Manifesto Review – G Sree Satwik, SAC Speaker (2013-14)

The colour scheme works like this:

Green – completed already.

Orange – partially completed and/or will most likely be completed before end of tenure.

Red – not completed, or left to future SAC Speakers.

Satwik stated in his manifesto that his mission was to effect substantial changes in the institute, contribute to student welfare by identifying their problems and suitably address them through the Student Affairs Council. He also wished to ensure that SAC meetings are publicized extensively, efficiently managed and its members are involved to a greater extent.

It is difficult to review the Speaker’s work independent of the Executive Wing because the Speaker functions without any teams and often depends on the EW to get proposals worked on. Satwik also informs us that the Speaker usually has to work outside his manifesto as well, and hence his/her work should be reviewed as a whole, taking into account the non-manifesto ventures as well. He also wished to write clarifications on some points, which have been included in blue.

Satwik has managed a success percentage of 55% on the basis of his manifesto. It is important to point out here that the Speaker’s work is often impromptu, and thus the non-manifesto achievements are also noteworthy.

Executive Wing:

  • Kick Start: The executive council members will be asked to finish all their groundwork and feasibility analysis of their manifesto points by summer. A SAC meeting will be held within the first ten days from the start of the semester where the councilors will evaluate his/her groundwork and plan for the semester.

The Dean ruled that no formal SAC meeting could be convened before the new Council (including the freshie Councilors) was elected. However, an informal meeting could have been conducted, which wasn’t.

  • Executive Council Meetings will be held regularly (minimum once per month) so as to help the secretaries coordinate better.

Satwik conveys that these meetings took place six times in the last year, with most of the members being present. Attendance was not recorded for these meetings and they were not minuted, but he tells us they were intended to be similar to the Hostel Council Meetings for each hostel, where the secretaries are supposed to meet and discuss their plans for better coordination.

  • Ask your Secretary: A Google form will be mailed to the GSB wherein provision will be made to post any question to any particular secretary. Optimum number of questions will be screened, and answers of the secretary will be published through smail.

A couple of surveys were sent out, but most of the questions recorded were to the HAS, due to the mess issues that cropped up last semester, with very few questions to the others. Hence, it was decided that rather than putting forward questions to the secretaries, it would be better to have such a meeting with the administration, so that more issues are addressed. (Refer point about town hall meeting.)

  • At the end of the semester, all the EW members’ manifestos will be put up online and appropriate color code will be used to indicate if the points have been executed or pending etc. This will be done well in advance to the Manifesto Review meeting to assess them better.

This was done at the end of last semester, after the last SAC meeting of the semester. An smail was sent out with a colour coded manifesto of each Secretary. Satwik conveys that the same shall be done after this semester’s last SAC meeting.

SAC meetings:

Identify

  • An extensive survey of problems in various diversified areas will be made online (based on the survey conducted 2 years ago). I will read a large part of the responses myself which would serve as both motivation and focus. Also a report will be made, which will serve as the basis for deciding agenda points for the SAC meetings.

This was done for a few of the SAC meetings. The idea was to incorporate the GSB’s opinions also while deciding the agenda. Since the SAC was unable to take up too many agenda points, the later SAC meetings had agenda points sourced from the earlier responses rather than from fresh surveys. Forms enquiring about people’s opinions on the agenda were also sent out a couple of times. These were seven surveys held over the year, pertaining to various issues; Satwik tells us that he read all the responses personally.

  • Provision will be made in student’s portal to petition for a cause. Each student can choose to support the cause. If the number of supporters reaches a certain mark, it will be taken up by the Executive wing and also SAC.

This could not be done as the Webops team was overburdened due to the amount of work and the dearth of skilled team members.

Involve

  • SAC meetings will be conducted on a monthly basis.

Including the Emergency SAC meetings, Satwik says seven SAC meetings have been conducted so far, with one more scheduled to happen before the end of his tenure.

The following are examples of a few committees we can look into

  • Hostel Review Committee: This committee will visit each hostel twice a semester, once during the beginning and then again at the end. It will help the secretaries to plan their work accordingly and report any problems witnessed
  • Data analytics Committee: This committee looks into specific issues and gives useful results to cement our arguments to the admin. E.g.: 24 hr internet issue.

Only people who were not ex-secretaries applied to the Hostel Review Committee. Satwik says he even prepared skeletal drafts for the constitution for the committee and went on record in two SAC meetings requesting volunteers for the committee but got none, and hence the committee was scrapped. The Data Analytics Committee got volunteers initially, but nobody replied when Satwik sent out a mail asking them to take up an issue and draft questions on it. This point is green since the Speaker carried out his end.

  • Committees for evaluating the hospital performance and security in the hostels will be considered.

The SAC took up the issue of security in one meeting and there are some projects from CFI which Satwik says that the CoCAS (Elect) has assured him will be rolled out soon. No committee was instituted, however, and hospital performance was not evaluated by this year’s SAC.

Contribute

  • The SAC members will be made aware of all the constitutional rights and procedures through a short presentation at the Old-New SAC council meeting.

This was done, and is planned for this year’s Old-New SAC Council meeting as well.

  • All the agendas will be carefully analyzed, and these details will be presented, through PowerPoint presentations, in an unbiased way, so that the councilors can make informed decisions. If the study into agenda has too many details, then hardcopies of the same will be provided.

Was not able to do this for all the agenda points.

  • A review will be made on the policies implemented last year. Their effectiveness in addressing the issue will be considered and if found unsatisfactory, the policy will be reformulated.

Satwik assures us that this was done, and some policies were in fact revoked.

  • Progress of all the committees established will be evaluated by the SAC regularly.

This was done for all committees that were set up by the SAC this year.

Ensure

  • List of the people who have not attended the SAC meeting will be put up in all hostel notice boards along with smail.

Although it was not put up on hostel notice boards, attendance was circulated by smail and Councillors lacking the required percentage of attendance were expelled.

Publicize

  • SAC meetings will be held in open areas in the hostel zone like Himalaya Lawns etc.

After the emergency SAC meeting held at CLT, it was felt by the SAC that having a meeting in open places was not a good idea, since the organisational overhead involved is too high.

  • Pamphlets will be distributed in Himalaya, which will have the agenda and also a description of each of them so as to pique readers interest

Was not able to do this.

  • SAC meetings will be recorded and uploaded online. Also a SAC page will be created in social networking sites like FB and will be administered by the SAC speaker.

The first meeting was recorded, but the video was three hours long and unclear. The idea was therefore dropped, but Satwik assures us that, in its place, ‘Decision Tables’, explaining each decision reached by the SAC by covering all aspects in a tabular manner, will be sent out before his tenure ends.

  • LED Display boards at Himalaya and hostels will be used to stream  timings and venue of SAC meetings.

Was not able to do this.

Miscellaneous:

  • Dinner will be organized at least once a semester after a SAC meeting so as to help networking among the SAC councilors.

This initiative was carried out and it has been received positively since bonding over food usually increases productivity. Also, members of the GSB attending the meetings in full were also offered dinner, which can lead to greater representation from the students.

There was a view expressed that this is an unfair use of students’ money and was solely included to please the SAC councilors (as some sort of freebies). However the reality is that SAC meetings go on for pretty long (median 4 hours) and the councilors are really exhausted after it. Most of the lunch/dinners organized were because the SAC meetings exceeded mess timings.

Vital Statistics

Item and Colour Code

Number

Percentage

Completed/Green

11

55%

Will Be Completed/Orange

2

10%

Can’t Be Effected/Red

7

35%

Total

20

100

 

Other Work (not part of the manifesto):

  • Organized the first ever Townhall meeting in over a decade. Questions were taken from the students made into a questionnaire and asked to the relevant administrative officials.

The meeting was a great success with all the members attending it returning satisfied. The answers given by the admin were so detailed that not even half the questions were covered. Efforts will be made to hold another townhall meeting

  • Surveys were sent to the students asking them to suggest various agenda points and later, asking them to give opinions about the same.

Introduced the idea of taking feedback from pass outs about various issues on account of their experience.

  • Introduced the idea of decision tables to ensure all the students could get key highlights at a glance.
  • To ensure regular attendance, the members who missed more than two meeting without prior information were expelled from SAC.

This might not be a point to feel proud about, but it still needs to discussed. It was a point of great sadness, to expel members, but that was the only way to ensure regular attendance.

  • It was made mandatory for the all the hostel councils to attend the Old New council SAC meeting.

Most of my initiatives with respect to publicity couldn’t be implemented, in combination to my initiatives to include a short presentation in the Old New council meeting, to explain about SAC, this will ensure all the hostel councils of each year know what the SAC is, and in time be interested to attend such a meetings.

  • With the support of the Executive Wing, pushed for the inclusion of the SGS and the Speaker (SAC) as members of the committee selecting Mitr team.

The Mitr is a special body in the institute that can’t completely come under the students. However, student representatives should be part of the team which selects them.

  • Along with Sec (IAR) initiated a group for the Executive Wings of all years to enable greater networking and mentorship
  • Contributed to various administrative efforts as a member of over 6 Ad-Hoc committees.
  • All the work done over the year, was properly documented including committee detail sheets, summary of responses etc. to enable a smooth transition at the end of the year.
  • Initiating the idea of letters of the executive wing, wherein the EW member shall record his most successful initiatives, the ones which were impossible etc., and his message to all his coming successors. 

For most of the positions in Institute, we generally ask the aspiring members to meet all the previous people who held the same post. However for Executive Wing and SAC there are at the maximum 2 people who are currently in the institute who held the same post. This is a initiative to address the same and also help the secretaries to know what initiatives were taken by people who held the post years before them.

  • Publishing an annual SAC report including the reports of all the sub committees, constitutional amendments made etc.
  • Along with the Speaker (SAC) elect, working on putting together a team which will work towards to rewriting the constitution.
  • Re-introducing the position of faculty advisor for SAC which will help in having a smoother interaction with other faculty in administrative positions.

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