From the horse’s mouth: Why Shaastra?

With the Shaastra ACM happening only a few days ago, T5E brings to you yet another piece in the ‘From the horse’s mouth’ series, this tine on the coordships available in Shaastra.

You have to be living in a cave to not know what Shaastra is. It is the technical festival of IIT Madras held annually in the month of January. With an organizational structure comprising of 500 odd coordinators spread across 11 departments, it is obvious that Shaastra works on a huge base of people. Shaastra, overall boasts of simple team structure working towards a common goal. Shaastra is regarded as one of the most multi-faceted teams in the insti.

While the general hierarchy followed by Shaastra is CoCAS- Core Team- Managers/ Super Coordinators- Coordinators, the major workforce of the Shaastra’s organizing team are none other than the coordinators themselves. We go about elaborating each department briefly.

Concept & Design

Concept and design team is responsible for every visual aspect of Shaastra. It monitors the way Shaastra is branded, both online and on-ground. The department takes pride in the fact that there are no prerequisites to apply to any of the 4 verticals in Concept and Design. The following are the verticals under the department

  1. Creative branding and graphic design:
    This vertical offers two roles:  that of a designer and that of a social media strategist.
  2. VFX:
    VFX coordinators have the responsibility of producing all of Shaastra’s video content. Shaastra 2017’s teaser can be found here to get a better picture.
  3. Creative Ambience:
    This vertical handles the on-ground show-pieces at Shaastra through different small scale and large scale projects.
  4. Media:
    Two words describe this sub department- photography and videography. It is a pit stop to learn all the photography skills. A few of the pictures taken by last year’s team:

    One of the designs made by the team
    One of the designs made by the team

Envisage

Envisage is a unique and completely student run techno-entertainment show happening on the first day of Shaastra. As a part of this team, a coordinator earns various technical skills and at the end presents a project to an audience of 4000 odd people. Apart from building their technical prowess from scratch, the coordinators also earn a great deal of event management through this coordship. An image of a project from the previous edition

One of the projects in Envisage
One of the projects in Envisage

Events & Workshops

Events are the heart and soul of Shaastra.They are the team that brings talented minds in the country to Shaastra. The department holds the responsibility for conducting 60+ events and workshops. This is the biggest team in Shaastra with 200+ members. Events has 8 verticals lead by Events Heads  and a separate team for the flagship events. The eight verticals being Aerofest, Bevents, Coding, Design & Build, Elecfest, Involve & Quizzing, Research events, Workshops and flagship events. Events offers an opportunity to

  • Strengthen technical skills in an area of choice
  • Develop Managerial and Organizational Skill
  • Complete ownership of an event.
  • Build a strong network with participants, visitors, team members and sponsors
  • Communicate with national and international participants, mentors and professors
  • Implement ideas and create events out of them

Evolve

Evolve organizes large-scale interactive events that involve idea sharing and networking. Every year, there is a new department in Evolve which ensures that there is a focused attempt at ensuring that Shaastra does not stagnate.

  • Spotlight

Spotlight organises three specific events at Shaastra – Lecture series, ShaastraX & Shaastra Connect. Spotlight attracts the major audience towards the lectures and provides its coordinators an immense learning experience in terms of event management and professionalism.

  • Summit

Summit, a platform for interdisciplinary ideation is a large scale theme based event. It is focused on creating impact. Multi faceted work profile includes professionalism in terms of the number of partners, kind of speakers, etc. Shaastra 2017 organised the Accessibility Summit and the first ever Hackathon for the Visually Impaired.

  • Department X

Not named yet, this department will be a completely new addition to Shaastra. This department shall solely focus on large scale events that cater specifically to audiences that come from a non-engineering background. It shall include three separate events – Moot Courts, Parliamentary Debates & MUN.

Finance

Finance team is responsible for allocation and distribution of all the funds that are generated by Shaastra for Shaastra. The finance team is structured in a way to enhance the accountability and transparency of Shaastra.

  • General Finance

This team handles the financial needs of all departments of Shaastra and are responsible for –

  • Budgeting
  • Advances/Reimbursements
  • Printing
  • Travel requirements
  • CFI finances

This team handles the financial needs of CFI (clubs, events, and competitions) and also responsible for –

  • Advances/Reimbursements
  • T-shirts
  • Tech-Soc Certificates
  • Sales

T-shirts and Merchandise are not merely a source of revenue but also a way to brand and promote Shaastra. This whole responsibility lies with this sub-department.

  • Ideation on T-shirts and Merchandise for Shaastra
  • Handling the printing and distribution of T-shirts and merchandise during Shaastra
  • PPM (Prize and Prize money)

Handling and distribution of prize money, mementos as well as certificates during Shaastra is the major responsibility of this team. Apart from these specific

Apart from these specific roles, each member of the finance team is expected to help reach the main targets like accountability, transparency, self-sufficiency and digitalization of Shaastra.

QMS

Shaastra is known to be the first student – run festival to get an ISO certification and the credit for the same goes to none other than the the Quality Management System department. The department is responsible for Shaastra to run on the grounds of the guidelines charted out by ISO. More interestingly, this year Shaastra is trying for an ISO 9001:2015 certification thus, making QMS more responsible this year. The QMS team has two positions and their responsibilities are as stated

QMS Coordinator:

  • Responsible for maintaining the quality of one of the departments of Shaastra.
  • Being the interdepartmental link for that department.
  • Representative of the department in the ISO audit

QMS Executive roles:

  • Responsible for maintaining the Quality of one of the event verticals of Shaastra.
  • Work on Analytics projects to help in decision making in Shaastra
  • Collect and analyse feedback received to improve Shaastra’s quality

Webops

The Webops team of Shaastra is responsible for creating and maintaining the Shaastra website, mobile app and other related requirements of various departments in Shaastra. The sub-departments include

  • Frontend

They are responsible for creating the look of the website – viz animations, formatting, etc. In a nutshell, the user only sees the work of this team on the website.

  • Backend

This team is responsible for creating all the databases, server-side scripts which are very crucial for the above said Frontend to work. They are also responsible for creating small portals which ease the work of other departments.

  • Mobile App

This team is responsible for making the Shaastra Android App published on Play Store. They also develop feedback apps for feedback collection of various events in Shaastra.

  • Software Development

This team is responsible for creating theme-related softwares (eg. Vroom) which would increase the brand value of Shaastra.They are involved in writing automation scripts helpful in sending bulk emails, SMS, etc for other departments.

Sponsorship & PR

The Sponsorship & PR Department at Shaastra, apart from obtaining Corporate Sponsorship, is responsible for enhancing the brand image of Shaastra among its stakeholders. The various sub-departments include

  • Engage

Engage is the face of the Shaastra’s PR scene. The profile is multifaceted ranging from contacting companies for kind deals for Shaastra/CFI to executing Limca records. Another initiative taken up by Engage is Shaastra Adventures. They are also responsible for executing Online Campaigns.

  • Endeavour

Endeavour is the face of Shaastra’s Social Scene. They are responsible for the ideation and execution of Shaastra’s social campaign. A few of the Social Campaigns from the past include Pledge-A-Book & SYNK.

  • PR Executives

They are responsible for spearheading and mentoring the second year teams, executing the Media Plan for Shaastra in collaboration with M&SR while also being responsible for adding value to Shaastra as a whole through patronages like UNESCO, UNICEF etc.

  • Corporate Relations

Their main responsibility is ensuring corporate sponsorship, thereby making Shaastra self-sufficient with respect to monetary resources. Apart from this they are also involved in obtaining Journal Associations for events and maintaining relationships with foreign universities, getting them down to Shaastra to present study opportunities in their university or their respective countries as a whole. You can find a summary of what they do, here.         

Shows & Exhibitions

Shows & Exhibitions is the team which caters to the “WOW” factor of Shaastra. This is reflected by the unconventional shows, cutting-edge exhibitions and engaging informals. The team has four sub-departments

 

  • Shows
    • Expose unconventional artists from niche sectors in the entertainment industry.
    • Contact and negotiate high-end deals with International & National artists.
    • Sole person responsible for a unique show which caters to 3000+ audience.

 

  • Exhibitions

 

    • Expose the crowd to recent, cutting-edge developments in tech and the brains behind them.
    • Sole PoC for all Shaastra-Embassy relations, negotiating deals for international exhibitions, artists, speakers, participants, etc.
    • Associate with various Govt. organizations (NASA, ISRO, DRDO), startups (Boston Dynamics, Segway), research labs (MIT Media Labs) for exhibiting their products at Shaastra.
    • Organizing Virtual Tours, Auto-Expo and Institute Open House.

 

  • Tech & Innovation Fair
    • Bridging the gap between student projects and real-world products.
    • A competition which connects exemplary student/rural projects with Industry (Venture Capitalists, Incubation Cells, Research Labs, etc.)
  • Techcreation
    • Creating fun, engaging, informal games and activities for Shaastra.
    • Branding Pro-Shows and Envisage.
    • Majorly caters to the inorganic crowd coming down to Shaastra.

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