They top every college survey in the country, boast of heritage buildings, university toppers and renowned alumni.
But for the students on the St Xavier’s campus the most prestigious recognition is a little card with a chocolate tied to it or a ‘card-o-late’.
The card-o-late is the measure of a student’s popularity on campus.
“The more card-o-lates you get, the more popular you are. It is like a prestige symbol,” said Vrushali Karnik, a second year student who received 27 card-o-lates last year.
“The college notices the number of card-o-lates you get and you immediately become cool,” Karnik added.
The card-o-late counter opens a month before Malhar, their annual festival, and one can buy a card-o-late for Rs 10.
Once students write them out they are returned to the hospitality department who sort them out in separate bags.
“We have a register with the numbers of card-o-lates a student gets. Everyday inquisitive students come in to check how many card-o-lates they have collected. Students buy up to 40,” said Arshia Kaul, the hospitality head.
On the last day of Malhar, the bags are given to students and the final count of popularity is made. “About 35 card-o-lates puts you pretty high up on the list,” added Kaul.
But what does it take to popular on one of the most sort-after campuses in the city?
“It defies the ‘prom’ stereotype of popularity. It is not about the hippest or prettiest student,” said Oishani Mitra, coordinator of Malhar.
“It depends on how much you mingle. I knew a student who got 40 card-o-lates because it was just impossible not to like her.”