Hostel Culture and the lack of it

[The article was originally written for JungleTales, the previous semester]

Each hostel in this institute has a unique culture. This culture transpires to promote the hostel to various successes- be it GCs, PAF or insti elections. We all know that freshie hostels generally have a great culture because of the presence of freshies. Among the non-freshie hostels too, some hostels have more enthu than other hostels.

I personally believe that hostel culture is imbibed in the hostel inmates by:
a- The hostel seniors
b- The hostel council

Now, this presents an interesting scenario. What if, the lack of enthu in a hostel is the cause of hostel council posts going unopposed and/or even uncontested entirely in some cases? This may result in inferior candidates getting elected and an incompetent and uninspired council being constituted. Now, because the council itself is uninspired, the transfer of enthu from the council to the hostel mates is non-existent.

Isn’t this something that we’ve witnessed in H8 in recent years? Now, I’m not saying that the council is doing a bad job, far from it; in fact I feel that most members of the current council are doing the best that they can. My grouse lies with the fact that posts are going vacant. 2 years ago, in my sophie year, there was not a single post among all the secy posts, that was contested. The joke doing the rounds was that each post has lesser than equal to number of people applying as are the no. of positions in that post. Last year, the problem moved up one rung of the ladder. We did not have any people applying for the Cult. and Sports Councillors. Eventually Ronak became Cult co. but the position of sports co. went vacant. The problem was exacerbated and eventually a council of 4 people had to be formed to carry out the duties of the sports co. Now, this year, for quite some time confusion abounded as to whether anyone was going to contest for post of hostel General Secretary at all. Competition for the post of cos. looks bleak this year as well. Compare this to a scenario in H9 where 4 people are going for hostel G. Sec. My simple question is- have hostel council posts lost all relevance and importance in H8? Any individual can learn an insane amount of skills through the experiences that any hostel post will bring- right from a secy to a G.Sec. Or is it just down to the fact that we have a smaller population than other hostels? Personally, I believe it is the former. People feel that they have nothing to gain from taking up a hostel council post, that the job is repetitive and mundane. I personally feel that any responsibility that any individual takes up, however small or however lowly it may seem from afar, if approached with enthu and sincerity, can do wonders to improve the skill set of that individual. I may be wrong, and it may just be a phase that H8 is going through- a lean period before a glut. But the lack of appetite to do something for the hostel is quite apparent. This article is not written to point fingers at anyone, rather it is written with the sincere hope that sophies and freshies coming to H8 read this, and realise all that they have to gain by contributing to their hostel’s development and do something about it.

Archit Kejriwal

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2 thoughts on “Hostel Culture and the lack of it

  1. rahulpramod

    Disclaimer: Many views below form a critique on the council’s point of view. I am not referring to any current council member.

    Here lies the challenge and the opportunity for the Councillors and Gsec.
    Central to the development of a good breed of juniors lies the idea of exemplary action. I remember PAF days during my freshie year where many of H8’s seniors gave their hearts and energy out for PAF. Though I latter came to know that night outs and stuff are common in PAF, I still can appreciate the way that particular year PAF where my seniors led from front in all aspects concerned.

    Fast forward 1 year, I see myself as a Co and in a council that imbibed that feel of exemplary action. I strongly believed in being an exemplar and not just one senior who passed out orders to other secy’s and sophies. For me this is the best way to get work done and more importantly, it inspires the current freshies/ sophies/thirdies to go on to be a great secy/Co/Gsec.

    Here the word “great” is important. The interest should be just as the one we have during our MI/TF cordie/CG tenure. Why is that commitment missing in some hostel post work?
    We downplay the post. We believe ourselves to be too qualified and big to do something so mundane. We don’t care setting great goals, something which we easily set while being involved with IB.
    As a Horizon’s cordie, people make great efforts to get some awesome artists. As a manager, people set bigger goals and strive extremely hard for it. Unfortunately, hostel council members -Co’s/secy’s rarely set such big goals. “Our mess should be the best in the insti, we should be among the top 3/5 in Cult/sports GC standings, Our maintenance facilities and responsiveness to problems should be the best in IITB, By year end at least 10 new people will be dancing/ debating/doing some PFA stuff etc”. These are and should be the goals council should set for themselves. Though small but a lasting impact on the way hostel life exists. I don’t expect this from Sept but at least by mid-Oct a vision should be there. And of-course, no vision is realized without efforts.

    Why does a council member need to do all this? It is supposed to barely matter for placements/interns right? Well it boils down to those very words we say during our CG interviews/ SOP boxes etc. “We wish to improve ourselves as a person. We want to create that lasting impact in the area of work both to ourselves and to the system involved- MI/TF/H8” Create that impact and you will have all that to talk in your intern/ placement interview. Your hostel post will be no less than an insti post. If only you give the value it deserves.
    .

    Reply
  2. saurabh suryavanshi

    One thing I would like to point out is that most of the points mentioned here are not only related to hostel 8. Through my interaction with G Secs of other hostel, I know that every hostel is facing almost the same problems in different amounts. The problem of less opposition for hostel post’s was acute last year.
    We quantify enthu is terms of hostel participation and points we gather in GCs.This requires two things:
    1. Experience and guidance
    2. Talent
    We do not have control over the talent that comes in our hostel. I am happy to see that our hostel has decent number of talented people in different genres, so this is not an issue.
    The first point was about experience and guidance. Nurturing new talent is the responsibility of council as well as hostel seniors. Seniors are more than willing to share talent and help others. There has to be some amount of initiative on the part of juniors as well. This issue is critical as we have small population and hence sample is small for each genre.

    Reply

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