As the institute makes its way into LitSoc week, T5E catches up with two of the Saarang Events Cores to find out more about the new and revamped LitSoc schedule.
The LitSoc calendar for the even semester of 2018-19 has undergone a visible facelift. LitSoc events, which usually span the course of one semester, have now been compressed into two weeks’ worth of time. In previous years, LitSoc events have always been distributed through the semester: with the exception of quiz weeks, the weeks leading up to the exams and the exam weeks themselves, most weeks during the semester would feature at least one LitSoc event.
This semester, however, LitSoc began on 28th of February and is expected to conclude in mid-March. Nonetheless, the following events have taken place as scheduled in the odd semester of this academic year: What’s the Good Word, Spell Bee, Mono Acting (vernacular), Couch Potatoes, Creative Writing, Freestyle (Solo), Debate and two Fine Arts events. Fifty percent of the total LitSoc events for this year were thus successfully conducted in the previous semester.
Talking about the new LitSoc schedule, Saarang Events Cores Akash and Vineet make it clear right from the beginning that the revamped schedule is very ‘experimental’. They also add that all the Literary and Social Affairs of the hostels have been informed of this experimental initiative and the challenges that might come their way.
Akash and Vineet begin by outlining some constraints that Sangam is currently subject to. Akash highlights how most hostels begin preparation for LitSoc events only a few days before the event itself. Allotting a week of preparation time for an event would therefore not serve any purpose. Vineet also adds that the current evaluation of a LitSoc event is largely perception-based. Convenors are the only link between participants and the Cores; the turnout and quality of performances is conveyed to the Cores through the Convenors. There are no numbers at the ready with which a LitSoc event can be deemed a success or failure.
Another drawback that the semester-long LitSoc paradigm suffers is the lack of free venues. In 2018, the CRC classrooms (which were previously used for conducting LitSoc events) were made available only upon payment. The literary events that were formerly held in CRC (quizzes, word games, writing sessions and oratory events) have since been shifted to the free classrooms in MSB.
In addition to the dearth of free venues is that of time. The even semester comes with a fair share of events that could overlap with semester-long LitSoc events and threaten to reduce participation in LitSoc. Some of these events include E-Summit, Madras Minutiae, RSD, department fests and elections, to name a few. This leaves LitSoc events at a disadvantage with respect to time, venue and participation.
The new LitSoc schedule targets these drawbacks and more. For instance, the Cores hope that the new LitSoc schedule will improve the ‘overall participation’ from hostels over the two weeks. Akash and Vineet rely on the buzz created by the LitSoc week to accomplish this. They believe that the hype surrounding a LitSoc week will generate more enthusiasm and participation than the hype associated with the semester-long LitSoc calendar.
Whether the new LitSoc schedule lives up to this hype remains to be seen.