BSW GSec - Prakhar Sharma
How was your first year as a fresher at IIT Delhi and what was the first impression you had of BSW?
First-year was really special for me. Unlike many of my peers who did experience living away from their parents before coming to college, I have always lived with my parents, so naturally, there were some hurdles while adjusting initially to the independent and happening life here. Still, once settled, I truly believe this place has no limits. I explored a lot of stuff and experienced a lot of things for the first time. I made some really good friends and had some very unforgettable memories in my first year. We used to pull all-nighters during Rendezvous, went to a lot of parties and events. I grew up as a person, and it was amazing.
At first, I had a very comprehensive impression of BSW because the first people you meet when you enter the much-hyped gates of the hostel are what we all fondly call Babloos, who are the first point of contact for every fresher. I liked how people in BSW always had fun amongst themselves while organizing events and helping us at every step of our journey.
What was your motivation behind joining BSW?
I have always liked being part of a collective, working towards a cause, which was a key motivation for joining BSW or even Enactus, BSP in my first year. BSW had a very balanced mix of both fun and work. There was a visible impact that this board created in the life of students. And I did hear a lot about the culture and the people, which was really convincing. If I were to sum it up, it was about working towards the cause, interacting with many people, and being a part of something bigger than yourself.
How’s your journey been till now?
Talking about my rep tenure, I am one of those few lucky people who have experienced what being a BSW rep feels like in an offline setting. We all hung out almost every day for work and planning what we needed to do in the future or going to parties and movies. The team had a diverse set of equally talented and fun people, so the team bonding was strong. My favourite memory is the orientation, where we met many freshers and helped them and made sure that they were enjoying the campus initially. Becoming a rep was an inflexion point in my life as I found some of my closest friends and seniors in this Board; I learnt how an organisation functions and what being a part of an organisation means. I also formed really great relationships with all my hostel facches.
Around the end of my rep tenure, I liked the culture that has evolved in the Board over the years; I was deeply passionate about the cause and the work we do in the Board. These factors pushed me to continue in the Board, and I became a Secretary. Being a Secy was a very different experience altogether as I was managing a team for the first time in my life, and it wasn't easy. I had to take ownership of my initiatives, and I was involved in multiple initiatives. Most of my work was related to mental health and improving the quality of work we were already doing inside the Board that most of you do not get to see.
When did you decide to stand for the position of BSW General Secretary and what was your motivation behind it?
At the start of my 6th semester, I realised that I had done a lot of work in the Board, but there were still many things that I wanted to pursue and start some new initiatives. Although a secretary has a lot of freedom, there are many things that are shaped and given resources by the General Secretary. As I thought more about these initiatives, I finally decided to stand for the position. Also, I am really passionate about the cause and the work we do here, so I had a solid intrinsic desire to continue in the Board. This year will be about giving back to this Board which has given me a lot over the past three years.
What are some key past initiatives of BSW that you would want to continue and what new initiatives are you planning to bring in?
There are many things from the past that we would like to continue. The key things are the formation of support groups and the Career Portal. We want to take the career portal across more verticals, and my team has already started working on it. The second is about support groups; we have begun forming a vision for support groups, and we aspire to develop it into a self-sustainable system. Some new key initiatives involve 'Know your department', which is aimed towards helping prospective students of IITD know more about their department and help them make informed choices when they choose their departments. The second key initiative is developing an online portal for Counselling Services for all students, and we are working on it. You will be able to visit the portal and book an appointment with the counsellors. We have also added the functionality wherein you can inform us about anyone facing some problems.
The campus community looks to BSW for being vocal about mental health issues. What is BSW doing now for this and what more can we expect in the future?
I have already mentioned initiatives like creating an SCS portal for mental health issues where you can book an appointment and seek help. Also, as I said, we are working on the creation of support groups. We also have Your Dost, which you can access now. In addition to that, we will be organizing some initiatives and workshops, and we will be giving training to some specific people who will be the ambassadors for mental health. There will be events like the one we had for suicide prevention last week where a poem was released, and we did an AMA with a psychologist, where students discussed their problems. We also had a series on interns. It aimed to reduce the anxiety and tension people have regarding interns, give them confidence, and reinforce that it’s not a big deal. I want to highlight that “Mental health will be the key priority of BSW as it has always been”.
A lot of people are interested in going for masters(like MBA/MS) and doing research but they find it difficult to find alumni who have done the same. What is BSW doing to help these people connect with alumni who have pursued these interests?
We are working towards alumni mentorship at this point, and alumni mentorship will also involve people who have gone for masters. It will be one-on-one mentoring done by the alumni of this college who have done good in a particular field. While for people interested in going for MBA in India, we hold mock CAT interviews aimed at helping them prepare for their interviews. We bring in current students and the alumni of IIMs who then personally mentor CAT aspirants and help them prepare.
Is there any scope of an offline Speranza this year?
We are excited about Speranza, and we would love to have it in offline mode. It will depend a lot on the situation and the authorities as it is essential to ensure that the situation is safe and conducive.
In your manifesto, you have given a lot of emphasis on the training of reps. Why do you think it is needed and what are the initiates that you will bring for this?
Representatives are the first point of contact for the freshers. As we all know, Freshers are the ones who need the most help when they come to college; they are the most vulnerable. So, training the reps is essential as they have a significant influence on the freshers since they interact and advise them on many important matters. We must come together as a board to create a strong foundation for the freshers and help them thrive and enjoy college life. We are working towards it; we have already had a session with the previous team and with seniors who had experience working in the Board, interacting with the freshers, and solving their problems. They shared their experiences of handling circumstances in different settings. Before the freshers arrive, we are looking forward to having a formal session with a professional. One training session will also be done by SCS so that the reps know what is to be done if any student faces a serious problem.
Any final message to our audience?
Firstly about BSW, we are a student body dedicated to your welfare, which essentially means that we are also accountable to all of you. So, reach out to us; we are always available for all of you and pitch in your suggestions about anything you want us to do or anything you would like us to improve. We will put in all our resources to ensure that we can make it happen. We have an outstanding team, and we make sure that everyone is sensitised enough to deal with all kinds of situations. You can contact anyone inside the board at any time, and we’ll make sure your concerns are adequately addressed.
Finally, I would say cherish every moment here and make a lot of friends and memories.
You can find his manifesto here
Interview by: Tushar Srivastava