BRCA GSec Jinay Shah
In the manifesto, you mentioned about adapting club activities and training of freshers in the online mode. The clubs like debate and quizzing are easier to adapt in online mode as compared to clubs like dance, drama, which need full team involvement and physical training. What are your plans for these clubs?
Ans. I agree with the fact that it would be difficult to adapt the clubs like dance and drama to online semester, but it's not impossible. As a trial for the same, BRCA organized the Gandhi Jayanti week, where all the clubs organized various competitions. The event turned out to be a huge success with more than 400 participants across all the competitions.
What have you done as a dance secy in this lockdown?
Ans. In April, we started online Zumba and dance classes, every Tuesday and Saturday, open to everyone including the faculty and staff. The classes are still being conducted. Obviously, the audience has decreased now. When it started we had around 200 participants in both Tuesday and Saturday slots, but now it has decreased to 20-30 participants.
You mentioned about organizing an online virtual RDV. How are you planning to make the virtual version live up to the standards of the biggest cultural festival of north India?
Ans. The online RDV would be difficult to conduct but there are still many competitions we can organize. As there would be no major problems for clubs like debating, quizzing or performing arts to conduct their competitions online, we can exploit this well. We can have participants from all around the country for these clubs. We can even try and rope in some international participants for competitions as it can be easily done in virtual RDV.
As far as freshers are concerned, they are mostly excited about the pronites. So we are planning to have artists performing live from their place, we can have Instagram live sessions and talks with celebrities. This is what is happening in other events all around the country. We can rope in standup comedians and poets as well for live performances. The standup comedians these days have a zoom conference and they perform their bits, we can try something like that.
RDV can be held in March because the freshers are expected to come around in November or December. If the situation improves and we are allowed to have an offline RDV, we can have competitions without an audience, in sem hall or Dogra hall and live stream it from there, or we can limit the audience considering the social distancing norm. We will plan all this out once the teams are formed for RDV.
RDV has close to 60 coordinators every year. Are you planning to give all these 60 PoRs in virtual RDV as well?
Ans. No, there won't be a need for 60 PORs for online RDV. I am planning to have around 25-30 PORs for the 7 domains that RDV has. Out of that, domains like Infrastructure or maintenance would not need coordinators this time. The number of executives would depend upon what the co-ordinators ask for.
What features have you planned to include in the BRCA app and what is the idea behind revamping the BRCA website?
Ans. Currently, I am planning to have the BRCA app on the basis of the TnP app, where the user is notified about any upcoming events. We can have notifications for events, competitions etc. I'll have to discuss this with the tech team. Also, I was planning to have a real-time leaderboard of hostels and freshers. That would be helpful in increasing competitiveness. Other than that we can have a query section, updates about competitions, winners etc. We will also have a gallery, where pictures from the previous events are displayed.
As far as the website is concerned, the current website is quite good, but somehow the access to the backend of the website is lost for a year now and thus we are unable to update the website. So the first attempt would be to try and find who has the access, and if we are able to find it we will update this website itself. If not, then we will have to make a similar new website.
You brought upon an idea of maintaining a fresher’s leaderboard, what would be the parameters of judging the freshers and its importance in the long run?
Ans. I will have to clearly plan this idea with secys and cultus. Right now what I have planned is to give freshers points for participation in workshops, as well as for winning competitions.
The idea behind this is that when I was the dance secy, I noticed that very few people used to show up for the workshops and we used to go to their rooms and convince them to attend the workshops. Since this can't happen now, considering the virtual semester, there is a need for some kind of an incentive for freshers to make them attend the workshops. So this leaderboard can work in that way. Plus it would help in increasing competitiveness.
There was an idea of incorporating nationwide events into various BRCA events to increase engagement. Can you put some more light about this aspect and how would it be achieved?
Ans. In DU, they have an auction system similar to IPL, to make teams for competitions. I found this concept quite interesting and I feel we should do something like this as well. This will help us in generating greater interest in the competitions. This is just an example. We can incorporate many more such nationwide events into our IITD events, to make them more fun.
All the clubs under BRCA have their own active social media pages, how are you planning to make the BRCA social media page stand apart, so as to minimize redundancy?
Ans. All the clubs do have an active social media page, but what I have planned is to make BRCA page the centralised page for all the clubs. We can post winning entries of the competitions on the BRCA page. What I have noticed is that people usually follow the club they are part of, BRCA page and 1 or 2 other clubs. The BRCA page can act as the central stage, where information about events and competitions of all clubs will be posted. I was also planning to invite some artists to perform in Instagram live sessions through the BRCA page. The social media team was formed recently and the page will be in action soon.
You mentioned starting a new bi-weekly series where the artists would be performing live on Instagram pages. Will this series feature artists from IITD itself or guest artists would be invited? What have you planned for this month?
Ans. The artists can be guests, alumnus, or even IITD people. Right now my focus is more on RDV. After we finalize how we are planning that, we will focus on this as well. Currently, I am in talks with an artist, nothing is confirmed so I cannot reveal about it right now. But we are planning to have a surprise for students amidst the online studies. But yes, that is something for which permission of professors is required. I have proposed an idea of making an events team which would mainly focus on bringing guests artists for Instagram lives. But right now we don't have dates allotted for even RDV according to the academic calendar. So before we finalise anything the permission from profs is required.
Jinay is quite determined to not let the virtual semester steal away the glory that BRCA holds and provides, and Gandhi Jayanti week proves it. His manifesto is full of new ideas and initiatives, most of which look quite achievable. RDV, being the biggest cultural fest of North India, bears a lot of expectations to its name. It would be interesting to see how Jinay plans out the virtual RDV to live up to the offline standards.
Maintaining a freshers’ leaderboard is a commendable move for increasing participation and competition.
Jinay proved his sincerity towards his post by organizing a large scale event, the Gandhi Jayanti, quite early in his tenure and turning it into a success as well.
Online RDV would indeed be a real challenge, but Jinay seems resolute to make it a success. The events and competitions need to be more interesting and captivating than ever as one tends to lose interest quite fast in an online event.
The BRCA app is a good project, but whether it serves the right purpose or not would be interesting to know.
The biweekly series seems to be quite engrossing and might turn out to be a breath of fresh air in the online semester, it all depends on how it is planned and implemented.
Link to the manifesto:
Interview by Ritika Jain