Acknowledgement: I would like to thank Sravan Kumar for giving his valuable time, for the creation of this article.
Q) What is SMP?
SMP, an acronym for Student Mentorship Program, is an innovative initiative by students of BPHC. It provides a platform for experienced students, known as mentors to impart knowledge and skills on topics they are proficient in , to any student interested in that topic . The program has faced a few difficulties in previous semesters which it wants to rectify this semester.
Q) What is the main aim of the SMP?
The SMP’s main aim is to train and increase the overall skills and technical knowhow of the students thereby improving the level of campus culture in BPHC. In other words, imagine a way to learn programming languages like R, improve your oratory skills or photography, or even get clarification on financial terms like stocks and brokers. The SMP allows you to do so.
Q) How are sessions of SMP conducted? Who can attend them?
Students willing to be mentors contact the SMP association. The individuals also have to show their credentials and experience on the topic which they want to teach. If selected, the timing and place of the session is announced, both on Facebook and the SWD portal. Any interested student can go to a session to learn. Do note that there is no fee to attend these sessions.
Q) What were the problems faced by the in the previous semesters?
Due to introducing more than thirty different sessions on various topics the aim of the SMP was diluted. Many of the sessions were not taught properly and did not continue after 2-3 classes.
Q) What are the future plans of the SMP?
The SMP is planning to launch a website in a fortnight from the time of publication of this article. For this purpose, they have been granted a campus server by Prof. S S Deshmukh. The SMP also plans to host research talks after ATMOS’15 and select a faculty in-charge to oversee SMP.
The SMP is an innovative idea which has faced and overcome its initial hurdles. It is slowly taking shape as a proper organization, but it still has deficiencies that need to be fixed.
Chief among them is lack of publicity and knowledge of the program among the students, especially among 2015 batch. This needs to be corrected, as the continued functioning of SMP and the complete rationality of the program is entirely dependent on the presence of the students in these sessions. If there is lack of participation, the mentors will not be motivated enough to continue with their sessions and the whole structure would collapse.
Secondly, proper motivation for mentor to conduct sessions may not always be there. To this effect, the SMP plans to introduce certificates for both mentors and mentees in the future.
The SMP Association is independent of both the Student’s Union and the Student Welfare Division. The SMP does not have any source of revenue or funding, which means all the efforts of its members is completely voluntary. However it may require funding for its future plans. Regardless of how it pans out, the main selling point of SMP is that its sessions are free and this must be safeguarded.
Currently the SMP association has no elections, which is expected as it is in its initial stages. However if the program continues to grow, to increase accountability, a system of inductions to the association should be introduced in the future. The proposal to get a faculty in-charge is a step in the right direction in this regard.
Due to the hard work of the people associated with SMP, it has grown by leaps and bounds. So if the cards are played properly, SMP may just become the next big thing on campus.