Pokkuluri Anwesh is a third year Engineering Physics student, and a part of the NSS managerial team. Read on as he describes the new structure of NSS, and how one can be a part of it.
NSS is one of the three optional courses that all the B. Tech. / Dual Degree / Integrated M.A. students have to get enrolled in their first year, but we, the “Family of NSS” consider it as much more than that. Though it is a course according to the academic curriculum, one can see a lot of enthusiasm in the freshers when they do something as a part of NSS, be it the events like DOS collection or the projects. NSS also provides ‘winternships’ (winter internships) and also conducts various lectures and skill–building sessions such as web-operations sessions for the volunteers enrolled in it.
Two years back, the story was different. NSS had different teams handling various activities such as Teaching, Science Activities, etc. each headed by a core member. He/She used to take forward the activities with the help of 4-5 coordinators. Though they were able to make an impact, some of the work done was redundant. This was due to a lack of coordination between different teams and also due to insufficient documentation which led to the same work performed in different years.
On the initiative taken by Prof. Srinivasa Chakravarthy, the faculty advisor, some enthusiasts formed a team and they tried to look into the problems that the organization is facing. They realized that the entire structure has to be changed in order to achieve greater productivity. In this process, NSS moved out of the usual “core-coord-vol” structure that almost all the organizations in IITM follow. They decided to introduce two teams namely Projects team and Managerial team.
Structure of NSS:
Any socially relevant idea can be proposed as a Project by anyone at anytime of the academic year. The Advisory Committee which consists of Faculty members and some students, will look into the various aspects of the proposal and approve it if deemed feasible. It will be provided with a bunch of volunteers depending on its potential and all these projects form the Projects team. Each team will be represented at the time of Advisory Committee Reviews and the representative usually does all the documentation work related to the activities carried out as part of the project.
The Managerial team is an off-the-screen group which tries to ensure that all the activities are properly organized. It is composed of the following:
Project Administration team: Projects are the main part of NSS. This team is responsible for allotting volunteers to projects and ensures proper documentation of all the work which will be useful for the coming years. This is done by preparing standard templates for all the work to be done. They also, in a way, act as a Quality management system by tracking outputs of projects regularly and helping them to reach their targets.
Event Management team: Events are the major part of NSS after the Projects and they help volunteers in gaining credits. This team is responsible for organizing various events such as the DOS collection and various Lectures. Last year, they even started conducting competitions like Story-writing, Toys from trash etc.
Web-Operations team: They will be in charge of maintaining NSS website, which is the heart of NSS. Everyone can see different events happening around through this and anyone can register for events and lectures, even if they are not part of NSS.
Publicity: This team handles the publicity aspects of new projects, events etc. through mass mailing and also through facebook. They also take care of updating achievements of projects through the website.
Finance team: They handle the money that passes through NSS’s hands. This team is in charge of maintaining the finance portal on the website.
Applications for these teams are called towards the end of the academic year and Advisory committee selects people after interviewing applicants.
Selection of volunteers:
The freshers who come to IITM have to write a test to enroll in NSS. Around 300-330 students are selected through this. The volunteers will be allotted projects depending on their preferences. The project representatives select volunteers to their projects depending on the requirements of the projects.
A lot of work has to be done in summers to ensure proper working of the organization in the academic year. This year, the Managerial team started working on freshmen booklet that was sent to all the freshers joining IITM. Major events that happened this summer include selecting the projects, preparing a calendar with all the NSS events for the Jul-Nov 2012 semester, standardizing templates for all the documents, developing the mailing portal and finance portal on website and making website more effective to reach out to the world.
Goals for next year:
Along with the Projects and usual events, we aim higher for next year. NSS has been in collaboration with many NGOs in and around Chennai. This year we are hoping to expand our association to many other NGOs. Apart from the usual DOS collection and Joy of Giving week celebrations, this year, there will be scrap paper collection, blood donation drives, beach cleaning campaigns and celebrations on important days like Republic Day, Gandhi Jayanthi etc. Similar to last year, we will hold an Open House, the exhibition of all the activities in the year, at the end of the academic year before the valedictory function.