Q) Your manifesto makes it clear that you care deeply about extending the BSW’s focus to non-first year UG students as well as the PG section of IIT Delhi. How do you plan to do this?
My vision includes two main initiatives. The first is to set up a research mentorship program. We are thinking of connecting PG mentors to UG students so that they can give advice, help with research, and guide them. I’ve noticed that there is a huge disconnect between the UG and the PG at IITD, and I think that such a program will not only help UG students with research but also create a bridge between the UG and PG sections. Secondly, I felt that at the moment BSW focuses mainly on first-year students, and I wanted to change that. That’s why we are planning to organize an extensive career counselling initiative.
Q) Can you tell us more about this career counselling initiative? What will it entail and how do you plan to implement it in an online semester?
Instead of just having talks or seminars, we think that a varied program would be more helpful – we’re thinking about skill-building workshops, coding workshops, social networking workshops, one-on-one interactions with alumni, and so on.
To be honest, we had assumed that the second semester would be offline and planned accordingly. There are six events on the cards so far: a talk event, a one-on-one interaction, a competitive event, and two skill-building workshops. All these events can be conducted offline if the current situation doesn’t change, but I would certainly prefer to have them offline. But either way, students who sit for placements next December will be able to take advantage of our career conclave.
Q) Another point in your manifesto was that you would promote BSW representatives to organize hostel-level events like Parley With Minister. Could you clarify what you meant and what your motivation was?
People have this understanding that BSW Representative is an institute-level PoR. This is somewhat correct, but it leads to the belief that reps never do anything for their hostels, whereas BSW reps actually do a lot of hostel-level work under the Cultural Secretary. I wanted to clear this bias by giving the reps more visible hostel events, such as a Parley With Minister. There are many students at IITD who are interested in politics or governance, so in Parley With Minister we reach out to a minister and organize a session with them, for students to attend and ask questions.
Q) In the PG section of your manifesto, you’ve briefly mentioned that you’ll create a scholarship booklet. Could you elaborate on this?
After talking to a lot of PG students, I learnt that scholarships are one of the most important aspects of their time at IIT. There are multiple scholarships available for PG students, but the information about them is not really organized, so people just aren’t aware. This is why I want to make and release a short scholarship booklet containing the details of what scholarships are available, what are the eligibility criteria, how to apply and when. It won’t require a lot of effort but will be really helpful to the PG section.
Q) An interesting item on your agenda is the expansion of SCOOPS’ souvenir section to e-commerce platforms. Can you tell us more about this?
Most students don’t know this, but the IIT Delhi logo is the intellectual property of SCOOPS. You’ve seen those t-shirts going around with the IITD logo on them? It’s a harsh thing to say, but they’re illegal. People aren’t allowed to sell IITD shirts like that. Moreover, it’s a market that we’re missing out on. There are also many alumni who can’t come to IITD physically to buy mementoes. So we’ve started designing new articles to put on sale while we work out the logistics of selling souvenirs online. The logistics will definitely take time – figuring out the platform, the business model, the money flow etc.
Q) Your manifesto details setting up an advisory board for the BSW which consists of previous core members. Why did you feel the need for this board and how will it function?
When I was a BSW Secretary, I learnt that we do a lot of work, definitely, but we aren’t able to produce proportionate results because we make the same mistakes as last year’s secretaries. Advisory board is a fancy term, but we just want a communication line between this year’s team and last years’ teams. Right now, the new and old teams do meet in the beginning of the term, but not every piece of information can be transmitted. So I want to set up a constant communication channel, say, a WhatsApp group.
It would have been much more efficient when I was a Secretary if someone had been there to warn against impossible projects and tell us, “Don’t try this, these were the problems we faced, these are the arguments from admin, if you can answer these questions, go for it, but if not then don’t waste your energy.”
Kartikayan presents a broad manifesto, with agendas ranging from PG inclusion in BSW’s initiatives to improving career counselling at IITD to putting SCOOPS souvenirs online. He is undeniably concerned with solving as diverse and extensive a set of problems as possible on campus. Our conversation with him regarding his manifesto as Deputy General Secretary of BSW, Operations, brought up several interesting points.
1. As we see later in the interview also, this DGSec strongly believes in the need to connect the UG and PG sections. The research mentorship program seems like it could be very stimulating and helpful for both mentor and mentee once it’s implemented.
2. The career conclave certainly sounds like a daunting project, but it’s obvious that a lot of thought has been given to its execution. It would be a major hiccup if it were forced online, as it’s likely that that would much reduce the impact of the conclave.
3. It’s worth noting that this initiative has multiple benefits: not only does it bring useful events to students, but it also helps the perception of the BSW in IIT Delhi. This kind of efficiency of thought is definitely admirable.
4. This idea shows an attention to detail that is admirable, not to mention that it will have great benefits for the oft-overlooked PG section of IITD.
5. The idea of an e-commerce platform linked to SCOOPS is very exciting; there’s no student or alumnus of IITD who doesn’t want cool souvenirs from college. One can’t help but feel that if this idea is pulled off, then the extent of its success will definitely be something to marvel at. However, it’s a big ‘if’: the amount of work required by this initiative is formidable.
6. This initiative is very doable; like all the best innovations of efficiency, it’s a common-sense thought that will save a lot of people a lot of time and energy.
Link to Manifesto:
Interview by Anoushka Barthakur