"CTF it is!" my friend exclaimed over the phone, leaving me puzzled. I had not yet explored this part of the campus and hence it took me quite some time to reach the CEG Tech Forum. After our brief introductions, we had the opportunity to meet two of the four core members of the Hospitality team of Kurukshetra (K!). Here’s an excerpt from an interesting conversation with final year students Divya Barathy, from the Computer Science Department and Padmaashri, from the Biomedical Department.
1. What qualities define the members of the hospitality team?
The utmost quality one should possess is patience. One must be willing to tackle different kinds of people in a calm and composed way. In addition, good inter-personal skills and flexibility to handle tasks on the day of event is extremely important. For instance, it’s often mayhem at the registration desk, so being organized and using your time management skills can be very helpful.
2. What is the most challenging part of working in the Hospitality team?
Managing the crowd on the day of k! is our team’s primary focus, and planning for it is therefore the most challenging part. Every year we plan to do this differently. This year we have made the stall arrangements in a better way to tackle the strenuous situation that we normally face. Let’s hope it will be a success!
3. What are the new ideas/significant features added this year?
Our success is the result of putting together this big event right from scratch and being satisfied with our output. We have introduced ‘Neon run’, an initiative for spreading awareness about the need of education for underprivileged children.
For drone fanatics, we have organized India’s second Drone Racing event. Moreover, we have chosen a theme to fight Climate Change. We are also glad that we finally received an ISO certification this year.
4. How do you plan to tackle unprecedented events during K!?
We have everything planned to the T, so we are confident that there won’t be any mistakes in our execution. Therefore, we haven't made any backup plans to aid us. Instead we have strengthened our existing plans for better outcomes.
5. Can you explain how the students of CEG have contributed to the team?
Our biggest strength lies with the help we receive from the first year students, who we encourage to actively participate. This could be an opportunity for them to gain experience and learn the process as they can interact with many participants. Kurukshetra is one of the events where the freshers have loads of activities to be involved in.
The second-years are mostly involved in overseeing and executing the action plan. The third-years are in charge of implementing and delegating duties. The final years act as the advising board for a peaceful milieu.
6. How did you manage time between your studies and organizing this work load?
We have been waiting to answer this question! First of all, we think we should clear the general misconception that managing time for a final year student is easy. It isn't! Even though the work we have is primarily based on our project and there are no classes, we still need to put in time and effort to complete it successfully. "I mostly do my project and Kurukshetra work side-by-side in this very room" says Divya Barathy. Once you've put a schedule to finish your work and abide by it sincerely, multitasking isn't completely impossible.
7. How would you manage stress as the date of an event draws near?
As the hospitality team prepares to start only on the day of the event, the work pressure is distributed between all the volunteers depending on their experience. We make sure to check our prior mistakes and arrange our duties systematically. Time management had proved to play a major role every year for the smooth run of the event and to have an enjoyable day.
8. Were there any privacy issues when your contact information were put up on the k! website?
Without a moment of doubt or gazing upon each other they claimed, “No! Not at all.” We are carefree when it comes to such issues. K! keeps us safe and sound.
9. What is your take-away from the experience gained by working in the Hospitality Team?
Divya Barathy - I did not really take part in K! during my first year of college but participated actively in my second year. I then became an event organizer in my third year, and here I am today!
Padmaashri - I stayed in the hospitality team right from my third year.
The reason behind telling you all this is that, although we all have dreams to become successful engineers, we spent time in k! because we knew that it will help us reach our dreams in a better way. We learnt that having presence of mind is of utmost importance while working in a big organization. This, we believe, will definitely help us in our work place in the future. We are reassured that we will shine brighter as k! has given us an in-depth administrative experience. This experience will also help us make the right decisions in shorter periods of time. It is therefore clear that the whole learning process at k! aids us to face the outside world that is both competitive and challenging.
10. "Together Everyone Achieves More" happens to be the apt expansion to the word TEAM. How is it working for you all?
The hospitality team has four heads and all of us were new to each other at the start. We learnt to stay together through thick and thin. In this process, we got to know each other very well. We are proud in claiming ourselves to be the best team in k!. We always adhered to the take-it-easy policy and that saved us in many situations. We also realized that the more we understood each other, the better our results were! We would just plan an outing if a disagreement sparks up and that is our silly yet effective way of being friendly colleagues. So yes, that expansion is apt for us too.
11. Is there anything else you would like all the first years to know about k! ?
Ah! Yes. We want our juniors to understand that books and marks aren't going to get you anywhere special in life. Experiences, like the ones you got in k!, are something that your books or the internet cannot teach you. Most students take those three days as holidays to enjoy and those from outside Chennai will pre-book their tickets to their hometowns. We request you to avoid doing that, as you have no idea of how much you will miss out on. We want all the students to get this behind-the-scenes experience so that they shine in the future and do us proud. We assure you a fun-filled and fruitful experience, working for k! and the hospitality team in specific.
Once the session concluded, we realized that they had already got back to work as we were packing up. Nevertheless, it was a different, informative and fun experience, talking to our seniors.