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'Not me, But you' – a report on “We, the volunteers”

The phrase “Room number 320”, is enough to ring a bell in the minds of every NSS volunteer of AC Tech, Anna University. It was right to expect the organisers to be there, and catch them for a small talk on their upcoming workshop, scheduled to happen this March 2nd and 3rd.  A workshop on NSS? Now that is something no one has ever heard of before. ‘We-The Volunteers’ is the first of its kind in the state and has therefore drawn a lot of attention. AC Tech has joined hands with Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development (RGNIYD),  Sriperumbudur to organise this two-day state level workshop on ‘Empowerment of Volunteerism’.

Abdul Bayas, cultural secretary (3rd year, Leather technology), Mohammed Siddiq S., Treasurer (3rd year, Industrial Biotechnology) and Thirumeni, Vice President (3rd year, Pharmaceutical Technology) briefed us about the happenings of their workshop.  

1. What sparked the idea of organising such a mega event?

Once we get to our 3rd year, we are given responsibilities of organising our own department symposiums. This is exactly why we started thinking of the idea of a similar event for NSS. The idea was put forth by our student-friendly NSS program officer, Mrs. Nandini Devi. This workshop was initially scheduled for the month of December, but had to be postponed on account of the state affair!

2. When did you all start your work on this event?

We were ready to start planning this event right from December of 2016 but due to the cyclone, we had to bring the planning to a halt. We officially commenced our work from January. Our works ranged right from inviting guests, speakers, inviting various colleges across Tamil Nadu, to fixing accommodation places and preparing posters. 

3. How did the name "We-The volunteers" come up? Who suggested it?

This was to commemorate our oneness when it comes to NSS. It is referred to as "Naam" in Tamil and therefore we literally translated it to form our workshop's name. Our team work has yet again proved fruitful when we look back at the amount of effort that has gone into the happening of this event.

4. How well have the other colleges responded to your invite?

Initially when the invites were sent, the response was pretty slow and only a few registered. But it was near the closing date for registering, when there was an exponential increase in the number of participants who registered. We still have people calling up, to register for the workshop. This goes on to show the amount of interest shown by NSS volunteers across TN.

5. Approximately how many volunteers have registered for this workshop?

We have approximately 250 participants from other colleges who have enrolled for our workshop and about 250 participants from our university. So roughly 500 participants on the whole will witness the event.

6. Was there any criticism from various sources when this event was first proposed?

We don’t really have any history of criticism for this workshop. Almost all sources concerned, have only encouraged us to do it and want us to do them proud! We'll see to keeping up with their expectation. Although it is said that constructive criticism is an advantage, we are a testimony to the controversy. Pure motivation can bring the best out of us, in fact, in a way much better way than criticism ever could!

Our beloved Dean, Dr. S. Sivanesan, has supported us right from the approval of the mere idea to making it happen for real. On this note, we definitely have to mention our NSS Regional coordinator (for TN and Andaman and Nicobar islands), Mr. Samuel Chelliah C. for showing us constant support and for readily approving the idea at the first place.

7. With the workshop nearing, how much pressure has been built up on your team?

Oh! The pressure is definitely shooting up, as we try to align the various teams into perfect sync. The various teams are the Hospitality team (registration desk, accommodation team, food supplies, welcome team), the cultural team, the Masters of ceremonies (MCs), the organizers (office bearers of the 3rd years), the senior volunteers (2nd years) and other fresher volunteers (1st years). So bringing about coordination is of crucial need at the moment and it seems to work out. The best stress-buster we could ever ask for is definitely our Nandini ma'am. And we are proud of that.

8. What is special about NSS A.C.Tech?

First thing's first, our unity is something that never lets us down. It shows us a class apart. People look at us and immediately ask "A.C.Tech right? “. It has a lot of advantages when it comes to such big events. Participants can easily seek help from any volunteer in white. It makes us easily identifiable. The second aspect that adds another feather to our hat is our badge. This might seem usual, but we have a set of rules to which we abide, for generations to come. The NSS clap (three consecutive claps done thrice) is something we always do at the end of a meet or to appreciate someone. We had gone unrecognised for a while and it was only recently when we banked three awards, did we start gaining back our popularity. The special aspect of our NSS is definitely our workshop. We the NSS volunteers of A.C.Tech take up WE-The Volunteers workshop as a big platform to showcase our talents and to let other volunteers get empowered through the lectures. Now people will know that NSS is not just what it used to be. It is something more!                                                                                                

 "WE Hope you all have a fruitful time at WE!"

It was fascinating to see them rushing back to room 320 to make the final arrangements for their event. They wouldn't be too hard to spot in  those two days. Just look out for white-on-white lasses and white-on-black lads, their unity being their main strength!

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