The TDB Soapbox

A mostly unbiased look at what works – and what doesn’t – in the future plans of our leading SU members.

NOTE: The following review is long. So bear with us. Also, it requires you to refer to the manifesto of the President and the manifesto of the General Secretary of our Student Union for the 2014-2015 session. All opinions expressed are solely those of the authors of the article. If any reader is inclined to take any/all harmless jokes as a personal slight, we refuse all responsibility and encourage them to assume that it implies we abhor their very existence on the face of this planet (because obviously, a sense of humour in an article is unheard of. Absolutely.)


THE PRESIDENT

  1. The Good: Accountability and transparency is desired in just about anybody running anything in the college, really. It is always possible that this 6th claim, will be the charm.
    The Bad: Every SU so far has promised something like this, sharing of documented proof included, but the act never came to pass. One can only hope they have taken note how inconvenient regular physical presence of SU members in SU room has proved, in the past.
    The Ugly: TDB headline 2050 reads – “42nd President presents manifesto; promises accountable and transparent SU, again.”
  1. The Good: Undoubtedly one of the key aspects of the manifesto for students struggling during the transition from college to real world. Internships give us real world experience, and a dedicated portal allowing juniors and seniors to connect, would help improve the state of things. Especially in the case of research internships, which could certainly use a boost.
    The Bad: A body for industrial internships exists already. The SU undoubtedly wishes to avoid stepping on the Placement Division’s toes – remember, they are the people who get us jobs – so here’s hoping the SU treads carefully. If the reference was to research internships, though, the good stays untarnished.
    The Ugly: TDB headline 2050 reads – “SU takes over administration; BITS renamed to SUITS (Students’ Union Institute of Technology and Science) ”
  1. The Good: Possibly the most hammered topic at our President’s Soapbox stint. Since a good coding culture is vital to most of the top firms that visit campus, one can see why it was picked for focus. A good coding background is always an advantage, especially with firms gearing up to recruit through coding contests.
    The Bad: The line comes off a little vague and comes under fire on two counts: first, the existing bodies like CRUx, CSA, SMP, etc. need to be persuaded to contribute. They already are trying to develop coding – possibly a merging of ideas is in order?
    Secondly, the other branches probably have more need to develop their technical sides. Core jobs are hard to come by anyway, and diverting even more focus towards coding jobs does not feel very fair (#bitterCivilStudent).
    The Ugly: TDB headline 2050 reads – “President promotes road developing culture; CS students look for alternative jobs, considering poor placement season.”
  1. The Good: While this does happen sometimes already, an official statement is exactly what is necessary to encourage participation and give the reimbursement system a boost.
    The Bad: Nothing much – just the suggestion that in the event that funds are available, extending the reimbursements to participants (and not just winners) for at least the top 2-3 fests might be a nice gesture.
    The Ugly: TDB headline 2050 reads – “SU deducts 300Rs from the mess account of every student; reimburses Amba Malla Reddy College fest winners”
  1. The Good: This frees the societies from administrative paperwork, while also ensuring that a documentation is maintained and random bunches of people do not run riot. (Consider the scenario where a society for each and every species of birds takes up all rooms in the acad block in the same evening.)
    The Bad: If the committee were to have any authority over the societies, however, that could curb the unrestricted trading of ideas and knowledge that was behind the inception of societies. Societies should remain autonomous in deciding what degree of formality they wish to adhere to.
    The Ugly: TDB headline 2050 reads – “Sceliphron destillatorius lovers’ society approved as the 1500th society by the committee; SU describes it a milestone in the history of BPHC.”
  1. The Good: Allowing provisions exclusively for the hospitality of honoured artists who visit the campus can only pave the way to happier celebrities and rave reviews for our events.
    The Bad: The Department must work in close collaboration with DoSM, who will be handling all their money (it’s always about the money, innit?). A political faceoff between these two department appears the only blip on the horizon for this plan.
    The Ugly: TDB headline 2050 reads – “StuCCANs of DoPN and DoSM faceoff in GBM; SU follows first rule of Fight Club”
  1. The Good: The ability to reflect on our achievements is always welcome. Documenting technical aspects of the event also forms a knowledge base for teams participating in other similar events in the future.
    The Bad: Who? And where? The details of these plans need to be worked out – primarily the concerns over who will do all the work, and how the documentation will be stored.
    The Ugly: TDB headline 2050 reads – “President of Phoenix Department sacked for maintaining a mere 18000-page document; students furious over poor documentation”
  1. The Good: Tying up with local colleges is an undeniable publicity boost to Arena. We also get to maintain good relations and participate more ourselves, thus improving our sporting culture. What’s not to love?
    The Bad: This should not be imposed upon sports teams, however. The final decision of whether or not to participate in a particular event should lie with the team itself. Also, we already have the Campus Ambassador program – the two should either be fused or clearly demarcated to avoid redundancy.
    The Ugly: TDB headline 2050 reads – “SU sends delegation to sports fest of Raja Ram Reddy Mohanbabu College of Engineering; girls’ basketball team continue their losing streak.”
  1. The Good: An international Pearl. We need not elaborate on just how glamorous and amazing that makes our campus sound.
    The Bad: Reality. This is a really long shot and it would take an insane amount of efforts to get international performers interested and willing to come all the way here – that too at a manageable price. Wolfmother, for instance, generated a lot of buzz, but was also a strain on our resources. If it works out, however, we promise to be the first to scream and jump about like triumphant lunatics.
    The Ugly: TDB headline 2050 reads – “U.S President dances to “Baby Doll” at a retro Pearl; mess accounts emptied to  fund his travel”
  1. The Good: This is a great point. We love it.
    The Bad: Nothing, really.
    The Ugly: TDB headline 2050… Eh, no. We like to give credit where it’s due.
  1. The Good: We can finally call Pearl a national festival in the true sense, if this happens. Regional rounds encourage participation from the most surprising distant locations (seriously. Ask the VM organisers.)
    The Bad: The resources. The funds are the prime issue, followed by who does the legwork – that too in the vacations. The regions with less number of (or more lazy) students from BITS will either get ignored or have a handful of people working like mules (Ask the VM organisers – again.)
    The Ugly: TDB headline 2050 reads – “Lone student organiser buried under stampede of participants at Pearl Regional Rounds: Cherrapunji Chapter”
  1. The Good: This is a great idea. It gives Pearl a great, humanitarian image, which not only makes everyone feel awesome and helps save the world and all that, it also generates a lot of interest from companies and media.
    The Bad: Interest from campus. Arranging an amazing event and having five people turn up will be a major letdown. We do not want a reprise of the Windows Appfest. But this is too good an idea to trash for that reason, so in the author’s (very humble) opinion, publicity should go into overdrive and ensure this works.
    The Ugly: TDB headline 2050 reads – “A couple stumbles into ‘Save Male Child campaign’ by accident; organisers rejoice over turnout of two.”

THE GENERAL SECRETARY

  1. The Good: It’s no secret that publicity and promotion of the college fests, be it within or beyond the campus walls, have been close to pitiful over the past couple of years. While Arena 2014 maybe a glimmer in the past, the festivals of BPHC deserve a bigger laud; media relations more so. After the debacle of the social fest ‘Ignite’ cited as a technical fest in a leading daily, much evident during the Soapbox of the General Secretary, BITS Media is an initiative to prevent such erroneous descriptions, serving as a direct channel between the college and the media.
    The Bad: Every election sees its share of new committees and governing bodies being created, and eventually turning redundant or destroyed in political ambitions. At first, BITS Media looks to be a harmless venture for the greater good, but the new addition will need its share of respect and awe from the campus, thus deciding its sustainability.
    The Ugly: TDB headline 2050 reads – “Furore over BITS Media publishing photos of couples on campus; students suspect aid from Bajrang Dal
  1. The Good: A noble thought to uphold the legacy of each club, the General Secretary has recognized that a club unites beyond interests and their love (Louuuuuuu! <3) prevails, beyond time. Shaping memories and cementing them was always welcome.
    The Bad: Space. And Time. Two things that even Einstein went gaga over. While photographic or video record is best demonstrated by the Photography club or the VFX club,a nod to spend their time for this library is impending, space happens to be a major concern too. A messy bunch of papers that go yellow with time, requiring loads of physical occupancy, or terabytes of hardware that never came cheap; the SU will have to make a choice.
    The Ugly: TDB headline 2050 reads – “Nostalgic Clubs record 10000000TB of memories, demand hard disks and papers from SU. Total cost exceeds Pearl’s budget.”
  1. The Good: They are the real deal, far beyond the fuss of maintaining a structure, and meant for the entire campus junta, alike. Bestowing a purpose will lead them in the appropriate direction. A spot in the fest will seal their presence on campus, assuring that similar interest groups emerge to oppose the current campus laziness.
    The Bad: Money matters. And obtaining it from the SU is easier said than done. Events require monetary help and so do invitations. Demanding societies to enhance productivity can defeat the purpose of their initiation. New and young as they are, societies need moulding. These waters are tricky.
    The Ugly: TDB headline 2050 reads – “Insect lovers’ society demands cockroaches over money; aim for an exhibition during ATMOS. Paper presentation on the same is due.”
  1. The Good: Inter-hostel rivalry, an excuse to pit the noob inexperienced juniors against their fantastic and marvelous seniors, intents to nudge clubs to focus on nurturing talent. Culture breeding is undeniable, and of course, the clubs are responsible for it. What better way than competitions?
    The Bad: While most signature events during Pearl happen to be the popular ones too, each of the events requires a club to invest time and money, often reaching maximum potentials. A reiteration of the same would be the albatross on an already overworked institution.
    The Ugly: TDB headline 2050 reads – “Clubs conduct every event during Inter-Bhavan Cultural Night; SU announces Inter-Bhavan Cultural Night as the official cultural fest, and declares Pearl as redundant.”
  1. The Good: A proposed solution to a dilemma that rises every year, and is inevitable, this can come as a relief to the “I-was-amazing-how-can-you-not-select-me” peeps. An induction is an embodiment of interest coupled with enthusiasm, which the General Secretary tries to retain beyond rejection.
    The Bad: The induction feedback procedure works well on paper, but the real time data can strife the entire purpose of the mechanism. Clubs with large participations, often crossing a hundred, will face a difficult time post inductions as well. Instead, a feedback-on-demand would serve as a better option (with a club having no right to deny a constructive feedback, if demanded within a week or so of the results), instead of a separate mechanism altogether.
    The Ugly: TDB headline 2050 reads – “Large participation sees Induction Feedback procedure extend beyond 4 years; students receive feedback through Alumni Club”
  1. The Good: The 6th point of the manifesto of the 6th General Secretary of BPHC surely ends on a high note. Competitiveness is where we lack, and this hits the right tune. The fuzziness of logistics will be well taken care off, reducing strain on the participants, allowing them to focus better on their game or event.
    The Bad: The bad was a tad difficult to notice, but an added suggestion would be to include non-club members and their dilemmas of similar nature be settled by the FCC. The functioning and maintenance of the committee will be a challenge, but good things have always come at a price.
    The Ugly: TDB headline 2050 reads – “Indian Railways ban students travelling from BPHC, states that reservations are not meant for BITSians”.


Sagar Shah
and
Reeti Sarkar.

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2 thoughts on “The TDB Soapbox

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