“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”
– Andrew Carnegie
We are back with the ninth edition of the “In House” series with Raghavendra (Roboocon captain), Ravi (Kannada Vedike convenor) and the team from Spectrum. We sat down to know more about the plans for these clubs and get to know the new measures taken by them to embrace the lockdown period.
Raghavendra Koppad – Captain of CSD ROBOCON NITK
– What can you tell us about the general tasks and goals for Robocon this year?
CSD Robocon NITK is a team focused on building robust, agile robots which are able to complete the task given in the theme abiding by all the rules in the rule book. In this competition, accuracy, robustness and speed matter a lot in order to make it to the top. Since the inception of our team in 2017, for 2 years, we concentrated mostly on the functionality of bots and not on perfection as we were a new team with little to no experience in manufacturing, and were successful in achieving functionality with good repeatability too. If everything goes well and the competition is not cancelled, this year, we are planning to level up our standards in design, fabrication and electronics aspects of building the bots, with all the knowledge and experience gained in last 2 years. We will be building the bots in a more professional way and reduce the amount of ‘jugaad’ as much as possible. The fabrication will be made with precision and there will be a focus on material selection and aesthetics of bot without compromise on functionality.
If everything goes well, Our aim for the upcoming year is to build bots which can compete and win with top Indian Robocon teams We have the resources required and a motivated team backed by the support of CSD and hence we are ready to accomplish what we have planned and make NITK proud.
– How is the situation different this semester from last year in the functioning of Robocon?
The pandemic has especially hit Robocon and its functioning hard as the competition for which we worked for months, now stands cancelled and is replaced with an online Robocon festival. Every year we begin the work as soon as the theme is released in August. Since August 2019 till the very last day at college, we have worked relentlessly to build the best possible bots. We completed the idea generation, prototype selection, design, analysis and optimisation of selected mechanisms and most importantly we built the working prototypes of kicking and throwing bots which were able to do the tasks successfully as per the rulebook. We were halfway through the manufacturing phase of final bots when the pandemic kicked in. It was slightly disappointing, but we will resume our work as soon as college reopens and complete the unfinished bots to showcase their capabilities, if not for the competition.
This semester, we plan to conduct an online design challenge for all students, a webinar on Matlab and a mentorship programme on robotics which includes both mechanical and EC/programming, mentored by Robocon team members.
We recently finished our recruitments, and CRN is now a 48 member strong team divided into mechanical and electronics/programming and media/marketing teams. As we can’t work on our bots, this semester we are utilising to learn different software and courses and gain skills which they will be applying practically to build better, more advanced bots which can win the competition for NITK.
We have a new dedicated media/marketing team this year. We will be posting exciting clips and photos of us working on our bots and the entire design and manufacturing process on our social media handles, so do follow us there.
– What do you expect out of your team?
Robocon is a team where we learn and teach each other a lot of stuff and work towards our goal of winning the competition with equal passion. We are a team with great commitment and dedication who can work day and night giving up on sleep and still make it to 8 am classes in order to make the bots work, and I expect the team to continue with the same attitude. Above all, as cliched as it may sound, I want the team to be more like a family than a team who can sit together and discuss anything from movies to astronomy. Also, I expect the team to know that we can win and hence give their best to make it a reality.
Team NITK Spectrum
– First of all, tell us about Spectrum since it is one of the new clubs on our campus. How is the situation different this semester from last year in the functioning of Spectrum?
NITK Spectrum is a gender and sexuality resource group and initiative by the students and alumni of NITK. In the last few months, Spectrum has grown bigger with – lots of engagement on Instagram, people coming to our events. We’ve had exciting collaborations with lots of clubs in NITK for Pride Month in June 2020. The virtual celebration, collaborations, and events were well received and have inspired us to have more of them.
These initiatives have built impactful traction and momentum. Last year, perhaps we were still figuring things out, ramping up, and our events were more experimental. This year, there is so much more enthusiasm both in our audience, as well as student organizers. This gives us the confidence that Spectrum is here to grow and thrive.
As we grow, we are also more conscious of how people have varying experiences and backgrounds. For example, the pandemic may affect all of us in many different ways. With all our initiatives, we strive to engage with different perspectives.
– How is the team collaborating now given the situation of lockdown?
Our group operates uniquely as we are not a traditional student club. We don’t have convenors, post holders, and recruitments. Group members can contribute however they’d like depending on their availability and interest. Anyone (including our social media audience) can suggest ideas for events, content, collaborations, and discussions. We all pick up the responsibilities that we find interesting and are able to do
As a group with members all over the world, we are used to virtual celebrations, hangouts, events, movie screenings, & content creation. We’ve used many technologies and apps to bring people together across countries and time zones. We’ve held events about once a month for members of the community. The organizing team also meets at a similar frequency to plan our activities.
– What events are in the pipeline for Spectrum?
Panel discussions, Instagram live talks, content series highlighting the Section 377 Supreme Court judgement, possible movie screenings, fun hangouts, club collaborations, inter-campus collaborations. We are also in the process of connecting with the alumni association and staff at NITK.
In a nutshell, we have lots of small and large ideas, and the enthusiasm and energy to match.
With all our initiatives, our aim is to:
- Promote discussions regarding sexuality, gender, and sexual orientation in NITK.
- Provide resources and support to the LGBTQ+ community and allies on campus.
- Increase LGBTQ+ visibility on campus and work towards making the campus an inclusive and safe space.
- Serve as a platform for expression of queer thoughts, perspectives and stories related to NITK.
– Things that you would like to change in the club…
Positive change is happening within our group and in the larger NITK community and we are loving every bit of it. Going forward, we want to increase support for allyship in whatever form people can offer it – loud and proud, quiet and strong, etc. We are also excited about our new team members and the fresh ideas and talent that they bring
Ravi Kiran – Kannada Vedike convenor
– How is the situation different this semester from last year in the functioning of Kannada Vedike?
We always organised the events which needed physical presence; Hudugata Hudukata(Treasure Hunt) for freshers and Parva being our main events, has become very difficult for us to conduct on an online platform. For which, we are pushing ourselves to utilize and experience the virtual platform for the first time and trying to reach as many people as possible. These events mainly attracted the UG and PG students, with the aid of online platform we can definitely reach out to them easily by conducting online events. But the activities and competitions which we organised especially for NITK Kannada medium school children have drawn us back. So I would like to say that the current situation has affected us
– How is the team collaborating now?
We have got a new enthusiastic core and more structured roles compared to last year to make the workflow more efficient. It has been hard to coordinate with everyone in this situation, but I still hope each and everyone will actively do their part for the smooth running of the activities to make them successful throughout the year.
– What events are in pipeline?
Currently, we are preparing to conduct an online quiz related to the culture and heritage of Karnataka, the exact dates would be announced soon. As we are compelled to conduct our activities online, we are planning to come up with more and more knowledge sharing series related to geography, language, literature and other aspects of Karnataka via online modes. We also have plans to teach Kannada for those who really are interested in learning, so that the language barrier doesn’t hold them back from being one among the people when they are outside the campus.
– As a con, things that you would like to change in the club…
As a convenor, I want to make this group of Kannadigas grow bigger and make sure that all our activities are well organized and more successful than the previous year.