Propitious Or Not: Co- Curricular Activities
NIT Rourkela, being an institute of national repute, has always supported students to hone their technical skills by going beyond the classroom teaching, to grow up as productive and efficient engineers. The institute offers multiple options to gain practical experience of the acquired knowledge through its vibrant club network. It has a slew of clubs under the Technical Society, which proactively engages students in several activities like coding, robotics, automobile engineering, etc. In this issue, team MM thought of doing a descriptive and deep analysis of the present scenario, by gauging several factors and by comparing it with the state of affairs of other institutes. Read on to find more:
For coding, the institute has two renowned clubs namely Spawn and Microsoft Campus Club (MCC), which organise several workshops on C, C++, Java, App Development, etc. These workshops are followed by regular competitions to ensure that students don’t lose their grip on the acquired skills. TreasherLocked, the flagship event of MCC is a well-known event, which not only witnesses participation from NITR junta but also succeeds in drawing a crowd from outside the institute. These clubs also organise events like Codenigma, Tech-a-Thon, which ensure that there is no dearth of competitions throughout the year. They also stay in close touch with the corresponding clubs of other institutes which helps them in promoting their events and also gives them enough inputs to progress as a club.
However, the biggest hurdle in their path is the funding from SAC. They organise events throughout the year and hence expect the budget allocated to be higher but time and again SAC had left them down by allocating low budget, which ultimately leads to cancellation of several workshops and events. The situation got worst when SAC agreed to pay them 30000 INR during Tech-a-thon but backed off at the last minute. Had the cooperation been a little more, they would have organised many interesting events and set benchmarks in the field.
Unequivocally, these clubs did traverse a long way since they came into existence yet their side of the story paints a rather gloomy picture as compared to similar clubs of the country. The programming club or Pclub of IIT Kanpur which is in all ways similar to Spawn and Microsoft of NITR surpasses them in amount of activities, participation and not to miss the type of activities. The club indulges in activities related to web development, programming contest and ethical hacking and organises regular lecture series on algorithms, web hijacking, development and similar others. The annual summer camp of the club witnessed a highly appreciable participation of 350 applicants in 2016. The club has also developed several applications like student search, Pclub.in, TechTests, web scrapping, tutorials and others for their campus junta.
Automobile and Mechanical Engineering:
It’s not just about coding but there are opportunities for those who want to dive deep into the ocean of Automobile Engineering. The two societies, ASME and SAE have ensured that students get ample scope to participate in national and international events. They allow the newbies to learn, implement and practice the technical and non-technical aspects related to automobiles. The several teams under their banners namely Team RoadRunner (FSAE), Team Black Mamba (BAJA), Team Zon(ESVC), Team Blue Steak(HPVC), Team Green Knight(EcoKart) etc, have brought laurels for the institute in recent times. The induction procedure for the mentioned teams is also tough, with a series of practical rounds, to ensure that the really interested and enthusiastic ones get through. They also be in constant touch with the societies of IITs, VIT, SRM, BITs to be updated of the proceedings in the field.
But here too, the biggest problem has been the budget crunch. Prateek Kar, President of SAE is of the view that:
We belong to a technical institute of national repute. But our institute has not supported us much financially. We manufacture three cars in a year, for which we need credible support. But as the budget allocated is way less than our demand, we are forced to ask our club members for as high as 15000 INR.
Such a situation is indeed condemnable, that we being a technical institute host three major cultural fests consuming lakhs of money but on the other hand we are letting down some really enthusiastic tech freaks who have an unmatched zeal to prove their worth in national and international competitions. Moreover, the complicated procedure of procurement of materials and additional budget allocation from SAC often hinders their growth, compelling them to cancel some prominent workshops and guest lectures. Recently, ASME had to cancel a 3D printing workshop because SAC refused to provide them with essential materials/equipments. However, with due course of time, things are improving slowly and they are expecting SAC and NITR authorities to be more cooperative in the upcoming days so that their dream of producing best vehicles of India from NITR can turn into reality.
All those students of IIT Kanpur whose heart is set aflutter with the thump of roaring engines do not face the same adversities as the NITRians and hence their laurels shine brighter than ours.SAE IIT Kanpur organizes 'Auto Wochen' which includes workshops on CAD, Automobile Quiz and 24 hour CAD design competition(Designathon).
The society of SRM University usually organizes 6-7 events in a semester ranging from Paper Presentations, Business Plans to various design and built competitions which aims to aid the students’development in all fields including their research and analytic capabilities and marketing and presentation skills. The club also organizes various workshops and seminars every semester to increase awareness among students about the latest trends in the field of automobile, aerospace and advanced mobility. Members of this club get the privilege to become a part of the esteemed worldwide organization at a very nominal cost and also get access to the SAE research papers along with the membership. The students also get latest insights from the industry in the form of SAE newsletter every month. The club also conducts several competitions like Auto Freaks, Junk Yard Wars and Robosocer. SAE of SRM university presently supports two major teams from the campus, Camber Racing - winners of the Supra SAE 2012 and The Conrods -Winners of the BAJA India 2012.
Robotics and Automation:
NIT-R has been proving its worth in the field of robotics and automation ever since the inception of Cyborg in 2008. With the motto of increasing technical knowledge of students, they conduct open robotics classes throughout the odd semester. They teach concepts related to coding, robotics and electronics and also provide students with kits at a lower cost. They induct members in the spring semester, which gives them enough time to judge a person’s determination and interest in the field. Besides that they also conduct workshops on C, C++ with the cooperation of educational institutes of Bhubaneswar.
However they had failed to maintain a good rapport with the robotics society of other institutes, but this never affected their performance in national level competitions. IIT-B, IIT-KGP and IIT-Guwahati are their regular hunting grounds, where they have won 10 1st prizes and a mammoth cash award of 1lakh INR in last two years. At present, their primary objective is to collaborate with robotics society of other institutes, as many such clubs with a good rapport have done exceptionally well at the national level. Certain robotics societies also publish slides, tutorials, lectures on several topics which helps them to reach the interested students from all over the nation and they are also planning to implement the same. The club seems satisfied with the SAC funding however they do feel that the budget should be a bit higher owing to the fact that they continuously host workshops, seminars throughout the year.
The Mathematical Algebra
Pure Mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas. - Albert Einstein
Arguably the most intriguing subject for an individual, through out his school, college and engineering life, Mathematics remains a sweet struggle. The way the pattern in the subject leaves us dumbstruck with the simplicity in its complexity and demands an individual to try harder. So, it’s important that the academic section needs some backup in the form of clubs and independent projects. NITR doesn’t lag too far behind in this regard.
Axiom, the mathematics club of NITR recruits proficient mathematicians from the institute. They organize in-house discussions which are open to NITR junta including the club members where they focus on increasing aptitude skills by solving logical and reasoning problems.They organize a guest lecture every year in the even semester and a school event in odd semester. They also had a workshop for young entrepreneurs by Dr. Sridhar Das of XIMB, Bhubaneswar, which helped the young developing minds in many ways. They have guest lectures from their alumnus in Xavier School of Management (XLRI) a business school in Jamshedpur, India.
Every year they come up with a mathematical gazette, “VILOKANAM” and this year it is expected to be released on Republic Day by our director. However, the club hasn’t participated in any national events. The club has failed to motivate students to be a part of it which is another major area of concern.
On speaking to a student of the Mathematics Department, he was quoted as saying:
I am not a part of the club because I found it to be disorganized in its way of functioning and I was expecting more sobriety.
This remains a major drawback for the club's activities. Stimulating the brains of young mathematics aspirants with the best intellectual events, quizzes, symposiums and lectures mathematics club of IIT Bombay gets us pondering over the efficaciousness of our clubs. The club bears all the financial responsibilities of its members involved in research work and encourages them to innovate their own experimental set ups. Conceptual flagship quiz event, Bazinga!, followed by Mathematics Olympiad and Logic General Championship, the club has enough to satiate every brain always craving to conquer new mathematical logics and concepts. The club organises documentary screenings and GDs on regular basis.
The Fusion engineering: Biomedical and Biotechnology
Biomedical and Bio-Technology departments of engineering may be in their nascent stage but the focus remains on producing individuals who can step up to the plate and be aware of what they are learning. So giving the avid learners a chance, Genesys, the club focusses on the bio-engineering in and around the campus and is related to the Bio-Medical and Bio-Technology Department. The club brings awareness about different aspects of life with engineering related to day to day activities. They conduct several events related to biology, science, technology and even workshops to enhance the skills of their members.. The club was formed last year and they are planning to team up with Cyborg, Plugged_In or ASME to get technical assistance.
One of the active members was quoted as saying,
The seniors in the club are really helpful. They are assisting in honing our skills, encouraging us to go for internships and improve our focus towards academics. Overall, it’s a very good club environment to be a part of.
As it’s a new club, it definitely lacks funding and they desperately hope SAC to fund for their several demands. For that to happen, they need to organize events which would convince the authorities to release more fund. The club is planning to visit IIT Madras for BIO-FEST 2k17, for better exposure and to enhance their bonding and communication with students and is planning to have BIO-FEST in NITR in the upcoming semester. Bio Engineering still has several uncharted as well as intriguing domains and we need exposure to stay abreast.
The Civil Elevation
Civil Engineering remains one of the most well-established departments in our institute. With good faculty and the added advantage of being a core branch, adds to the multitude of the opportunities it provides an individual. Being so vast in its own dimensions, the students not only need to keep in touch with the academia but also attend workshops regularly. And here is where, the Civil Engineer Student Technical (CEST) club plays a major role in providing matter to the postulant mind. The club conducts thrilling and exhilarating events with a large number of adorning dignitaries and drawing a huge crowd right since its inception in 2012. They have organised workshops and seminars on “Abacus, AutoCAD and Revit architecture”. Online events like PRECOGNITION have witnessed participation from different institutes. Events like TECHKHOJ, CONTRAPTION, HYDROCRANE, PLANETIZEN, SRISHTI, etc. have been conducted by the club in the recent years. The Institution of Civil Engineers(ICE), UK’s NIT Rourkela chapter was inaugurated in this academic semester. Also, the club has come a long way in preaching its agenda and people have taken to note of it. The club has also thought of future projects like a 3D-shake tube, Low-cost tri-level water filter and Escherian Stairwell. However, CEST club is yet to achieve its full potential. Some of the existing members aren’t active in the club which adds to their woes. It does take part in events organized by IITs regarding their area of interest. Only one notable award was won last year in the fest organized by IIT Bombay where a group of 4 members of the club stood second in event named as “Sparks”.
The Civil Engineering Society of IIT Kharagpur includes the undergraduate students, postgraduate students, faculty and research scientists. It provides a platform, particularly to the student members, to face the challenges of the profession efficiently through the different events conducted by the society. Apart from knowledge based events, it also conducts sports events and educational trips. Megalith, the annual technical fest of the Department of Civil Engineering of IIT Kharagpur is held under the aegis of the Civil Engineering Society.
The recent developments in the electronics section have brought about a major change in our present livelihood. Usage of gadgets, smartphones, tablets, etc has changed the whole context of a global family. Giving further strength to such activities, the electromagnetic club Plugged_in is one of the most energetic and budding clubs of the institute. Adding to the diversity of club culture in our institute, plugged_in has been able to create a niche of its own. The club even though being new has conducted a variety of workshops namely National Instruments’ Workshop, MATLAB & SIMULINK, Beyonduino. The club has also come up with institute’s first tech magazine Techxplorer. The club aims to accomplish several projects like Human Health monitoring and Recording System, Home Automation System (a project that speaks of designing a scheme that could moderate the working of switches) and Gesture Robotics. The members of the club are motivated to be more intellectual and understand the basic concepts which in turn helps them in their academics.
However, there’s not much positive response that the club received. In the recently concluded orientations, it failed to attract many members. The existent club members have also complained of insufficient funding from SAC. Being an infant among the clubs, plugged-in can draw inspiration from the ROBOTIX club of IIT Kharagpur, which has evolved over time to become the focal point for activities and hosts events related to robotics in the campus. Organizing and conducting workshops and demonstrations in IIT Kharagpur premises and beyond it, to spread the robotic culture, is an important agenda of this club. ROBOTIX is also a flagship event which is held every year at the fest KSHITIJ, of IIT Kharagpur. They have even developed an android app of their own.
Besides the above mentioned ones, the institute also houses clubs which aim at developing entrepreneurship skills of an individual. E-cell, with its workshops and seminars, has come up a long way to inspire many NITRIANs to venture the risky journey of an entrepreneur. Clubs like Udaan, Astro-NITR have been engaged in their mission to unleash the hidden talents among the students. However, these clubs face a lot of problems, be it the funding from SAC or dormant participation from the side of students, factors like these have curbed the growth of such clubs which posses an impressive agenda of producing the best technicians from our institute.
For steering forth the institute’s development by earning laurels in their respective fields, an individual effort is indispensable, but not sufficient- a firm base of support and encouragement from the institute and its resources is also necessary. As evident from before, lack of sufficient funding has been a major source of complaint. While differential funding exists, there seem to exist lacunae when it comes to the basis of their allocation. A proper insight at the required expenditures, a view at the cost of the manufacturing or buying equipment or parts, and, most importantly, an acknowledgement of the fact that there exist certain clubs and events which require more funds than what is currently within the possible range to be granted- hence their requirements might not lie within the average range, but realizing that it is imperative to grant their needs as well, are all necessary in order to ensure an improvement in the current scenario. Any club of NITR is judged on the basis of its activity and productive output at the end of the day, and both are determined by the willingness of its members to contribute. There are quite a few existing clubs, which, though possessing an impressive agenda, fail to garner interest from students to be a part of it. Organizing notable events like quizzes, workshops, classes at the start of the semester to acquaint the fresher’s with their functioning, before conducting their orientations and inductions, will help the betterment of the club. A little discretion while selecting, and a little more effort while working on the students’ part, and a fair judgement and reasoning ability on those of the authorities will go a long way in making NITR an even better haven for co-curricular activities.