The three day celebration of NITRUTSAV 2k15, gave a mixed feeling of being well organized, yet deserted at the same time. The cultural fiesta wrapped up on 8th February, 2015, with a performance by the EKA Band.
Taking the recent poll, conducted by Monday Morning, into consideration, it became very clear that the community of NIT Rourkela lament the absence of crowd in the campus. Of course, being one of the biggest cultural fests of the state, the silent campus in the weekend was definitely unacceptable. Team MM tried to investigate what exactly went wrong, with special emphasis given to student autonomy, sponsorship and accommodation, registration and event management.
Delay in the planning of the events
The student convenors felt that they got very less time to arrange the fest, that is right after Inter-NIT events, to which the institute played host. The month of January has plethora of activities, due to which the events could not be finalized till one week before NITRUTSAV. They insist that there was delay in approval of budget.
One event (War of Bands) was cancelled due to low turnout of the participants. When asked about this to Dean Student Welfare, he stated that in the registration form, it was clearly mentioned that, if an event has low participation, then it will be cancelled. He asked the students to go by the statistics of previous editions of NU and then decide which events are to be made flagship events. The student conveners however, decided to keep it as flagship owning to a continuing tradition.
Regarding the EKA band, the entire populace expressed extreme mixed feelings. When asked about the selection criteria for the bands, the conveners stated that the budget was the deciding factor. Since, the budget for the Pronite was low, they had to settle for this band. Also, it was a collective decision taken by the SAC President, VPs and the student conveners.
The students were dissatisfied with the evening pro shows being stopped at 9.30pm. Even the student conveners expressed dissatisfaction over this. The VP stated that the action was taken keeping the security and hostel timings in mind. The Dean SW stated that they received complaints from CWS Hospital regarding the loud noise and health hazard for the patients.
Budget and Sponsorship
The Vice President of Literary and Cultural Society, Prof Sushmita Das, felt that justice has been done to the allocated budget. They tried to conduct the events in utmost transparency. Even while contacting the bands, it was done in presence of all the organizers. The total budget for the Pronite was 3.5 lacs, with 75k as sponsorship from Airtel.
When enquired about the budget of Pronite, Dean SW stated that the students hadn’t provided a clear picture during allocation in July, 2014. They decided in the last moment and asked for funds, which was clearly not possible. Had they asked for the funds during allocation, more money could have been allotted.
Regarding the sponsorship, the student convenors felt that there is no clear policy regarding this in the institute. Also, the sponsors are often not treated properly. Airtel was roped in as the sponsor in that last moment. The MoU was finalized only in the last week of January. They also stated that the flex and the standees were removed by the security.
The VP stated that she had personally verified the MoU. According to that, the standees were to be permitted in the areas with high student density within the institute. However, the company officials in charge violated the terms and put up the standees outside the institute area. Therefore, they were removed. They were accommodated in the institute area near SAC and the road from SAC to Lecture Annexe. The Dean SW agreed to this stand.
Both the VP and the Dean SW stated that they did not want the students to neglect their academics and approach for sponsorship. That is why, official leave won’t be provided for this purpose.
The student convenors agreed that the publicity of the event was not as good as that was expected to be. Since there were several delays in the management, the publicity got affected. The publicity of the events started in December, but was done mostly online. But, the VP felt that more could have been done.
However, regarding the official invites to institutions, the conveners faced several difficulties regarding the shipping charges. Because of time constraint, they had to give the details of NU to students of other NITs through their representatives who came for inter-NIT.
Registration charges were levied for the first time in NITRUTSAV this year. Many are of the opinion that the registration charges discouraged outside participation. However, the student convenors are of the opinion that they have to set certain standards for the fest. The VP agreed with the conveners, stating that this was the first time, and was confident that the situation will improve over the years. It was decided to provide cash money as prizes to the winners of the events (students of NITR were exempted from this). This registration money was the source of cash prizes.
The registration were put into two categories: if participants want to get the prize money, then they have to pay the registration amount of INR 700. The participants who did not pay for the registration, were not eligible for the cash awards. Since, the idea was to provide a substantial amount as prize money, it was fixed at INR 700. Out of all the events, only two were won by the students other than that NITR. The rest of the registration money will be returned to the institute.
Certificates and memento, however, was provided to all the prize winners. The outstation students were given the prizes immediately after the conclusion of fest. The certificates of students of NITR will be provided in due course of time.
Online Registration was delayed and the registration portal opened only a week before the event. The student conveners stated that they did not get access to the website on time. They had discussed on this with the VP, but there was delay in this part. They had to run from one office to another to get the permission to edit the website. According to them, the computer centre was very uncooperative on this matter. The VP agreed that there were glitches in the online registration and promised that the portal will be functional on time from next fest onwards. She stated that she had talked with Prof Turuk and had sorted it out. When asked about this to the Dean SW, he stated that the students had not approached him on this matter. Therefore, he could not have done much for the mitigation of this problem.
The convenors reiterated the statement, regarding this issue, as that in the pre-NU analysis. They believe that the students must be given more say in the matter of money and other decisions. The VP however felt that the wishes of the students were taken into consideration.
Also, the organizers were not allowed to bring in their vehicles for the purpose of the events, even if it was allowed so during the previous fests. Regarding this, the Dean SW and Literary and Cultural Society VP stated that four wheeler vehicles had been rented for these purpose. Even, the institute vehicle was at their disposal.
The organizers faced a lot of problems during the check-in by the guests at the Guest House. The Guest House officials insisted that the organizer, who had booked the rooms, had to be present for the guests to be allowed to check-in. Because of this policy, the organizers of Laser Tag had to wait for an hour before they could get the rooms.
Some of the outstation students complained that they could not find the venue of the events and got lost in the campus. Team MM suggests that from next fest onwards, the participants should be provided with a small map of the campus to facilitate the students. Both the VP and the Dean SW have expressed their positive opinion on this suggestion.
Was it a success?
The Vice President of Literary and Cultural Society Prof. Sushmita Das expressed her satisfaction in the organization of the fest, insisting that the students got to organize and learn so many skills. She praised the design team for their commendable work. The Dean SW said that the student’s opinion was his opinion.
The brightest spot in the three day extravaganza was Maktub, the event by Heartbeats. It was hailed as a wonderful event by everyone who attended it.
In a nutshell, NITRUTSAV 2k15 was well organized with little crowd flavour. It seemed that the event turned into an intra-NIT affair. The efforts of the organizers was worth complimenting. It might not have been as splendid as its previous version but the effort was worth it. Rest is left to the better judgement of the NITR populace.