(Click on the name to download manifesto. Scroll down to see the video.)
What is your motivation behind standing for the post of CoCAS?
Sohan: Having experience in the field of technical activities, I realised there are certain areas where the institute does not perform to the actual standards which have been or should be set. As an IIT there are certain areas which we really need to work upon. So I want to take up this post and bring about that change so as to make IITM a leading technical institute in the world. This is my motivation.
Kaushik: I was the Sponsorship Core for Shaastra last year. After the Coreship, I reviewed my work and everything that we did at Shaastra. That is essentially my motivation behind standing. I felt that there is a lot we could have done better – a lot of different things we could have done. One of the key things in this aspect is, as a part of my Coreship, I initiated the Shaastra Wiki, which gave me the opportunity to interact with several previous Core members of Shaastra. After talking to them, I looked back and I realized that there’s still a lot more I could do and lot more I give for the institute to create a good tech culture in insti. Another reason behind standing for this post is the opportunity to initiate new things in the institute, which would create an impact now and also set up a platform for future years.
Why should the electorate vote for you?
Sohan: My responsibilities as Co-CAS would be to develop an aptitude for technical activities in students. So having done my ground work I have come up with novel ideas like an all-IIT consortium and Shaastra Junior and Shaastra Carnival. This would reflect my preparation for standing for this post. Apart from this I believe that I have the potential to deliver – that I have valuable insights from my past experience as a participant, as an organizer, as a leader and as a mentor. I am currently the CFI Clubs head and I am the mentor for DRDO’s Robocon team. I made the Robocon 2010 and 2011 teams. I have been a participant in Shaastra and have won Junkyard wars, Contraptions, Desmod and AutoDesk Inventor’s Student Sustainability Challenge. As a CFI Clubs head, I started four new clubs under CFI which led to a 300% increase in membership from CFI. Having done so much, I believe that I have the potential to be the next CoCAS. I have the passion and zeal to perform, to work till the end and succeed.
Kaushik: I think the electorate should vote for me because I see myself as an ‘ideator’. The position requires the Secretary to be a visionary and vision comes from ideas. That is my strongpoint. I have also been involved in several activities in the institute at various positions and proved that I am a responsible person. I have undertaken a position in institute which requires a year-long dedicated effort- as a convener of the Word Games Club, which I started and developed for a year.
What is the one point in your manifesto that you would like to highlight?
Sohan: We as IITians are a part of a number of technical activities. We learn, develop new technologies. But all our activities are confined to our institute itself. I would like to break this barrier by forming an all IIT consortium which would be a web based platform where all the co-curricular activities from every IIT will be posted and information sharing will be made easy. This will be the main focus.
Kaushik: I hope I can mention two. One is Infi Talks, which is a platform for sharing ideas and collaborating. I see it becoming a part of student culture where people would present some of their best ideas. It would start like a Ted-Talk where small groups get together and discuss and collaborate and share ideas. I think it’s something that can definitely develop into something really big. The other is the CFI IIT challenge. I feel that IITs, now there are quite a few of them, don’t really get together that often. Inter-IIT Sports is something really great, but I feel as Indian Institute of ‘Technology’, we can collaborate on that aspect also. So the CFI-IIT challenge aims to bring together IITs to something good with technology. There is a lot of word going around saying IIT-ians don’t do anything for the society. I think this would be an initiative which can potentially change that.
What do you feel are the major issues that require to be addressed in the coming year?
Sohan: Right now, any co-curricular activity in this institute has four major objectives- it could inspire people, it might have a learning objective, an application value and an implementation of an idea. We do very well on the learning and application front but the inspiration to demonstrate to the student community what we have achieved is missing. Also, having worked on so many projects in CFI, I hardly saw any project/prototype being implemented in the real world. These are the major areas which I should be focussing upon.
Kaushik: Well there are a few of them, one of which is the declining enthusiasm for technical activities in general in the hostels. The other is the general feeling that people have that you require a threshold level of knowledge to actually be involved in all these activities. And this is quite important: the tendency of students to rate organizing activities and managing things over, say, participating in an event.
How do you propose to tackle the declining enthusiasm and standard at Tech-Soc?
Sohan: Tech-Soc activities are not mass centric. Also, if a person was deeply involved in Tech-Soc in first year, he has very less or nothing to do in the second year. So we need to diversify Tech-Soc activities by altering events periodically. For example, let’s say in first year if we have robotics, contraptions and junkyard wars, the next year we need to have something different like fire and ice, ignoble and pentathlon for instance. So we can have a set of 15 events, have 10 events every year and circulate them periodically. So we will have a pool of students willing to participate in every event every year.
Kaushik: One of the things we need to address is: bring in more diverse events in Tech-Soc, which would attract more people. Different people have different preferences for what they like to do, and Tech-Soc should clearly address that. The other is bringing in events which involve the whole hostel. These are there in Lit-Soc, but currently not there in Tech-Soc – events like junkyard wars. It’s extremely important to have relevant problem statements in Tech-Soc, problem statements that students can connect with. We need to rethink the approach to some of these every year, keep it fresh…something new every year, which currently, I feel, is kind of lacking.
What is your vision for Shaastra 2020?
Sohan: I envision Shaastra as a world class festival where students take real life problems and solve. Now this would be our way to contribute to the society in an ‘IITian-like’ way. We are not entitled to only celebrate technology but also implement it. We have certain duties towards the society which we have to fulfil. That would be my vision for Shaastra 2020.
Kaushik: Shaastra 2020 should become a hub for intellectual youth to gather. It should become a platform for learning, sharing, collaborating, and to create and innovate at Shaastra. A product should come out of Shaastra which will have an impact on the country and perhaps even the whole world. Competing wise, I think we do events very well, and I feel that the approach now should be that: there should be a balance – the events focus is there but I think we need to start adding the element of Shaastra becoming a hub, a platform, to showcase innovation and technical brilliance.
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