Invictus 2018, the second edition of the intercollegiate fest conducted by the Student Council of KMC, Manipal, is done and dusted; it now exists only as an indelible experience in the memories of those who toiled for it, and those who enjoyed the fruits of their efforts – and it must be acknowledged – the memories themselves are the greatest payoffs for all the sweat and struggle. Though still in its infancy, the fest has surpassed several milestones this year, but only after crossing its fair share of hurdles along the way. Here is a peek into the interplay of forces that forged Invictus, interspersed with some invaluable advice from our very own fest veterans: Aniket Naik (President of the Student Council), Aaditya Sreehari (Literary Secretary), Ameya Kale (Cultural Secretary) and Tasnim Shajahan (Sports Secretary).
How was Invictus 2018 different from last year in terms of organisation?
Aniket: Organizing Invictus this year was a tad difficult in comparison, as certain unforeseen complications like the state elections posed a roadblock for us. Wrapping everything up by 10pm is no easy feat, something which wasn’t an issue last year.
Aaditya: Invictus last year was a large experiment. A shot in the dark, of sorts. We, as a council, who had been part of the previous edition, were well aware of the ideas and plans that worked and those that simply did not. From then on it became a case of tactical omission and sprinkling on whatever we felt was required to elevate the fest.
Ameya: Invictus this year had a lot more participation, not just in numbers but quality as well, and that was something we didn’t consider would be a problem, initially. One of the events, Western Vocals, got so extended that we had to close on spot registrations, which we usually don’t do, but more participants were still eager to perform.
Tasnim: In terms of organization, it had more clarity this year. We knew what exactly had to be done. We had more committees formed to handle specific things. Delegation of work was the main strength.
What obstacles did you face in putting the fest together? How can they be avoided in the future?
Aniket: One of the obstacles we faced was being able to provide accommodation and transportation to all the colleges coming in. Thankfully, we had support from the administration without which we wouldn’t have been able to do it. There is no way to avoid it, something or the other always pops up. All you can do is be well prepared for it and sort it out much in advance rather than at the last minute.
Aaditya: A lot of the problems we faced stemmed from the fact that the actual process of working started a bit late simply because the council itself was formed quite late. The solution, logically, would be to form the council earlier.
Ameya: Clashing dates with other events happening around the same time was a major problem. Because of that a lot of the venues that we had considered in our planning were already booked and unavailable. Sponsorship suffered from similar issues. Most companies require a minimum of 90 days to process sponsorship requests. Starting work on these much earlier will definitely make organisation smoother.
Tasnim: The main obstacle we faced was time. We had to organize a fest within three weeks! We plan on starting work for Invictus 2019 in September itself. Decide dates and let the administration know so that even they can be prepared.
What goes into planning a fest like Invictus? Who handles the ideation and execution of the plan?
Aniket: A lot goes into the planning. Invites, decor, event rules, you name it. The key here is delegating work properly so that everything gets done on time. There is no single person in charge. Everyone takes responsibility for one major segment and then these people meet regularly to discuss any issues that arise.
Aaditya: It’s a lot of brainstorming and mostly troubleshooting. The idea can come from basically anywhere and no one source can be accurately pin-pointed, to be honest. There’s always a rough framework that’s made which gradually gets polished into the “final product”. Every committee member is a part of the execution process since it is key to the actual end-product.
Ameya: Effective communication, patience and persistence. With your crew members, with teachers, service providers, vendors, college authorities. We’re open to ideas from anyone in the team, or even outside the college. A different perspective goes a long way in solving a problem. Bringing those ideas to completion is the crew’s job – no hierarchy. Even Aniket helped shift sofas when the time came.
Tasnim: For a fest to work, the main thing that has to be done is proper delegation of work and giving people the space they need for doing their work. This one thing can ensure the fest’s success.
In hindsight, what aspects of organisation do you think could have been handled better?
Aniket: We definitely could have started earlier. The amount of time we got to organize was very little. A lot of problems could have been avoided if we had started earlier.
Aaditya: A better awareness of what’s going on within the Manipal campus would go a long way. A lot of the problems we faced were simply because we weren’t aware about what else was going on campus. Also, a better to-and-fro between the council and the administration would help too.
Ameya: The rules for cultural events and the maximum number of slots per event need to be revised. In the fest’s second year itself, we faced several issues regarding those and as the fest grows this undoubtedly will be a major problem in the future.
Tasnim: One area where we always face a drawback is in providing delegate cards. This year we worked on improving it a hundred fold. Even then, there were scenarios where people who faked ID cards got away. We have got to do something to avoid such situations in the future.
On a personal note, what have you learned from the experience?
Aniket: This experience is one I will never forget. Working together, making sure the colleges that come in have a great time, dealing with and working through the stress, making sure everything runs smoothly, something like that can’t be learnt anywhere else.
Aaditya: In school, leadership roles always eluded me and for good reason. The recluse and shy character seemed like the only character I could fulfil, therefore I didn’t really fit the bill to be the “leader” type. Now that I have been given the opportunity to actually lead, it feels like something special. Through Invictus, I learned to actually make a mark.
Ameya: Life is so much easier when you have people to help you out, and friends to count on. You should never forget the value of that.
Tasnim: What I learned from Invictus is that anything is possible and every problem always has a solution.
– As said to Niharika Dixith