DTU Times interviewed the Student Association of Delhi Technological University –
Gaurav Gupta, President, DTU-SA, PIE, Class of 2019
Puneet Lamba, Vice President, DTU-SA, ME, Class of 2020
Rishav Sethi, General Secretary, DTU-SA, SE, Class of 2020
Ritick Ganrai, Joint Secretary, DTU-SA, ECE, Class of 2020
What is the main focus of the Student Association this year?
We will consider this year successful only when atleast 5 labs and workshops in each department will have new equipments and an updated list of experiments. There are around 13 departments which means our target is 65 Labs. Currently, students are able to get the reimbursement if they are performing some tests and experiments in the private labs. But, we plan to sign MOUs with various private labs stationed in Noida and Gurgaon, so that students of DTU can perform tests for their projects and research papers. We also plan to increase the intake of the student exchange programs of our university. By doing so we can help shape the mindsets of the youth of India and add value to our own University at the same time.
What will your approach be to work towards the welfare of the students studying in DTU?
We plan to change that way of approach in presenting issues in front of Hon’ble Vice Chancellor and administration. We have categorised our vision into two broad groups based on the type of work. The first category is the type of work which increases the comfort level of the students in DTU, and the second category is the type of work which will help DTU get an international rank and world recognition.
We have recruited our first set of DTU-SA volunteers who have been given a proper orientation regarding all of their responsibilities. For the first time in DTU, we are planning to bring in the concepts of ministries. This time we have set up ministries like the Ministry of Academic Reforms, Ministry of Student Welfare and so on. There will be a proper hierarchy that will be followed by the ministries.
What are the things that you have learnt from the previous SA and how do you plan to apply them this year?
From the previous Student Association, we have learnt that if all four of us will work united for the whole year, then efficiency and output will escalate. We plan to divide ourselves in specific fields like academic, sports, infrastructure etc.
The biggest change that has happened since the past few years of SA is that the association, for the first time, consists of three Third Year students and a Fourth Year student who are all hostellers. Now the perks of us being a hosteller is that if there is an incident that has happened in the college late at night, all four of us, being hostellers, can be present there at that particular time. Make no mistake, this doesn’t mean that the day scholars’ issues will be neglected, but in fact they will also be given due importance.
How does the DTU-SA plan to bridge the communication gap between the teachers and students?
To tackle this problem, this year we would be introducing an initiative known as the University Student’s Research Program (USRP). Many faculty members require the assistance of students for publishing their research papers and through this initiative, we plan to bridge the gap between students and teachers. We are also planning to start a mentorship program where the focus will mainly be on the senior – junior interaction. At the end of the day, juniors are most comfortable with their seniors, and the seniors are more than happy to help their juniors out.
Last year, the mentorship program was not done properly, groups were assigned and mentors were decided, but it didn’t move forward. What changes are going to be made this year?
Last time, the mentorship program was not official. No official notice was given and nothing was mentioned on paper at the administration. This year, we are planning to get the Hon’ble VC involved in this. We will be talking to him about this initiative – as soon as a junior steps foot in the college after his registration, one senior will be allotted to them based on their roll numbers. Lack of motivation was another problem that we faced last year. The seniors had the temporary motivation once we rolled out our Google form regarding the mentorship program, but later on the seniors were just not motivated enough to work for this initiative. We have thought about involving the Professors in this mentorship program, where they choose the students they see fit to be a mentor for the juniors. The juniors too should be given a choice to choose a senior who has excelled in a particular field. If the junior wants to be mentored for football and he has been appointed under a senior who is currently doing a research paper on a Mechanical Engineering subject, the junior would feel that his/her growth in the university is being hampered.
It is clear that B.Tech students are getting their representation, how is the DTU-SA working toward the development of DSM and M.Tech students?
We, as the SA, are responsible for all the students of DTU and to tackle communication gaps, we have planned to have coordinators for the M.Tech/Phd, B.Tech Evening and MBA batches as well as at the East Campus. Last year, there was just one coordinator for the MBA and M.Tech batches which led to a lot of hassle because they are from different field. This year we are trying to avoid such scenarios by having coordinators who will be present in meetings with the Hon’ble VC and will represent their respective courses.
Do you think this college politics is a sheer waste of time, or does something productive come out of it? Because DTU being an autonomous body, there is not much scope to move forward with a political background compared to DU.
It is nothing of that sort, actually. Scope remains the same everywhere if you do exceptionally well at that particular area. We can work in DTU and present our work as a model and then move forward deeper into politics later, but that’s not what we are thinking, as of now. DTU politics doesn’t work on money nor does it work on relationships and friendships, it solely works on issues and working collectively to find solutions for the issues. The CGPA to percentage conversion reform was brought about by the SA . The issue of travelling in the college was brought up last year, so the SA introduced OFO Cycles. We plan to restart this initiative by having a tie-up with some other company. This year we plan to open a new food joint and reintroduce the minor projects for all third years to ensure a smooth placement season. This is not a waste of time, we are learning a lot of new things while working for the students. While being a part of the SA you learn how the administration works, you gain leadership skills, you learn to create an impact in the college, learn how to manage the mindset of the people and motivate them to work. These skills will most definitely come in handy for the future, and when we come back to our University 20 years later, the feeling of making an impact on this ground would exceed much farther than just the scope of politics in DTU. Many SA members from the previous year were aiming for UPSC, and getting a thorough knowledge of the working of the administration provided them with a cutting edge. There are pros and cons of everything and politics also has cons for sure. For instance, our studies would be going on the back foot now, which is evident, but it doesn’t mean that we will be leaving whatever we started, we have a position of responsibility and we need to live up to that. We are learning how to manage our time between academics and work.
All of you have been a volunteers for the DTU-SA for 2-3 years, what drawbacks do you think the SA should focus on, personally?
Being in a technical college, we think the TechFest of our college should be improved upon a lot. We have been associated with some of tech societies of the University over the time we have been here, and with experience we can say that the events that happen during the TechFest of our college are not of a technical background at all. The most crowded gathering event during the TechFest last year was a fun event whereas there were a really small number of entries for the robowars and other such events with strong technical backgrounds. This year, a full fledged Technical Council will be established after going through all the procedures carefully, because a proper leadership is very much required to improve the TechFest of our university.
How will DTU-SA manage to maintain the balance between the Cultural Fest and the TechFest of the University?
The overall development is a must for every student. No one wants a nerd who only sits in front of the computer and codes his life away. We want all the students to enjoy all the fests equally and get exposure from them as well. The main point being that the students must ultimately become more career oriented. We want all the students to put a check on all their secondary activities like event management and other society work, and focus more on their academics. Accelerate the CGPA, do more and more projects etc., this will make sure that there is overall development of the students.
We currently have 3 fests which are purely for enjoyment and we just have one TechFest in our university, are we, as an engineering college, going wrong here?
Yes. Look, as the Student Association of DTU, our job is to listen to the problems faced by various councils and try to rectify them as soon as possible. Be it an on-ground problem or in the files or anything related to budgets. But our primary motive is to bring about academic reform in the college and improve the essentials of the university which are lagging behind. The TechFest of our university is seriously lagging behind, where there is a shortage of involvement from the students itself. Our job, as the SA, is to focus on bringing about a positive change in the TechFest. Yes, we are going wrong as a technical institute because the students are not able to prioritize their academics over the fests that we have in our university. Many students have backs in their subjects and have scored below average CGPAs just because they fail to prioritize their academics over these events. DTU-SA wants every student to do well in their academics by scoring good marks, doing projects under professors and do as many beneficial internships as possible.
What are the steps taken by the SA to be more approachable for the students?
This will be done by the DTU-SA volunteers where students from the first, second and third year will be present and the coordinators of the M.Tech, MBA, Ph.D., and East Campus batches will be directly in contact with us and will discuss with us all the areas of improvement and all the problems faced by the general crowd of their respective batches. The volunteers’ strength will be such that at least one to two people from each class are SA volunteers. This way their peers can share their grievances and problems with them, which will later be brought up to the seniors at the SA. Nonetheless we are always in touch with the CRs of all the classes, this way they can directly get in touch with us. DTU-SA also has an office where meetings will be held, it is on the first floor of MechC. We will also be having a suggestion box outside our office. If any student feels left out, or is missing out, they can directly get in touch with us. We are also circulating our contacts around the campus. We are always ready to help and we pick up every call that comes through. We are planning to start becoming active on social handles like Instagram. We always reply to the messages, even if we are not available, an automated message is sent out stating that we will get back as soon as possible.
What is the opinion of the SA regarding the increase of intake of students in DTU?
The SA believes that the intake of the students should not be increased further. If required we will be meeting with Shri. Manish Sisodia also, because increasing intake of students will just decrease the brand value of the college. The SA regularly meets with the Hon’ble VC to discuss issues and points of interest in the university, but there are two other meetings which are held, one is the meeting of the Board of Management and the other one is the meeting of the Academic Council. These meetings are graced by the presence of really powerful people like Education Minister’s secretary, the VC himself etc., and these are the meetings where the actual decision making is done. We want student representation during these meetings, because these decisions are made for the students and hence their representation is extremely important. We are trying to get this done as well so that the President of the DTU Student Association can attend this meeting. In no situation is the DTU-SA going to go against the administration, we want to work to achieve a goal to improve things in the university and we look forward to working with the administration. Even if there are ups and downs during this academic year, we believe in the procedure, and we will keep following it.
Do you have any ending message for the students?
We want the students of DTU to keep academics their primary target and all the other non-academic related activities as their secondary target, so as to bring about academic reform in the university. The SA is strictly against any indisciplinary actions taken up by the students. DTU-SA is against bunks. We are already in talks to improve the classrooms, to revise the syllabus, to improve the faculties through more and more faculty development programmes and to renovate the labs. In return, we just want students to prioritize their academics, maintain a healthy competition regarding CGPA, do decent projects (the SA is going to work to increase project opportunities), but we want the students to take some initiative as well. We want the students to be comfortable and share a feeling of togetherness throughout this academic year. If they have any problems regarding university life then DTU-SA is all ears. DTU-SA wants every student to work with us to make DTU a bigger brand. We hope everyone gets a great kick-start in their career through DTU.