Are The Number Of Fests At NIT Rourkela Enough?
One of the things that the National Institute of Technology Rourkela is known for is its seriously good club culture which is known far and wide in India. With over sixty registered under the student activity centre (SAC), these clubs encompass a wide variety of domains ranging from Public speaking through robotics all the way to cooking and graffiti.
Fests are a crucial part of the student life here at NIT Rourkela, where they act as welcome interruptions to the otherwise monotonous lives of the students. Furthermore, they also play a dual purpose by serving as magnets attracting students from neighbouring colleges, thus enhancing the reputation of the institute. Most of these clubs get a chance to showcase their skills/talents during NIT Rourkela's college festivals, held throughout the academic year namely NITRUTSAV, Innovision and Vriddhi. Monday Morning conducted a poll to take a measure of students reactions towards the number of fests at NITR and their overall attitude.
The fests of NIT Rourkela currently are:
INNOVISION- The flagship tech-fest attracts and houses tech-enthusiasts from all over the nation. The fest, usually held in the first week of November, is Odisha's most massive fest and the biggest of its kind in the region. Staged first in the year 2004, the fest includes events, workshops, and exhibitions organised by various clubs of the campus around Techno-management.
NitrUtsav or NU, the official cultural festival of NIT Rourkela, is held in February. People from all over the state and the country gather to witness and enjoy the three-day event. It is organised by the LIterary society in conjunction with the arts and cultural society. A wide variety of literary and cultural events are organised along with, the celebrity night where nationally-renowned celebrities come and perform.
Roots, a mini-fest where the Arts and Cultural Society under SAC bring the creative minds of the country under one roof here at NIT Rourkela. The fests only second ever instalment was organised on 27th and 28th February 2018.
TechX, the first tech-only fest of the institute had its inception on 11th March 2018 with the events themselves being spread out and conducted on 11th, 17th, and 18th March 2018. The fest consisted of four workshops and four guest lectures where all things were discussed and celebrated.
Cosmopolitan, a fest that will take place for the first time this November, is inspired by the Multi-ethnic fest of the institute which was shelved after 2017 citing monetary problems. The fest strives to express the ethnic diversity of NIT Rourkela by giving the different residents from different cultures on the campus a platform to showcase their traditions and simultaneously gain exposure to other ones as well.
Vriddhi, NIT Rourkela’s sports fiesta was revived in 2017-18 after four years of comatose. The fest was held from 12th to 14th January 2018 and was organised by the Games and Sports Society under SAC.
Views of students
In the poll above 52 % of the voters said that they were satisfied with the number of fests. This isn't too surprising since most of the students aren't affected by the above issue. The number of fests in a given year is decided by the administration which de facto regulates the budget and details without much student representation. Many students also feel the need to improve the quality of fests, but given that quality isn't being increased much mostly due to lack of funds, the NITR populace seems to have settled down in a position where they are indifferent, not by choice but by necessity. Thus, increasing the number of fests would dilute the pool of resources from which the pre-existing fests happen. On the other hand, taking that away would be not right since it would chip away whatever the current system offers.
The majoritarian belief currently prevalent is that NIT Rourkela has an impressive number of fests in its repertoire compared to its counterparts. Most of the students across various colleges all over India agreed that the quality, not the quantity of fests matters. Moid Hassan a sophomore at NIT Warangal commented:
I'm pretty much satisfied with the number of fests that happen in my college. Fests take a lot of time and energy to plan, organize and execute. Two times a year is good enough because people have other things to do. From the entertainment point of view, we don't always need fests to enjoy. because we have many other events in the college organised by the numerous clubs and associations in our college.
39% of students said that they would want an increase in the number of fests at NIT Rourkela. It is a significant portion of the current crop of students who see festivals as a platform for showcasing and developing their talents while gaining exposure through what the fest in question offers. An increase in the number of fests would directly translate into more significant opportunities for students both regarding managerial experience in organisational roles and as well as talent showcasing. Last academic year [2017-18] saw a decrease in the number of fests due to budget constraints which received a mix reception from the student body. This year, however, Multi-ethnic has made a comeback albeit in a new form. Since the number of fests keeps fluctuating, a vociferous group of people have risen calling for an increase in the number of fests.
Ranjeet Kumar, convenor for this year's NU commented:
I am of the thinking that number of fests should be increased. During the tenure of the previous director there were four hall fests. Now there are only two: hall day & garden feast. By re-introducing the multiethnic as cosmo fest, the number of fests are renewed but SAC has not given appropriate funds for conduction of these ethnic fests properly.
The aforementioned comment is reflective of a substantial number of students who feel that SAC is not giving them enough money for conduction of fests, posing a challenge for every organizing team of fests. The major obstacle that results in a relatively low number of attendees is the quality of pre-shows and events which are severely affected by budget cuts and other administrative constraints. The constant student complaints about the lack of funds and the falling of the complaints to deaf ears have turned into a monotonous debacle over the years and serious changes have to be made in order to break this self-feeding cycle.
Finally, comes the last cohort of voters standing at 9% who feel that there should be a reduction in the number of fests. The most common line of reasoning amongst these people is that by decreasing the number of fests, the quality of the ones left can be increased substantially. The amount of funding that SAC gets is limited at best and handicapping at worst for the festivals. In light of the current situation, a reduction of fests and subsequent diversion of the funds for pre-existing ones like Innovision and NU can be increased. NU has the potential to be the fest that stands out even in a Technical institute like NIT Rourkela because of the breathtaking variety of events and clubs involved in it.
Sandeep Shiraskar, a CSE major said:
The amount of annual events should be cut and the funds for them should be transferred to the major ones which feature on the national platform. The fests need to be improved a lot so that they we can match up to our peers like BITS PIlani, IIT Bombay but funding needs to come from the admnistration. The fests represent the potential and skill of the students of NITR hence the concerned folks shold emphasize quality over quantity.
In conclusion, the common theme amongst all these opinions and the above poll is that the quality of fests regardless of their number should be increased. Furthermore, a substantial number of students feel that the number of fests should be increased. In fact, we conjecture from the impressions of the various students that we have talked to, that a supermajority of students believe that the number of fests should increase in tandem with their quality but most of them are aware of the fact that an increase in quality isn’t happening anytime soon and have resigned themselves to be satisfied with the status quo.
Team MM hopes for better quality of fests in this academic year and further ahead.