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A piece of Presidency for sale

Presidency College, Calcutta.

Presidency at 195 is the new kid on the brand block, aiming to cash in on the power of merchandising that global educational powerhouses like Oxford, Cambridge, Yale and Harvard have tapped for decades.

The proposed Presidency memorabilia store, packed with everything from T-shirts and ties to convocation gowns and coffee mugs, will be the second new-age addition to the campus after the Barista Lavazza outlet that opened recently.

Vice-chancellor Malabika Sarkar announced the plan in Prasangiki, the university’s annual report, on January 20. “A small outlet will be set up for display and sale of Presidency memorabilia bearing the Presidency logo. It’s part of our strategy to build a brand new image,” she told Metro.

Sarkar should know, having seen how her alma mater Cambridge has built an industry out of branded merchandise. She intends to form a team of experts to suggest how the memorabilia shop should be run, including drawing up a list of items to stock.

For those who cannot visit the campus store, especially former students and their families living elsewhere, there will be an online shop linked to the university’s new website, www.presiuniv.ac.in.

The memorabilia shop will be next to the Barista outlet trying to woo Presidency students who still swear by the Rs 5 coffee at Promodeda’s 35-year-old canteen.

Apart from the usual coffee mugs, T-shirts and watches bearing the university logo, suggestions for the merchandise list include postcards with a picture of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s plaque that was awarded to honour Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray. Copies of Presidency publications and articles by teachers and former students published in reputable international journals will also be available over the counter and online, an official said.

The proceeds from the sale of items like convocation gowns, bookmarks, letter openers, paper weights, key chains and the like will go to the university’s independent resource fund.

“More than revenue generation, this will be a public-relation exercise aimed at creating an identity and disseminating it across the globe,” vice-chancellor Sarkar said.