Saarang, IIT-M’s cultural fest, is going beyond its usual activities. This year, social outreach programmes will be a prime feature.

There is one word that is often synonymous with cultural extravaganza, overdose of talent and stupendous fun. Every year, the campus of IIT Madras comes alive, welcoming students from around the country for its four-day cultural festival, Saarang. With every possible talent hunt happening side by side, there is always something on offer for everybody on the 600-acre campus. This year we are trying to do something different.

To most students inside IIT-M, the word ‘Eunoia’ meant nothing until very recently. If one were to look it up, one would learn that it is the shortest English word with all five vowels meaning ‘beautiful thinking’. Though, today, Eunoia has a new definition for students here. It is one of social work, lending a helping hand and making a difference where it counts.

Saarang Eunoia, 2012, is the umbrella term for all social outreach programmes. They have partnered with Teach for India, Smile Foundation, Make A Difference and Milaap, amongst others, to ensure that the largest number of people benefit from the idea.

Buliding dreams

Under the project ‘Building Dreams’, Saarang sends out teams of co-ordinators from the college’s official cultural clubs to two Eureka Child (an AID India initiative) schools to coach children on speaking , dramatics and western music for three hours, every weekend. Having adopted two centres, in Kotturpuram and Triplicane, these coordinators will rotate the activities amongst themselves to ensure that the students are able to benefit from all the activities offered by IIT-M.

“When the show ends at 6 p.m., we are as reluctant to let go as they are to let us leave,” says Navyata Sanghvi, Saarang coordinator. “We learn as much from them as they do from us, if not more! We are left in awe of their cheer and positive energy and we find that there is much to thank them for,” she adds.

In the words of Soham Chokshi, head of public relations, Saarang 2013, “Through Eunoia, we aim to be socially inclusive for the benefit of those who have been excluded. We are looking to make an impact across all walks of life. We are trying to set an example by becoming the first to start a norm in this country.”

Big Plans

The event coordinators, Siddharth Daga and Jerin Mathew, have big plans for the event. “Eunoia gives coordinators a chance to add more substance to their post. Every one associated with Building Dreams has enjoyed the experience. It proved to be the perfect collaboration between the PR team who found the suitable location and the events team which provided the manpower.”

This year may be the first time the Saarang team will be going all out with a social outreach programme. But every coordinator, irrespective of the department, seems to be fully appreciative of the effort.

All students, associated with the event, are gladly contributing their time to give back to society. Everyone who has had the experience vouches that the returns are rich. From the frivolous picture opportunity to the much more important social responsibility and soul satisfaction, Saarang, 2012, promises to give it all!

The writer is a student of Humanities at IIT-Madras.