Manifesto Reviews 2015-16: Aditya U, Cultural Affairs Secretary (Arts)

This is the eleventh and the final article in our Manifesto Review series, where we review the tenures of IITM’s Executive Wing (consisting of 10 posts) as well as that of the SAC Speaker, for the year 2015-16. In this review, we evaluate the manifesto of Aditya U, IITM’s Cultural Affairs Secretary (Arts) for the year 2015-16.

Note: The Manifesto Reviews team at T5E has made every effort to review the Executive Council in an unbiased manner and stay true to the facts, but it is possible that we may have made inadvertent errors. We request our readers to point out errors if any so that we may correct them immediately. Finally, we value your feedback! You can reach us at t5eiitm@gmail.com.

Vital Statistics

Manifesto PointsNumberPercentage
Completed840
Partially completed00
Incomplete1050
Others210
Total20100

The same color scheme is used in the review below.

The duties of the Cultural Secretaries, in short, revolve around conducting LitSoc and club activities in the institute, as well as organizing Saarang with the help of the Core team and the Cultural Advisors. They are responsible for the selection of the team, as well as the performance. While the initial idea was to have the cultural secretary(Lit) take care of the literary clubs, and the remaining by the cul sec arts, over the time, the secretaries have begun to work in tandem, distributing work amongst themselves.

Following a nail-biting election, Aditya U was elected as the Cultural Secretary (Arts) for the academic year of 2015-16. His manifesto is unlike the CulSec (Lit), in the manner that while most of Koushik’s points are easily quantifiable, Aditya has focused more on improving the quality of LitSoc and Saarang, making it difficult to determine if some points were actually worked upon or not.

The following is a detail point by point review of his manifesto, divided majorly into three sections: Clubs, LitSoc and Saarang.Aditya U: CulSec (Arts)

VISION

  • To enhance club performance by inculcating professionalism and inclusivity and aiding this process through a strong support team

Overall, clubs have been better. While he says he can’t generalize and speak, he says that the clubs which have been proactive and have had active convenors have fared well, while some clubs were still unresponsive, for example, the design club was scrapped mid-semester due to unresponsive convenors. While not all the clubs have done better, the ones that did try got an active participation.

  • To improve lit-soc participation and experience for all sections of the student community

Again, there is no concrete data to support a statement of this sort, but looking at the participation for normal events, as well as extra events like the Conclave and MUN, the participation, he feels, has increased.

  • To make Saarang more affordable, diverse and efficient and ensure that the brand value is enhanced

Another unquantifiable point, it has been explored more in the later stages of his manifesto.

CLUBS

Promote inclusivity, corporate exposure and strive towards professionalism.

Professionalism

  • Provide avenues for clubs to collaborate with various companies and startups and undertake projects which will provide a first-hand experience to club members

Status: Done

While this cannot be said of all the clubs, proactive clubs were given the support needed to organize events that would provide students with first-hand experience. Thespian Club, for example, had events in collaboration with people from CreaShakthi.

  • Efficiently allocate club budget to include workshops by hired professionals interspersed with existing workshops to improve quality

Status: Done

Again, not all clubs included workshops by hired professionals, but budgets were changed to accommodate the requests of the convenors, and while some clubs used these for professional workshops, others focussed on different events, or buying equipment necessary. The Music Club had workshops from bands and artists from Chennai, amongst workshops conducted by seniors.

  • Make Club Convener Apps publicly available to improve accountability

Status: Not done

Discussed along with the next point, since both talk about accountability.

  • Reports by clubs on work done to be uploaded on the Lit-Soc portal at the end of each semester to increase transparency as well as efficiency

Status: Not done

Aditya says that the point was rendered useless following discussions since not much of the institute populace would be interested and/or participating in club activities when compared to the total population. Whether this is a valid reason for not uploading the reports can be questioned. But in any case, the final executive power rested with the Secretaries and Events Cores, who implemented the submission of event reports and had a review at the end of the odd semester to see how much percentage of their manifesto convenors had fulfilled. While this was not completely transparent, it achieved the goal of accountability.

Inclusivity

  • Establish an Informals Club with activities like Wolf, Dumb Charades, Movie and Song parodies, etc. to make Clubs more fun and inclusive

Status: Done

Informals club was established as promised, and while it hasn’t conducted all the activities expected, the convenors have been fairly active, and also have interacted with other clubs, resulting in a lot of collaborative events, including a Drum Circle with the Music Club, and a Word/ Card Games night with the Word Games Club.

  • Introduce an Outstanding Club Award, inclusive of coupons, to incentivize clubs which go beyond their basic objectives and promote participation, diversity and inclusivity

Status: Not done

The idea was not implemented after discussions, since it was understood that different clubs had different methods of operation, and all clubs could not be treated the same.

  • Synergy between linguistic Samithis and clubs to generate more audiences and reduce unnecessary expenditure

Status: Done

This has been implemented to an extent, with any samithis that were actively conducting events. Convenors and club heads have been in contact with the samithi heads and actively helping out when needed.

Support Structure for Clubs

  • Improve the resources for the clubs by allocating a centralized workspace for clubs to facilitate their activities

Status: Done

For now, the first floor of Quark has been allocated as club workspace, but talks are ongoing for more space elsewhere in the institute.

  • Creation of a Club support team to assist conveners by taking care of the club logistics, which include Publicity, Design, Public Relations etc.

Status: Not done

This idea was scrapped after discussion, due to logistical issues, and also due to the fact that the coordinators wouldn’t be having a proper work structure, making for a weak POR, which would not attract many applicants.

LIT-SOC

To take Lit-Soc to the people by making it more accessible

Accessibility

  • Development of a Mobile App for Lit-Soc and Clubs, to increase the outreach of various Lit-Soc events, Club Sessions and workshops

Status: Done

The LitSoc app was created, however, weekly challenges that were promised were not conducted. The app was, however, not publicized enough and it could have reached a larger audience.

  • Upcoming Lit-Soc Portal to contain a database of tutorials of various events to assist the hostel secretaries in conducting intra-hostel sessions

Status: Not done

The portal was not created due to a WebOps failure, with the core in question being unresponsive.

  • Introduction of a prize distribution ceremony for Lit-Soc where certificates will be handed out to winners of all Lit-Soc events

Status: Not done

Did not occur due to time constraints at the end of the year. However, certificates will be handed out.

Targeted Outreach

  • Freshie Participation: Freshie hostels will be mentored by Lit-Soc Secretaries of other hostels. This will boost participation and nurture talent at a nascent stage

Status: Not done

The point was scrapped after a proper mentoring system could not be reached.

  • Postgraduate Participation: The PG academic calendar will also be taken into account for scheduling events which can attract more participation based on feedback

Status: Others

While there have been efforts to increase PG participation in litsoc and club activities, it cannot be confirmed whether the scheduling was done around any important seminars for the PG students.

SAARANG

To make Pro-Shows more affordable, Events more diverse & Remove Redundancies to make Saarang more efficient.

Affordability

  • Restructuring of Ticket Sales by reducing ticket prices for institute students without altering the self-sustainability of Saarang to increase institute participation

Status: Not done

While the ticket prices for non-institute students were increased, the prices for institute students were not cut down because for a large part, the admin and the Cultural advisor were against the decision, as lowering the ticket prices further would result in a dilution of the brand value of Saarang.

  • Altering the professional shows structure to include another free night at OAT exclusively for institute students, thus enhancing their Saarang experience

Status: Not done

The idea for this was to move one of the professional shows to SAC, but it was not possible this year due to budget constraints. However, it might happen next year in the form of a Pre Saarang Comedy Show at SAC.

Diversification

  • Revamping Informals in Saarang with the introduction of Air Hockey, Foosball, regional cinema based potpourri and Cosplay Contests

Status: Done

The informals zone was set up, and the activities done to an extent, with the  cosplay contest being scrapped because of copyright issues.

  • Attracting more institute participation for informal events by introducing a competitive structure

Status: Others

Another point that is not easily quantifiable. Institute participation for informal events has shown a general increase,with the revamp of the informals zone, but the change isn’t quantifiable.

Removing Redundancies

  • Unification of Hospitality Departments of Shaastra and Saarang in order to decrease workload, optimize the resources of both the departments and increase efficiency

Status: Not done

This point was originally in place due to a lack of communication between Shaastra and Saarang teams. The Shaastra hospitality team would work for the  duration of Shaastra and then stop, leaving the hospitality work at a standstill, making it difficult for the Saarang coordinators. However, after discussions, it was found that there wasn’t a proper way to merge the two teams,and the two teams would have to coordinate amongst each other and work through inconsistencies. The hospitality team this year avoided the problem due to the change of dates in Shaastra.

  • Allocation of roles and responsibilities to the QMS team will be streamlined and efficiently followed upon

Status: Done

The structure of the QMS team was changed the previous Saarang in order to increase efficiency. However, this structure proved to be less efficient, and this year’s team chose to revert back to the  old structure of QMS.

Aditya with Gokulesh
Aditya with Gokulesh

Overall, Aditya U managed a 40% success rate, which is understandable considering the circumstances of Saarang. We wish his successor, Gokulesh Thata, the best of luck for his term as the Cultural Secretary(Arts), in the coming year.

 

 

Disclaimer: The views are not to be construed in any manner as the official views of IIT Madras.
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Kaushik Viswanath

Likes food, sleep and books. And yes, deadlines. Especially the sound they make when they go whooshing past.