Were St. Stephen’s College a male Bollywood character, it would be introduced as “ Stephen’s. Naam toh suna hoga.” Or if it were a male character in a Hollywood movie, it would introduce itself as “Stephen’s. St. Stephen’s.” You could not have grown up in Delhi and not heard from your parents about how prestigious the college is. I refuse to believe it. Every student from a non-engineering, non-medical background aims (or is made to aim) for the college. Here is everything you need to know about the college, fondly called “The Residence”, and more.
St. Stephen’s College is the oldest college in Delhi University. Founded on 1st February 1881, it has been affiliated to three universities, first, Calcutta University, later, Punjab University and now, Delhi University. The college used to function from a campus in Kashmere Gate, which is now house for the office of the Election Commission. It is believed that Rabindranath Tagore completed the English translation of his work Gitanjali while staying at the college. St. Stephen’s has a lot of distinguished alumni in it’s bag which have carved their spaces all over the globe, Amitav Ghosh, Ramchandra Guha, Barkha Dutt, Ashok Kamte among the rest.
St. Stephen’s college is situated on the Sudhir Bose Marg in North Campus, directly across which is another esteemed college of DU, The Hindu College. The nearest metro station is Vishwavidhyalaya on the Yellow Line and is about a kilometer and a half away. Students can take e-rickshaws from there which shuttle around the north campus. Other options are the buses, including the University Special.
All courses offered by the colleges have thousands of aspiring students. St. Stephens provides premium education in science and arts subjects, among others.
A number of add-on courses are also provided to teach languages such as Spanish, German, Sanskrit, Persian etc. The application process and the fee structure is different from the core degree courses. Non-Stephanians are eligible for admission to these courses.
St. Stephen’s follows an admission procedure slightly different from rest of the DU colleges. Prospective applicants are required to fill an application form online. A list of top scoring students selected for the written exam and the interview is released by the first week of June. The candidates called for the interview are generally selected in a 5:1 ratio. The college reserves a certain number of seats for Christian students.
The gates of St. Stephan’s College open to a beautiful and regal building designed by Walter Sykes George, a Welsh architect. We aren’t the only ones who think the college is beautiful. Remember that scene from Rockstar where Ranbir Kapoor proposes Nargis Fakhri? That scene was shot in the college, under Tree Number 420 to be precise.
The residence halls, named after former principles are spread across six blocks. Initially only for male students, called scholars in residence, it was later opened to female scholars too. The college has a well-stocked library with more than ninety thousand books and is known to have rare Persian and Sanskrit manuscripts. The classrooms are air-conditioned and and have projectors. The campus has it’s own WiFi and students are kept in check through CCTV cameras. The college has a chapel of it’s own, open to all members. A morning assembly is conducted at 8:40a.m. everyday which is mandatory to be attended by junior members.
The college has more than two dozen societies and clubs to offer, ranging from dramatics to astronomy. There is a society for each department to encourage interest in the subject and stimulate extra-curricular discussion. There are also several off-the-track societies like the Hiking Club (see what I did there?) The best part is that all societies are open to students and no trials are conducted for admission into them.
The most preferred hangout spot within the campus is the college café( do not call it the canteen!), well-known for it’s mince cutlets and ‘Kashmiri omelets’. Others are the Rohtas dhaba, famous for it’s samosas and neembu paani, the café tree and the science dhaba, situated, (guess where?), in the science block. There is also the ‘passion corridor’, next to the college hall The student common rooms too are popular meeting spots. Hangout places near the college are, of course, Kamla Nagar, Hudson Lane, DSE canteen etc.
It is surprise that St. Stephen’s has fared poorly in the recent NAAC assessment, ranked below even Acharya Narendra Dev College. The ex-principle opines about it here. Though the college has somewhat lost its sheen over the years, it is still one of the top-ranked and most coveted colleges in India.