Tech Talks: Winter Institute on Global Health
BITS Pilani Hyderabad Campus recently convened an international global health conference of immense significance on the theme ‘Adolescent Health’. The conference, which lasted over a period of eight days, brought together undergraduates and postgraduates – B.E, MSc., M.E, MBBS students – of diverse fields like Nursing, Medicine, Psychology, etc.
This joint initiative of BITS Pilani University and PACE University, partnered by the Apollo group of hospitals, also put forward an impressive panel of medical professionals and experts from the industry, who managed to still keep their talks simple. Suma Chinta, a second year MSc. (Hons.) Biology student tells us that the best part about the conference was the experience of working with different people and the exposure to latest research.
The conference was preceded by a preconference and field trips, and ended with 4 student research teams presenting their papers on modern issues like mobile addiction in teens, psychological effects of social networking, etc., with the test sample for study being a BITSian population. The best part seems to have been an informal field trip where- students and mentors- all destressed by catching a movie together. Now that’s something we’d like to see more of!
A Dip for the Worse
The temperature in the city took a sharp dip on the day of registrations, as it hit a record low of 10 degrees celsius. It was a pleasant change for those living up north, and a not-so-pleasant one for the locals. But in no way could this defeat the euphoria of being back on campus. People stepped out onto the roads, occupying their customary seats on footpaths and at Amul. Those most affected by the low temperatures on campus, however, seem to be the security personnel at the entrance of the girls’ bhawans who have to stay out all night. On being asked why they can’t move their stations indoors at night, the security woman (name witheld on request) said, “They didn’t want us to fall asleep and not do our jobs at night.”
Holiday Fests: Saarang and MoodI
A contingent of around 25 students from BPHC went to Mood Indigo, IIT Bombay, this December. Sadly, there was no participation from BPHC in MoodI. On being asked why, the CL Kaushal Raut says, “We went there only for the feel of the fest, but MoodI wasn’t as good as last year.” He clarified that this trip was not funded in any way by the newly formed Fest Connect Committee (FCC).
On a brighter note, Saarang, IIT Madras, saw a participation of close to 120 students from BPHC this year. The travelling costs were partially borne by the FCC. The participation of the contingent was refreshingly high with a few of the students returning to Hyderabad with prizes and rightfully earned admiration.
Stress Buster: Project Manamaali
A recent development on campus was the BITS-Stanford Collaboration on mental health of students. In a college where most students have no idea that a psychologist comes to campus for five hours every week (Dr. Smita Sharma), this is definitely something that should be considered. The Project Lead Nitya Kanuri seems to have left no stone unturned to publicize this initiative, even promising free pizza to attendees; that’s one hell of an incentive!
On being asked how the experience has been so far, she says, “It has been really amazing getting this conversation started among students. It feels like the right time to begin talking about this. Schools have become more receptive to the notion that mental health is as important as academic training.” They seem to be pretty clear on what they set out to achieve: free online mental health support that is private, more accessible, flexible and convenient.
PONGal & Sankranti – Festivities and Non-festivities
Regardless of the fact that students were returning after a long vacation, the first long weekend was still a welcome occasion. Some slept in after a long night of whatever-kids-these-days-do-at-night, whereas some had packed their bags and went home before the sun rays could hit the earth (that is, they left the night before).
And then there were the select few who woke up, bathed and came together for the morning prayer in their starched veshtis. Post-Pongal celebrations, the customary photograph was taken and all dispersed towards Stage 2 grounds and the Sankranti spirit – and an afternoon of high-flying kites ensued.