Students’ Welfare Secretaries

This year, two new posts are being introduced in the Gymkhana Elections for Students’ Welfare Secretary – Academic Help Subcommittee and Community & Crisis Subcommittee. For the final article of the mini-series, we talked to Aditi Singhania and Nikhil Kumar, Officiating General Secretary Students’ Welfare. Do read the article to know about the positions and the responsibilities that come with them.

As the name suggests, the Academic Help Subcommittee Secretary will be looking after the domains or the problems related to academia. As a student of IIT KGP, you have certain doubts related to minor, you’re unable to cope with some things, you need some information from the Institute like what all websites have free via-Institute access or suppose you want some free access to Coursera or any other platform. The Secretary’s role is to collect all of this information and to take the opinion of the Hall General Secretaries about things related to the academic problems, brainstorm solutions along with others, and then make a draft and pass it on.

In Community & Crisis, there are a lot of aspects one needs to work upon. There are majorly two problems in the online semester: academic pressure and poor social life. But earlier, there were many more, for example, internet addiction, relationship issues, having a tough time because their friends are not respecting them or they are not getting the kind of friends they wanted, someone does not like their department, or someone is not able to share their feelings with anyone due to their gender identity, and ultimately they fall prey to depression. All these things come under the Community & Crisis where the Secretary has to ensure the emotional well-being of the people via seminars, workshops, etc., or by coordinating with the Counselling Centre.

The two secretary positions are not very different; they work hand in hand, especially in the online semester. Let’s take a basic example that if somebody has an issue that their assignment is not getting completed, then the Academic Help Secretary will verify if it’s true or how are others coping up with it, and the Community & Crisis Secretary will try to help them further. The secretaries would also be looking after the events of SWG and IWG to ensure that they are appropriately organized, and organize other required activities like Internship Bootcamp, Mental Well Being Sessions, etc.

Advice to contestants: Students’ welfare requires a bit of flexibility because it’s not fixed that you have to organize Open IIT or Inter IIT, and there is no such fixed time for your work. Anytime, anybody can approach you, and you have to be sensitive while responding to them. The primary motive of any person contesting for such positions should be to work selflessly for the betterment of the KGP community. They should have some eagerness to help others and put others before themselves. If you feel you have a sense of responsibility, empathy for people, and you’re willing to invest time in their well-being, then do consider yourself for this post. The workload of the Secretary would be less and is manageable. Yes, you will be rewarded for your efforts, your technical communications skills will improve too. But do not opt for it just for the benefits and POR because, especially for Students’ Welfare, you will always struggle if you come only for the sake of a POR, and you will never justify this post or yourself.

Advice to voters: The student community should be conscious while electing the Students’ Welfare Gsec or Students’ Welfare Secy. Ultimately, you want to vote for somebody who is actually concerned for the students’ well-being and is not just looking to benefit personally by being a member of the Gymkhana. You should be especially careful while electing the General Secretaries because there’s no one to train them or guide them. If the GSec is good, they can also train the secretaries well. For the post of secretary, you should look for a sense of responsibility, sensitivity towards issues and ability to manage things.