Royal College Union (RCU) the old-boys’ arm of the Royal College was started on 17 January 1891 and we have just completed 122 years of existence. It has no doubt weathered many storms from the Victorian times up to now and evolved into a modern alumni association fully aware and sensitive to the ground situation of the country and the needs of the present student population of Royal College. The student population of the College has now evolved as a microcosm of the Sri Lankan population, with children from all races, religions, all walks of life rubbing shoulders with each other. This composition, while being a good fermenting process to mould children to face the future Sri Lankan and world society, has its own problems that our forefathers who brought forth the union in 1891 did not have or even could imagine. However, we have successfully faced them and conquered them to assist our old school to continue to be the top most primary and secondary education institution in the country.
The Royal College Union is headed by the Principal as the ex officio President. The CEO of the Union is the Secretary. There are fifteen Vice Presidents appointed with the concurrence of the Council – chosen from amongst distinguished old Royalists over 60 years of age. The main office bearers are nine in number and are elected at the AGM and the Council comprises of 288 council members. Ten Trustees, selected amongst old Royalists who have distinguished themselves in public or private sector and with a financial background are chosen to manage the RCU Trust. The Trust manages all endowments made to the Union. Any excess funds that the Union or any of its committees have generated during fund raising activities have to be lodged with the Trust, for which the trust pay interest at commercial rates.
There are two arms to administer the funds and the endowments made to the Union. They are the Royal College Union Trust and the Finance Committee of the Union. The Trust is an entity by itself, established by an act of parliament in 1949, administered by the Trustees appointed by the Union.
It is the Finance Committee of the Union that oversees and controls the finances of the Union. The Finance Committee or FC as it is referred to often, consists of five eminent members of the RCU nominated by the Principal. They are drawn from the public or corporate sector with ample exposure to finance and financial controlling, often with professional qualifications in accounting, etc. In addition the Union Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Secretary, Assistant Treasurer, the Royal College Union Trust Secretary and the Trust Assistant Secretary are ex officio members. The Principal, as the President of the Union presides and the Treasurer of the Union acts as the secretary of the FC. They meet at least 5-6 times during a year and vet all financial proposals, fund raising projects before a go ahead is given to proceed. They also minutely check all expenditure after any project. Audited reports have to be submitted to them of all projects after the completion of the project and they have the right to inquire into any activity while it is in progress, if they are inclined to do so. This is to ensure that all funds raised or donated to the Union are properly used for the purpose for which they were raised or donated. The system has worked perfectly for years and it is extremely important to note that there has been no malpractice reported or detected to-date.
It is also important to note that the RCU, its affiliates and member groups spend approximately 30 million rupees (SLR) annually towards co-curricular, extra-curricular, sports, skills development, scholarship awarding, student welfare, teachers welfare and other activities of our alma-mater. In addition the RCU has over the years built and donated many infrastructure facilities valued over apprx. 400 million rupees (SLR), such as the RC Sports Complex, Swimming pool, new Hostel building, Skills Development, Career guidance and counselling centre and JRJ Pavilion amongst many others.
The Union has nine statutory committees and 23 Advisory & Management Committees to look into and manage the multifarious activities of the Union, undertaken to assist the College – ranging from sports and games to student counselling, infrastructure development, scholarship awarding and income generation. The council of the Union also has the right and ability to form an ad hoc committee for a specific project or purpose, if the existing committees do not cover the area.
As our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative the RCU organizes the annual EDEX exhibition (Sri Lanka’s largest Higher Education and Careers exhibition) which also makes the single most significant financial contribution to the RCU trust. In addition the merchandising shop, college affiliated credit cards issued by two leading banks and the life membership fees are other sources of regular incomes.
The Union looks after the requirements of needy and academically, aesthetically or athletically capable students via the Loyalty Pledge scheme. Funds are obtained from generous old boys and well-wishers who voluntarily donate money to the scheme periodically – monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc. and scholarships are awarded to the needy students. Details on making donations, the application processes, selection criterions and administration processes of this scholarship program are available on www.rcu.lk/give.
The committees that deal with games raise an enormous amount of funds for training, coaching, sport equipment, sports infrastructure development and food and nutrition of players. Cricket and rugby management committees lead in the sphere – they being the oldest and most glamorous sports having historic encounters with schools with which we have long standing ties and friendly rivalries. They need to spend millions on these sports, as salaries for coaches, nutrition, equipment, etc.