“The true mark of a leader is the willingness to stick with a bold course of action, even as the rest of the world wonders why you’re not marching in step with the status quo. In other words, real leaders are happy to zig while others zag. They understand that in an era of hyper-competition and non-stop disruption, the only way to stand out from the crowd is to stand for something special.”
Continuing with our ‘In House’ series, for the second edition, we sat with Yashas G (ACM convenor), Yash Harlaka (E-Cell convenor) and Jijiss (LSD convenor) to discuss the changes in the club operation, and how mitigation plans are coming into action.
Yashas G – Convenor, ACM NITK
– What are your general plans for ACM in the upcoming year? How different will things be from event to event when compared to last year?
This unforeseen situation definitely affects how we go about conducting events which have been a part of our annual agenda for some time now. We do not want to get ahead of ourselves by planning too far into the future with respect to such events, which usually start off a month into college, due to the uncertainty associated with the whole process. We have, nevertheless, been working on adapting to the virtual mode of delivery. I believe we have got off on the right foot in the form of conducting multiple webinars and workshops online, with our recently conducted personal finance workshop and guest talks from our alumni. In addition to these, the club has been holding multiple internal events to ensure that our members are constantly learning from and interacting with each other.
Improving upon events, traditions, projects and all other aspects which have been part of the ACM culture, innovating new ones and executing them to perfection, and ensuring everyone has a great year filled with ample opportunities to learn from and connect on a deeper level with all of us within the club.
– What do you expect out of ACM as the leader for the club? Also, what do you feel are your responsibilities as the newly appointed convenor?
I expect co-operation, pushing the boundaries in every endeavour we take up and an enthusiastic spirit to learn from and contribute to the club, to improve ourselves as individuals, and in turn, the club as a whole. I will be doing the needful to help see things through to completion and making sure anyone with a feasible idea which can benefit the club/the individual has the resources and appropriate guidance to implement them.
– What major obstacles can you see in the year ahead for the club and its members?
Ample interaction between project members has always been at the heart of all of our successful projects in the past. One of the major obstacles during the upcoming year will be to ensure that the virtual mode of proceedings does not hinder this vital process. We have already discussed this at length, and are trying to lay down a framework to make sure this does not affect the quality of any project we take up, and to ensure all projects match up to the high standards ACM has always believed in.
Another major obstacle will be to deal with the uncertainty the current situation has brought upon us. This will give us lesser time to prepare for events which are part of our plan. This situation will also affect the funding opportunities which we get from corporate sponsors for some of the events since the whole world has been affected by this pandemic.
Yash Harlalka – Convenor, E-Cell NITK
– Firstly, as the new lead for E-Cell what are your expectations from the club and its members? And what do you feel will be your new responsibilities?
The main objective would be to get together to understand the problems we will be dealing with and treat it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Also, to back their strengths and take ownership in any task they undertake with an aim to get it done in an efficient and creative manner while enjoying the process.
For all that we would have to make sure that all club activities are in-sync with the club goals and to cultivate an atmosphere of open communication and innovation internally in the club. We will oversee that each and every club member grow professionally with the club’s progress and witness the building of a community of learners and entrepreneurs by the end of my journey.
– What events and projects have been planned as of now that would stand apart from last year?
Given our refocus on creating a learning environment, we have multiple plans lined up for this year. First of all, we are revamping our website to make it more interactive and be a better medium to connect with our audience. Further, we are launching a Startup Internship Program(SIP) exclusively for NITK students to get an opportunity to intern at a startup and learn the know-how of being an entrepreneur.
Our upcoming podcast series, The Building Blocks of Business would cover experiences of NITK alumni who have taken different trajectories, ranging from MBA abroad to Masters in Finance which would be available on our website and other streaming platforms. Additionally, we are setting up a learning portal on our website which would allow the entrepreneurship and business enthusiasts to access and learn from self-paced courses specially designed by us.
Later during the sem, we are going to hold the Hult Prize for our campus and are looking forward to witnessing the potential of the social startups of NITK. Lastly, nothing would stop us from bringing the best of the business and entrepreneurship world to our flagship event, the E-Summit!
– How does the club plan on tackling the limitations posed by the lockdown?
Honestly, having such an enthusiastic and energetic team makes my job much easier. We have broken down into smaller teams for efficient communication among the members. Additionally, we using services like Trello to set and track goals and increase transparency in the club. We are constantly using forms or other resources to get feedback from our members for our inter-club sessions and other ideas in an effort to actively involve everyone and evolve continuously. Overall, we are viewing the limitations as an opportunity to grow in newer directions.
– If I were to ask for the goal that E-Cell is heading towards, what will it be?
An entrepreneurial spirit might be within but an entrepreneurial community has to be built. All our actions for the upcoming year are directed towards fostering a community of potential entrepreneurs.
A core part of this includes a focus on creating a learning environment and providing the right tools to innovative minds. We have redirected our efforts to make these changes and aim to be a medium for individuals with business ideas and creative minds to learn and connect efficiently.
Jijiss Basil Joy – Convenor, LSD NITK
– LSD is the biggest hobby club in college, how do you think the club will perform in these times? And do you have a layout prepared for this undertaking?
Active group participation is at the heart of everything LSD does, and shifting everything online can prove to be challenging. However, I’m certain that we can overcome this by modifying the way we conduct our events.
We’ve already used video conferencing platforms like Zoom to hold debates, quizzes, game sessions and panel discussions without any issues – a good sign that we can go ahead with the events we usually conduct every year.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is to be highly flexible, which is why we’ve stuck to mapping out a rough schedule and then implementing it based on the prevailing conditions.
– According to you, how different will be the role of LSD Convenor this year compared to last year?
LSD is a vast club, with very diverse Special Interest Groups – Quiz, Lit-Gig, DebSoc, Stage and Film, and a presence in college fests like Incident, Engineer, E-Summit, Aurora, MHA Week to name a few. Ensuring it all runs smoothly has never been an easy task. With the pandemic forcing us to stay at home, effective communication and coordination will be more crucial than ever and is something that every club convenor, including myself, will have to work on.
– Would it be easier or more difficult to conduct LSD events online?
We’ve already held two quizzes which saw good external participation – Quiz For A Cause and Trivia Night in collaboration with NITK Spectrum. We’ve also held debate sessions within DebSoc, and Lit-Gig discussions. For most events, the shift online will help improve our outreach beyond NITK.
The main obstacles we’re bound to face with everyone miles apart will be pulling off In A Nutshell, our annual series of five short plays, and making our own film. To tackle this, we’re looking into other forms of drama which can be conducted remotely as well as having live table reads and live enactments through video conferencing. Adapting scripts into film screenplays in order to shoot them remotely is another option as well.
– Finally, what can non LSD members look forward to this year?
Our events have always been open to everyone in college, and this year won’t be an exception. Anyone who’s genuinely interested in what we do is always welcome to join us. In addition to our usual events, we’re looking to expand our online presence and hopefully introduce new forms of literature and arts.
Every piece we write, every funda we crack, every motion we discuss, every play we enact and every film we make is more than just a form of creative expression, it’s a great way to deal with all the stress and anxiety that we’re going through now, and this makes what we hobby clubs do more crucial than ever.