Rewinding The Episodes: IMUNC, Roots and TechX

Rewinding The Episodes: IMUNC, Roots and TechX

With the amendments in the fest culture of NIT Rourkela, the students were asked to remain content with the reduction in the number of fests.But this academic session of 2017-18 has seen some of the biggest events that have been hosted in the rich history of 57 years of NIT Rourkela. Apart from the annual Techno-Management fest(Innovision), Sports fest(Vriddhi) and Spring fest(NITRUTSAV), the students managed to organize three events which surely is an achievement for students and SAC.

Roots 2.0

Creativity is multiplied when like-minded people come together. With this motive, Arts and Cultural Society under SAC created an opportunity to bring the creative minds from all across the nation, here, at NITR, on 27th and 28th January 2018. Roots 2.0 is the second edition of a confluence of this kind. The second edition drew its inspiration from its previous edition, which had a concept that was different from the regular fests that are conducted at NITR. With interactive sessions and workshops which provided an out of the box thinking platform to everyone, Roots 2.0 managed to create a special space for itself in the busy January month of NITR.

Budget

Allotted Event Budget: INR 2,94,000

The event was completely free for the NITR students and no registration was required. There has been a cut in the budget as compared to the budget that was sanctioned last year. Rourkela Tips was approached for publicity and Design Boat for sponsorship.

The event

All creative disciplines worked in harmony to create an impact in this fest, Roots 2.0 brought Design, Art, Photography, Filmmaking, Music and Literature events to help audience light a spark. 9 artists from various fields came together to enlighten in finding one’s own voice and help to find the taste in whichever creative field one’s inclination is. The speakers of the event were as follows.

  1. Shama Rasal: A designer, leader and mentor, she has been working as a Design and user experience professional for almost a decade and a half.
  2. Harsha Kakkeri: He is the CEO as well as the co-founder of Designboat. He specializes in visual and interaction designing.
  3. Ashish Astreck: Started his career as a music producer in 2011, Ashish is a video editor, graphic designer and video jockey. He is also the country representative on an international label named “Harsh Records”.
  4. Madhura Banerjee: She is currently the editor-in-chief of Pebbles as well as X Cryptos. She is also the founder and writer of Saint Brush.
  5. Gomtesh Upadhye: A professional cinematographer at Gomtesh Upadhye Photography.
  6. Aditya Galotra: An industrial designer by profession, he is at present with Lava International serving as an industrial designer.
  7. Pravin Tamang: He is a professional travel photographer and works for multiple magazines.
  8. Monis Ahmad Khan: An architect, actor, YouTuber, anchor, poet, standup comedian and debater, he is a multi-talented person who was there, this year, at the second edition of Roots.
  9. Debashish Behera:  An alumnus of the Industrial Design Department of NIT Rourkela, he is one of those few students of the alma mater who made a name in the design industry.

The event was not just confined to sessions. A collaboration with Design Boat was made for portfolio review session. Out of various portfolio that was reviewed by Harsha Kakkeri, co-founder at Design Boat, the best was selected. The best candidate was offered a fully sponsored short-term design course at the company’s design school.

The team had put in all efforts possible to make it a huge success. All the guests were presented with personalised memento as a mark of appreciation for their contribution to NITR. The students attending the sessions were provided with a notepad, a pen and refreshments as well. All the events were recorded over videos.

Problems faced

Although the budget was sanctioned quite early, the process of planning and preparing was delayed. Early planning would have surely improved the quality more and eased the load on organizers. The entire month of January was packed with various events. The only available dates were 27th and 28th January 2018. Participation was also not that apt as many students went home due to 3-days holiday.

Getting permissions for rooms to conduct events is a major task here at NITR. With no proper reason from the authorities, PPA and CS Seminar hall was not provided and hence all events had to be done at TIIR and BBA. Had the permissions being granted, events would have been more smooth as BBA is a large auditorium and participation was not that huge.

Post-event work

Once the event was done, the organizers started the process of bill processing. Almost all the work is completely done. The honorarium for the guests is under process. A mail has been sent to all guest to give their account details for processing the honorarium. Once every guest reverts to the mail, the honorarium would be processed.

Scope of Improvement

Proper planning and scheduling the event next year would make sure that the participation is increased and even students outside NITR can participate at a minimal registration fee. With the success of Roots 2.0, SAC should consider allotting more budget to the event. In the upcoming edition, the event should not just be restricted to lectures but also include interactive workshops.

TechX

The first ever fully dedicated technical event at NIT Rourkela, TechX, was conducted on the days of 11th, 17th and 18th March 2018. TechX was the brainchild of Prof. AK Swain, Vice President of Technical Society, SAC.  On the eve of the closing ceremony of Innovision 2k17, he put forth the idea of having an academically inclined technical conference specifically meant for benefitting the students of NIT Rourkela. While technical fests such as Innovision saw the likes of pro shows and celebrity nights, this conclave was entirely academic oriented and specifically meant for the students of NITR.

After planning a strategy and on mutual discussion with President SAC, Prof. Snehashish Chakraverty, a group mail was sent inviting the students who are willing to help in organizing TechX. Clubs under Technical Society were fostered to share new ideas and opinions regarding this conclave. Soon a team of interested students were formed to facilitate the proper management of TechX.

Budget

A small budget of 2 lakhs INR from the funds of the Technical Society was used to fund the organisation of TechX.  Although the budget was not much, proper planning and management made sure that the funds were used efficiently and hence the event was conducted without any budget constraint.

The event

After discussion on subjects of workshops and guest lecture, with two months in hand, TechX got scheduled on 11th March and 17th-18th March. Eventually, four workshops and four guest lectures were finalized to be held in a span of three days.

  1. Guest talk about UI/UX Market needs and future by Mahesh Marath, the Design Head of ThinkDesign, Bangalore.
  2. Workshop on Linux and Cloud Computing by Mr Prayas Mohanty from ISDAC
  3. Guest lecture by Subhobroto Chakroborty, Founder and Chief Digital Consultant at ‘The Digital Fellow’
  4. AI and ML Workshop, which was organised by Techinest
  5. System Verilog Workshop by Mr Sreenivasa Reddy K
  6. Two-day workshop based on Primavera Software and organised by CETPA
  7. Session by the Goela Brothers on Fintech, Finance and stocks, Stock Market and Product Marketing.
  8. Talk by Mr Gurjeet Dogra on IGBC Green Building Certification and Architecture visualization through Digital Stimulation

Organizing Team was pleased to have conducted it. TechX had some instant accomplishments like strengthening NIT Rourkela’s industry relations. Subhobroto Chakroborty gave internship offer to one student, while Think Design, an award-winning UX agency agreed to come for placements from this year.

Problem faced

Despite arranging top-notch workshops and talks for students of NITR by the organizers, the response of students was poor. Although publicity was done, the students were least interested in sessions that would strengthen their academic and technical skills. The involvement of a lot more students was expected in this event. In order to develop knowledge and network, it is essential for the students to participate more actively in such events.

Post-event work

The organizers were very happy with the support and cooperation of the SAC officials. Certificates for the participants of the workshop are made ready and distribution is in process. The bills settlement and reimbursement was directly handled by the VP which made the process smooth and the process is nearly complete. The entire post-event work is expected to be finished within next few days.

Scope of Improvement

TechX was a success among the NITR junta given the fact that this was a maiden attempt at such a conference by a society of the Student Activity Centre. Although the average student participation over the three days was roughly 50, still the organizers and VPs are confident that the participation will surely increase in the coming years. The event can be conducted in continuous span rather than over different weeks to maintain continuity. Although various domains of the technical field were covered in this session, more fields should be focused on in upcoming years.  

NITR IMUNC

NIT Rourkela had not witnessed a model united nations conference before 30th March 2018, when the Cognizen club of literary society under SAC organized institute’s first ever International Model United Nations Conference. Model United Nations also known as MUN, is a simulation of United Nations (UN), in which students can learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations.

With an aim to stimulate the grey matter on international issues and nurture leadership qualities, it gave a platform where the leaders of tomorrow can learn to put forth their cause and master the art of debating. This diligently planned 3-day session gave the students an insight into the matters concerning the United Nations and cultivated in them the essence of mutual respect, forbearance, peace, and harmony.

Budget

Allotted Club Budget: 25000 INR (Cognizen) + 20000 INR (TEDx)

Sponsorship: 48,000 INR + Registration Fees + Other Service Based Sponsorships

Total Expenditure: 215,500 INR

For a club event, IMUNC is arguably the grandest and heavily sponsored in the history of NITR. Apart from brand sponsorships, the team also received monetary support from District Collector of Sundergarh district and the club alumni.

The event

The event preparation started 6 months ago, in the month of October 2017. Cognizen club also organized an Open OC (Organizing Committee) Inductions in the month of November, inviting all the students of NITR to be a part of first-ever MUN organizing team.

The event saw an impressive participation of around 150 participants in its first edition. The participants included students from the schools of Rourkela, various state law universities, schools and colleges of Bangladesh and many other institutes across the country. For students participating first time in such event, it was a unique experience. Many students told team MM that the rules and procedures were explained very thoroughly by the executive board members and it became easier for first timers to get familiar with the event.

A total of three committees was simulated and along with these, International Press was also there. The three committees were namely

1. Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM) with an agenda (that is the topic of discussion/debate) of “The Elimination of all forms of Religious Tolerances”.

2. Disarmament and International Security (DISEC) with an agenda of “Combating proliferation of chemical and biological weapons.”

3. All India Political Parties Meet (AIPPM) with an agenda of “Analyzing the legal and social issues in the Ayodhya Dispute”

The event was not just confined to committees, two eminent guest lectures were arranged and the participants and NITR junta keenly listened to them and were inspired by them. Mr Anil Bokil, the person who was instrumental in getting the idea of Demonetization approved graced the occasion of the opening ceremony and delivered his detailed lecture on demonetization and Indian economy on 30th March. Dr Sruti Mohapatra, CEO, Swabhiman, a social activist and a motivational speaker was the guest of honour for the closing ceremony and her speech was greatly applauded by the entire audience which was clearly visible from the standing ovation at the end of her speech.

Problems faced

Sruti Mohapatra, guest of honour for the event is a physically challenged social activist. The institute is not properly accessible for physically challenged persons. In spite of this difficulty, getting permission for PPA, which was the only venue that could have been accessed by wheel-chair, was cumbersome.

At present, no club is allowed to have a bank account of its own. To facilitate the clubs in this matter, a common SAC account is managed by the institute. This account was made active in December. Before the account was ready, the preparations for sponsorships and registration of the event could not have been done. With the present regulations of SAC, no club or event under SAC is allowed to have a separate bank account. Inspite of the regulation, many clubs have their own functional bank accounts which is against the rules.

As quoted by the Secretary-General of the NITR IMUNC, Mehul Anand,

The process of getting their registration fees and other sponsorships out of the SAC account for expenditure was a cumbersome process

The Director-General of the event, Ashish Kumar Gouda told team MM that:

“With a very less budget being allotted for the club, it is really difficult to organize an event of this magnitude. At the same time, arranging sponsorship for the first edition of any event is also challenging.”

Post-event work

With the event done and the participants happy, the work of the organizers is unfinished until all bill processing and other post-event tasks are completed. The participation certificates are in process of distribution to all the participants. The certificate for winners and executive board was distributed during the closing ceremony.

Students are not properly acquainted with all the procedures of SAC and this leads to difficulty in bill settlements and reimbursements. The process of fund settlement is under process and it is expected that it would be done by next weekend. The prizes for the delegates is not distributed and would be done after all bills are settled. The entire post-event work is expected to be finished by this month.

Scope of Improvement

With the first MUN organized commendably, the upcoming editions can be further improved. Targeting a wider range of students and delegates from across the nation and abroad would surely increase the reputation of NITR IMUNC across the MUN circles. With increased participation, more committees can be simulated. With the success in the first edition, more funds from SAC can be expected to ease the load on organizers to procure sponsorships.

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