Discuss, Deliberate, Debate: SOAPBOX 2K17

Discuss, Deliberate, Debate: SOAPBOX 2K17

NITR witnessed a revolution in the Fest Convenor elections this year with the introduction of Soapbox. Soapboxes have been previously conducted in IIT-Bombay and various other reputed colleges. A soapbox is basically a raised platform in which one stands to make an impromptu speech. Team MM conducted the maiden edition of NITR’s Soapbox for the upcoming convener elections in association with the Student Activity Center, with the objective of having fair and transparent elections as well as to rule out the influence of zonism and any other means of favoritism during the elections. The event was conducted from 1st to the 3rd of September. The first day was earmarked for the Technical Fest nominees, the second for the Cultural Fest, and the third for Sports Fest. Although the events were scheduled at 6:30, they got delayed by around 30 minutes on all the three days due to the incessant rains

DAY-1 (Technical Fest)

The first session of Soapbox 2K17 commenced on 1st of September at around 7 pm. The nominees for Tech-fest Innovision 2017 spoke at length about their agendas and respective plans of execution. The panel consisted of Prof. A K Swain, VP of Technical Society, Prof. S.N. Alam, Vice President, Arts and Cultural Society, along with former representatives of SAC including Anup Mittal, Mohit Gupta, VVS Chaitanya, Nishant Thakkar. Sajiduar Rehman and Aratrika Ghosh represented the Student Counselling Program. Team MM gives you a brief breakdown of the vision and ideas as shared by the candidates. 

1. C S Sambit

Hailing from the department of Civil Engineering and residing in Dhirubhai Ambani Hall of Residence, C S Sambit has his contribution as a Coordinator of Innovision, Nitrustav and ISM 2K15, as a Volunteer at Multi-Ethnic fest 2k15 and as a Manager at Innovision 2k16. He believes in quality rather than quantity of events. He visions to multiply the amount of sponsorship by forming a good and able team and approaching more and more sponsors. When questioned on how he would increase publicity, he placed his idea of approaching each and every college within a coverable distance and putting up posters and flexes and persuading the student coordinators of those colleges in person, an advantage of being a local. Moreover, he envisages to create a platform for start-ups where budding entrepreneurs can showcase their ideas. He finally promises to give special attention to the accommodation of students, offline publicity, and prevention of any mismanagement during the fest.

2. Vundavalli Veera Venkata Durga Akhilesh

A student of Electrical Engineering Department, and a boarder of M.S.Swaminathan Hall of Residence, Vundavalli Veera Venkata Durga Akhilesh has taken pride to participate in all of the major fests of 2k15 and also in Innovision, Multi-Ethnic and Annual Sports Meet 2k16, may it be as a volunteer, a coordinator or a manager. He briefly placed his agenda of organizing the fest activities in an efficient way by maintaining coordination among all clubs, smooth conduction of workshops, increasing participation by proper publicity and bring in sponsors in a large number. Nevertheless, he couldn’t elaborate his plans on accommodating the participants during the fests, owing to Satish Dhawan Hall of Residence being converted into a single seater recently.

3. Paluru Bhagawan Bharat Kumar

A Metallurgical and Materials Engineering scholar, residing in Homi Bhabha Hall of Residence, Paluru Bhagawan Bharat Kumar initiated his speech by distributing a note depicting Categorization of work among pre-fest, on-fest and post-fest events. The categorization impressively covered each and every facet of the fest, divided into independent categories and he spoke in length about each and every category briefly. He foresees to formulate a new team called Innovision Social Regime which would conduct blood donation camps, and other charity works during the fest, giving it a whole new dimension. He also plans to set up a new event called Start-Up meet to promote healthy discussions among the NITR junta and the chairpersons of various start-ups. He claims to undertake proper guiding and mentoring of various teams and consistently keeping a record of the work status. He aims at gaining coordination among clubs and bringing in eminent sponsors. Having contributed immensely as a core coordinator at Nitrustav 2k16 and Sports Meet 2k16, as a coordinator at Innovision 2k15, as a manager at Innovision 2k16 and as a volunteer in other fests, he dreams of a successful Tech-fest.

DAY -2 (Cultural Fest)

The 2nd session of Soapbox was held on 2nd of August in BBA for the election of the Cultural Fest Convenors at around 7:15 pm. The contesting candidates included Yash Soni, Anubhav Sharma, Anshuman Bebarta, Abhishek Kumar, and Surya Kanta Behera. Among these, two candidates didn’t turn up namely Yash Soni (due to placement reasons) and Anubhav Sharma (due to some unknown reasons). Here are some excerpts from the debate. The panelists included Prof. Arjun Mukerji, Vice President, Arts and Cultural Society, Prof. Simanchal Panigrahi, Dean Student Welfare, Prof. Snehasish Chakraverty, President SAC, Prof. A.K.Rath, Vice President, Literary Society. Former representatives from SAC included Mohit Rawat, Punyaja Dash, Kumar Shaswat, Nishant Singh and Nishant Thakkar. Sajiduar Rehman and Aratrika Ghosh joined the panel as representatives of the Student Counselling Program.

1. Abhishek Kumar

The first candidate who stepped on the podium was Abhishek Kumar, a pre-final year student from the Department of Food Process Engineering residing in Vikram Sarabhai Hall of Residence. He was actively involved in organising many events in the past such as Nitrutsav, Innovision, Inter NIT Cricket and Swimming competition as well as Annual Gymnasium competition. His main agenda was to increase the number of participations, form an efficient organising team and work round the year organising Drama and Debates.

On being questioned by the panel regarding his plans for increasing the sponsorship, he replied saying that he would not only focus on companies in Odisha but also try to bring Sponsorship from companies outside our state. Next, he was asked to clarify his manifesto where he mentioned about working round the year organising drama and debates as it isn’t the work of a Fest convenor, rather it is the responsibility of the post holders of the SAC societies. He then corrected himself and said that he would collaborate with the VP’s and other post holders of the various societies to do so.

2. Anshuman Bebarta

The second candidate for the evening was Anshuman Bebarta a third-year student, hailing from the Department of Mathematics and currently residing in Homi Bhaba hall of residence.

Being the coordinator of ISM 2k16, organiser of Rhapsody, a former journalist at Monday Morning and Editor in Chief of D316 he believes that he is a team player and has in him what it takes to be a leader. He also mentioned that he would induct organisers differently by giving them certain tasks in order to select deserving members for the various teams. On being asked about what tasks he would give to them, he wasn’t sure and said that he hasn’t decided the tasks yet. He also assured that he would circulate web-mails to take the opinions and feedback from the NITR Junta regarding the modifications and changes they want in the upcoming Nitrutsav.
His idea of collaborating with SAC/Gymkhana of reputed colleges such as IIT’s and other NIT’s and exchanging sponsorship information with them thoroughly questioned by the panel as well as the audience as this would increase our competition and reduce the sponsorship instead of improving it.

Also, in his election manifesto, he had mentioned of including all the clubs in the Spring Fest. This made the audience question him as the time limit given to the fest is very short and there is a manifold of clubs. His proposal wasn’t feasible and was therefore asked to justify it. He replied saying that he could arrange a meeting with the post holders of all the clubs regarding the events they want to conduct and then screen them so as to choose the most suitable events to be included in the fest.

3. Surya Kanta Behera

The last candidate to come upon the dais was Surya Kanta Behera, a pre-final year student of the Department of Electrical Engineering dwelling in Homi Bhaba hall of residence. His main agenda was to attract more participants, take care of their accommodation, increase sponsorship (to prevent mismanagement during the fest) and organise and conduct events systematically by training the organising teams.

The panel asked him to clarify as to how he plans on increasing sponsorships and even if he does manage to do so, how will it help to prevent “mismanagement” (as mentioned in his manifesto) during the Fest. He replied saying that he would send teams to the various companies and will also take help of NITRAA in order to bring a good amount of sponsorship and also clarified about the mismanagement part saying that what he meant saying was to increase the quality of the events through sponsorship funds.

When he was asked about how he would select and train the teams, he responded saying that he would organize inductions sooner and train the teams through a variety of tasks. On being further asked about the type of tasks he would conduct, he like the other contestants had no clue.

Day- 3 (Sports Fest)

The final day of the event, scheduled to commence at 6:30, eventually started half-an-hour late. The panel consisted of Prof. S.N. Alam, Vice President of Arts and Cultural Society, Prof. R.C. Pradhan, Vice President, Games and Sports Society. Student representatives included Nikhilesh ReddyAratrika Ghosh, Nishant Thakher, Mitesh Mishra. There were 5 candidates contesting for the post of Convenor for the SportsFest.

1. Animesh Panda 

The first candidate invited to present his manifesto was Animesh Panda. He emphasized on proper publicity and Organisation of Sports Fest. He also talked about his plans for the involvement of more sponsors. He then shared his idea of giving away cash prizes to the winners of all events, the funding for which would be done with the help of registration money collected from the candidates.

2. Birju Pal

The second candidate was Birju Pal. His major focus was on getting sponsors for the fests and making sure that every team plays fairly. He promised that better quality equipment would be arranged and hostel accommodation for outsiders would be taken care.

3. Dharavath Ashok

The next candidate invited to present his manifesto was Dharavath Ashok. He focused on Organisation of fests in an efficient way. His manifesto also included proper distribution of refreshments to players, providing good water facilities in the grounds, making sure that all participants get enough facilities to practice.

The panel asked him about how he is going to make sure that participants get enough facilities to practice. He responded by reiterating the problems faced by the participants last year due to lack of space for practicing. He also expressed his idea to utilize space behind S.D. Hall for warm-up and training purposes for the participants. The panel also questioned the candidate on how he plans to carry out all these things in a limited budget, to which he replied by telling everyone about his plan to make a separate sponsorship team. When questioned about what would happen if the sponsorship team fails to land a sponsor, the contestant’s acknowledged that he would be forced to cut-down on a number of events.

4. Sidhant Das

The next candidate invited to take up the podium and present his plan of action was Sidhant Das. In his manifesto, he planned to Organize, develop and maintain assigned recreational sports programs, including coaching and teaching responsibilities and planning for team activities. Further, he wanted to plan for each sport within the assigned program, set up all competition, leagues, and registration, and provide needed facilities, equipment, supplies, medical needs and personnel to operate the program. Before ending his speech, he emphasized on the need to build positive relationships with the relevant community, sports associations, clubs and community groups.

5. Vineeth Radhakrishna Kurup

The last candidate for the day was Vineeth Radhakrishna Kurup. He essentially wanted to increase participation in sports by providing better sporting facilities and amenities. He also proposed an idea of having a grass field as he has heard a lot many complaints stating that it is very difficult to play sports like football in a dusty stadium. He then talked about his intention of appointing Training coaches for all sporting events.

only 7 lakhs INR has been allocated to Sports Fest, the panel was curious as to how he will get all his plans to act on such a limited budget. He responded by saying that it would be a one-time investment and only the quality of sport stands to gain from such steps.

Team Monday Morning took this initiative and worked in length to make this event a huge success. There were online as well as offline methods of publicity adapted by the team. Posters, flexes, and banners were put up at all public places, departments, LA, and all the Halls of Residences.

The attendance for the event was miserably low, despite the best efforts of the organisers to publicise the event. Despite Team MM inviting the post-holders of all the clubs personally, barring a few none of the clubs sent any representative to participate in the debate. Every year, the NITR junta wails about the mismanagement of the events and as to how the students have been deprived of their right as a member of the SAC general body, however, when finally the populace of NITR was given an opportunity to make their voice heard, they chose not to do so. Nevertheless, Team MM wishes luck to all the contesting candidates.

May the best man win!

Campus Buzz

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