An amalgam of inquisitiveness, a concoction of ideas, the intermittent bottlenecks along the way, the frivolous fights, the ambivalence of the stakeholders and alas! Here we have the most extravagant and enchanting period of the year – the techno-managerial and cultural fests. Fahrenite, Rouge, and Mudra, creating an ambience of ecstasy and frolic; the spectacular Laser Show providing a visual delight to the masses. The conclusive night, urging everyone to put on their dancing shoes marks the end of another glorious fest in the chapter of NSIT. And then, accolades galore, the pragmatists must gear up to the post-fest extolling and lampooning. The lax administration is subjected to incessant criticism. Amidst the intense deliberations, one needs to understand where NSIT stands within the entire spectrum as far as fests are concerned and also unravel the qualitative aspects of our fests down the years. Has the quality of fests ossified over the years?
The imperativeness of fests
The ulterior motive of an educational institution is to provide opportunities to students to hone their skills, besides imparting education. Technical fests are actuators to delve into technological innovation. The very essence of a fest is to imbibe organizational and managerial skills into youngsters and to mould their overall personality. Owing to the rigid social culture of NSIT, with segregated hostels for all four years of undergraduate students, and a major percentage of students being day scholars, the state of the senior-junior nexus is abysmal. In such a set-up, fests are of utmost importance in establishing a reciprocating relationship. Fests are a means of striking up cordial relations with fellow colleges and are meant to simply leave an ‘imprint’ in the collegiate domain. Procuring sponsorships, signing Memorandums Of Understanding aid in developing a healthy collaboration with the corporate sector. One also gains experience in the art of coaxing the intelligentsia of the corporate world and a tinge of dealing professionally. The essence of fests thus, becomes pertinent.
Mouthpiece from Manipal University:
One needs to have atleast a 30 day benchmark to commence preparations for inter-college fests. To approach different bodies, the faculty responsible needs to be involved, even up to the topmost hierarchical tier, i.e., the Director. A detailed list of all the events needs to be prepared and evaluated on the basis of practicality as well as popularity. A budget of the actual cost that will be incurred is calculated, based on estimates from the previous year. The administration is very particular about where its money is being channelized. Arranging for sponsorships is the most arduous task. Sponsorships in our fests vary from 5 lacs to 10 lacs depending on the events and the expected footfall. Logistics is another impediment as it is dependent on third party resources, so one needs to ensure adequate buffer time. Hurdles are encountered in distribution of certificates and prize money too, and must not be neglected!
Scenario at IIT-Roorkee:
The online promotional activities are initiated three to four months prior to the fests, specifically targeting student partnerships with counterparts in colleges across India. The college administration supervises the formation and functioning of the organizing team and is instrumental in arranging necessary official approvals. The IIT ‘brand’ does play a pivotal role in gaining an edge over others, in terms of sponsors, alluring popular artists and felicitations through gift vouchers and accessories. The primary source of funding is through sponsorship, the contribution of the administration being minimal. The budget usually varies with the scale of the fest, starting from 50 thousand (for online fests) and going up to as high as 90 lacs for cultural and technical fests. But all this glitter does come along with the glitches – inherent procedural delays, resource management and publicity in colleges across India.
A la BITS- Pilani:
Every fest at Pilani is conceived purely by the students’ initiative. A number of departments like Art, Design and Publicity, Stage Controls are formulated and the heads of each of these departments together form the ‘core’ committee, whose meetings are convened a semester in advance. The faculty is completely detached from these ‘trifles’. The Department of Sponsorship and Marketing endeavors to garner the proposed target budget. Liquid money to be used is sanctioned by the Institution, but as a loan, and the deficit is covered by the students. The only major restraint is finance. Being student-run, bureaucratic adjournments are minimal.
Straight from LSR:
No college in Delhi University makes a compromise when it comes to organizing its annual fest, so much so that the preparations for the same begin before the colleges actually re-open after their winter break. With huge expectations from the student fraternity and the monetary involvement at stake, organizers ensure that the fest is well-publicized, attended, and is appreciated by attendees. The sole involvement of the college authorities is pertaining to the provision of the budget, that is usually around 50 thousand (or at most 1 lac). The administration does not cast its shadow over the other areas of operation. Crowd management poses the main obstacle, since the crowd gathered is exorbitantly large and it takes several hours to settle the audience. Also, the stringent security checking at the entry points, leads to long queues, further escalating the problem in colleges with small campuses.
A conscientious conclusion
Debacles and fiascos, appraisals and triumph are the two sacrosanct phenomena akin to two sides of the same coin. Instead of blaming the current system and others for the dereliction of their duties, the need of the hour is to ideate and ascertain means so as to channelize the available resources judiciously. A baffling fact is the massive expenditure incurred by the college, amounting to approximately 7 lacs, for Innovision 2013 that merely spanned over a day though, it is evident that the money was not well utilized for what it had been earmarked. Being a technical institution, more emphasis should be laid on striving towards a more competent and recognized technical fest through increased incentives and promising rewards to winners. The technical and cultural fests must be treated as two distinct entities and should not be clubbed together. Funds need to be allocated proportionately for both of them. New strategies must be embarked upon, abstracting ideas from the modus operandi of the aforesaid institutions that exemplify methodologies that lead to enhanced publicity, and an overall successful fest. This could be accomplished only by liberalizing the students’ committee through a mitigated administrative role that eventually triggers procedural delays.