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Anant student Shreenath Lohana’s journey: From virtual campus to global success

EducationWorld March 2024 | Spotlight Feature
Shreenath LohanaShreenath S Lohana

Shreenath S Lohana, a nature enthusiast born and brought up in the busy city of Mumbai in India, is driven by his boundless curiosity to learn. He is pursuing Bachelor of Design, majoring in Product Design at Anant National University (Anant) and has recently ventured into making value-based card and board games. His passion for facilitating enriching experiences for his community have led him to play key roles in organizing large-scale events at Anant and kept up his enthusiasm to explore new avenues of collaborations. 

My experience at Anant has been quite a rollercoaster to be honest. I joined in the covid year as an online student who had virtual classes for a year. Although it may seem dull and boring, we actually had a great time, we celebrated festivals together online, facilitated a club-fair and even did an online concert. To top this up, we even made our own virtual campus and pitched the idea to our provost at one of the Open Conversations that were held every fortnight where students directly interacted with the highest authority at Anant with an open heart. That is one of the things I loved about the first year. We also had a great set of faculty who constantly put in extra efforts to make the classes engaging, especially because design is something you learn together and while being amongst people, not in isolation. 

Finally when the Covid era was over, we were back on campus and it was a delight to finally meet those virtual friends and cherish the fact that they were not just an avatar, they are real people! As far as I can remember, I spent the entire 2nd year of my course on campus dedicated to different sets of events, meeting new people, learning new things and growing with all that abundance of experiences. Being a part of the Festival & Sponsorship EC (Executive Circle) made that even easier for me to take part in the multitude of events, from festivals to convocation to even large scale events like The Vadnagar Conference hosted by UNESCO. I extended this enthusiasm when I became the Student Council President in the following year and made my efforts to initiate new things that the students of Anant could potentially continue and it could become a part of the culture, here at Anant. I found this opportunity very special, that we as a collective of students have the ability to set the trend and I left no stone unturned. I initiated a set of ‘Design Challenges’ ( which are a set of brain teasing exercises that would get students out of their inertia and get them to start something), the ‘Collaboration Board’ (an effort to create a platform for students to connect over projects to gain experience and encourage peer-learning), a ‘Midnight Cafe’ (run by students for those midnight craving while burning that midnight oil), a ‘Weekday Window’ (a weekly showcase of students works for peer-learning), ‘Hamri-Journal’ (a documentational effort to record all the events done as a Festival EC which could potentially be carried forward) and Tatvakosh (a material library to enhance the experience to understanding materiality). 

Shreenath Lohana

Apart from doing things for the larger audience, I also had great learning opportunities at the power-packed labs at Anant. Starting from the Maker’s Space where I soaked in the ways of working with different materials such as Wood, Metal, Clay and POP. The Visual arts studio where we learnt different mediums, methods of sketching and model making techniques. I spent a lot of time here with the faculty to develop my performance art piece, ‘A_Drishya’ as a part of my final assignment. The place that gave me immense power of working was the next-gen product design lab, Futureshift. I spent endless hours working on different projects, assisting others as a lab assistant and the best part working on live projects such as the Rathyatra which was in collaboration with the Government of Gujarat. Last but not the least, the Earthlink Lab, now known as Earthlink 27.32; A hypervisualization and AR Lab. This was the place where I had started my first studio project, Calamatrix, a card game to combat climate change, in 2022. 

Today after constant efforts and support from the university I have been able to achieve a great set of milestones in the project such as, being qualified as a finalist for the Amrit Mahostav Hackathon in 2022-23, registering an IP for the project, presenting my project at the ‘Future of Learning Symposium’  held at Anant and getting global validation from a test crowd at the ‘Salzburg Global Seminar’ where I was the representative of Anant and India among a diverse cohort of students from across the globe. 

I can wholeheartedly say that I am proud to be a student of Anant. I have always found the right support system here at Anant, from initiating events to working on live projects, my peers, the faculty, the staff and the entire institution as a whole has played a vital role in my journey of growth. 

One needs immense passion to build a rocket and that rocket can reach heights like never before, if it gets the right launching pad, just as I found mine at Anant.

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