Federation) took initiative in organizing and celebrating the Feast Day Mass of Saint Francis Xavier on the 3rd of December, 2014. The day, which marked the 462nd death anniversary of the patron saint of St. Xavier's College commenced with Holy Mass at 8:30 am in the College Chapel. The main celebrant for this Eucharistic Celebration was Rev. Fr. M.S. Arockiaswamy SJ. The other co-celebrants were Rev. Fr. Dr. J Felix Raj SJ, Rev. Fr. Dominic Savio SJ and Rev. Fr. Benny Thomas SJ. AICUF members of St. Xavier's College took active part in the choir and liturgy under the mentorship of Dr. Charlotte Simpson-Veigas, State Coordinator and Ma'am Aparajita Hembrom, Professor-in-charge of the Santali Unit of WB-AICUF. Introductory speech and welcome address was given by Aiswarya Ann Jomy. (Co-Convener, State Women's Commission). The First Reading and Prayers of the Faithful were read by Samantha Raspin (Secretary, English Unit) & Atman Tete respectively. Rev. Fr. Dr. J. Felix Raj SJ, State Advisor for WB-AICUF also extended his welcome to all who had gathered there on this auspicious occasion. The day also marked the unveiling of a full sized marble statue of Saint Francis Xavier in the courtyard of the college. Among those who attended the program were students and faculty of both St. Xavier's College and St. Xavier's Collegiate School. The celebrations came to an end after refreshments were provided to everyone who had gathered.
AICUF Annual Retreat 2015
West Bengal AICUF conducted a one-day spiritual retreat for th the students of St. Xavier's College on Sunday, the 8 of February, 2015. Around 150 students from various departments of the college came together for a day of prayer and reflection. The retreat commenced with a hymn and short prayer by Rev. Fr. Gregory Monteiro, Regional Director of ICYM (Indian Catholic Youth Movement) and also the preacher for the sessions during the course of the retreat. Fr. Gregory, through his talks made the students understand the value of being a follower of Christ and the importance of embracing the uniqueness God has blessed each individual with. Other activities included various action songs enthusiastically organized by the office bearers of AICUF and the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Penance. The students spent the second half of the day prepping up for Confession and taking part in the Eucharistic Celebration. The retreat proved to be an enriching experience for all who had gathered as it embodied one of the primary objectives of AICUF: To help the students evolve spirituality rooted in God which flourishes in a rich humanization through the praxis: Involvement-Reflection-Involvement.
Visit to St. Joseph's Old Age Home
With the motto of bringing a social change in the unjust society that we live in, we the AICUFers of West Bengal unit took up the initiative of serving the society by helping the old people. We decide upon St. Joseph old age home visit as it had a large number of senior citizens in it. We started with our visit on February 16, 2014 by introducing to the residents and sisters of the home in the form of a small orientation. Our visits were then officially declared by the lighting of the lamp by Sr. Anne and two of the senior members of the house. We had a couple of actions songs by the entire group of office bearers. This was followed by a session where we interacted with the residents in which they participated in the form of dance, songs and sharing. We now go for regular visits at least twice a week and nearly 15 students participate in each visit.
AICUF Day 2015
The All India Catholic University Federation held its annual event - AICUF Day 15' "BE THE CHANGE TO BRING THE CHANGE" on 3rd of March 2015 at St. Xavier's College Kolkata. The day commenced with a Eucharistic celebration in the chapel at 8am. Thereafter the inaugural ceremony began in the auditorium with a welcome speech by Anshula Medha Murmu the State Part-Timer and the dignitaries were then invited on stage to light the lamp. This was followed by a prayer song after which Fr. Felix Raj, the Principal and State Advisor addressed the audience.
This year AICUF was able to launch the YUVA PRAGATI magazine which entails all the events that AICUF organises throughout the year. It was inaugurated by Fr. Felix Raj and copies were handed over to the dignitaries present on stage. Scholarships were then distributed to the students by Fr. Dominic Savio. The day's events started with a performance by the Ghoshotmat children to a peppy dance song. They were then given gifts on stage and encouraged by the loud applauses and cheers from the audience. After their performance the various units put up their individual acts related to different social issues such as, terrorism, swach bharat, women's rights, student issues, conversion and homecoming, women abuse and protection, along with tribal issues. These issues were presented through videos, dance drama, songs, and after lunch the second half of the day commenced with some cultural performances such as the Adivasi tribal dance, the Nepali tribal dance and the bamboo dance which is the native dance for the Nagas. An entertainment skit was also performed by the students of St. Xavier's college Hostel. After the events came to a conclusion, the program's closing ceremony included a vote of thanks by Alex Naveen Thakur the State Co-Convenor.
AICUF State Council Meeting
The All India Catholic University Federation conducted its annual state council meeting on the 14th of April, 2015 at 9:00am. The main objective of this meeting was to select the Convenor, Co- Convenor and the state team for the year 2015- 2016 and to briefly discuss the agenda for the year. The teachers present were Dr.Charlotte Simpson Veigas, the State Co-ordinator and Miss. Aprajita Hembrom, the Santhali unit Co- ordinator. Also present was Fr. Arokiasamy, the State Animator and Dr.Fr. Felix Raj, the State Advisor, along with the newly elected office bearer from different units. The meeting began with a short introduction by Nixon Peter, the State part timer for the year 2014-15, after which all the newly elected office bearers briefly introduced themselves and the office they hold. This was then followed by an orientation on AICUF by Fr. Arokiasamy, where he stressed upon the functioning and the activities performed by AICUF. He also discussed the thrust areas and the structure which is followed along with the main objectives as to why AICUF was set up. After this very inspiring talk by Fr. Arokiasamy, there was a short message given by Dr. Charlotte Simpson Veigas on Bullying vs Effective Leadership. In her message she stated the importance of identifying what bullying is and to inculcate ways to eradicate it. During the talk there was an interactive session where questions were asked and the audience gave their opinion. This was really interesting and everyone present was truly enlightened and took part actively. Soon after this Dr.Fr Felix Raj was warmly welcomed and once again all the office bearers formally introduced themselves unit wise. This was then followed by a very inspiring and motivating talk by father, where he mentioned how AICUF originated and also identified the differences between AICUF today and AICUF when it first started. He stated the importance of working together as a team and building up AICUF and in creating awareness about it in the society at large. The state team members were then chosen. From every unit one member was selected to represent the state team. Then from amongst the state team the new National team member and the National council members were selected. Part-timers were also appointed from amongst the students. The newly elected members were given a huge round of applause and were wished luck for their future endeavors and smooth functioning of AICUF.
Ghostomath is a small village near Kabardanga in Keorapukur which has been adopted by AICUF in 2006. It has a small Christian population with a 'girja ghar' where every Sunday, AICUF volunteers are taken from college to teach and interact with the local village children and to get an idea about how those people struggle to get proper education and how their parents take care of their needs and necessities. Ghostomath is AICUFs main artery. Through this program AICUF tries to instill in its members a sense of social commitment towards the weaker sections of our society, especially the children who are the future of the nation. It gives an opportunity to the students of our college to go in the midst of those village children and experience the difficulties they have to face in order to continue with their education.
The AICUF is committed to social justice and encourages it through action on every possible platform. Any student who would like to associate with AICUF may contact Rev. Fr. M.S. Arockiasamy, SJ (State Animator) or Dr. Charlotte Simpson- Veigas (State Coordinator) at the AICUF office in Jubilee Building of the College.