Candid conversation with Prof. Apoorva Kulkarni
SIU recently hosted TEDx SIU Hinjewadi at SCIT campus, team Reflections had the privilege to have a candid talk with Apoorva Kulkarni, Faculty Coordinator for SCIT TEDx team. Following are the excerpts from the interview taken by Swanand and Anurakta:
Anurakta: How did it come to your mind to host a big event like TEDx?
Apoorva Mam: It was actually an initiative taken by the students, and as the ITELF faculty coordinator I helped students along the way. Once the then director Dr. Raman gave a green signal to hosting the event at SCIT campus, we took the license about one year ago, and then started with team formation and action plan formulation.
Swanand: So would you say that it was an excellent experience working on TEDx?
Apporva Mam: Organizing a global platform event like TEDx was a great experience right from short listing of videos to managing the team. It was a task to come with videos which would be effective and informative and at the same time would connect with the students of our institute. However it would be apt to say without he team it was impossible rather I would go on to say that I acted just as bridge between them and the Accounts department on a lighter note.
Swanand: The event proved to be a Symbiosis of the three institutes present in SIC, Hinjewadi campus, what is your take on that?
Apoorva Mam: Although the initiative was taken by SCIT, we had received license in the name of SIU Hinjewadi , so our team and curator of the event decided to invite the other two institutes as well. And although there exists a rivalry among the students when it comes to organizing such events it was nice to see them coordinating on the task at hand. The experience on prior such events and the interest and the enthusiasm shown by the students helped the event most and the support from the faculty coordinators of these colleges was appreciable.
Anurakta: What were the major roadblocks you faced?
Apoorva Mam: Keeping the team together and motivated was one task, however technology helped me being connected with the entire team via WhatsApp, messages, calls etc. My proactive nature helped me a great deal so as to keeping us on track and overcoming the roadblocks as such. The Selection criteria and process for team was such that it picked the right candidates for the task and who had the passion so it was they who kept things moving.
Swanand: Being the SCIT mentor, what was unique about SCIT’s team work that led to its phenomenal contribution towards the event?
Apoorva Mam: Let me not be modest, Yes indeed the SCIT team worked incessantly. Even though various departments were distributed mutually among the institutes, SCIT had a backup team ready for each department so that the event went on smoothly.
Anurakta: The theme says ‘Lasting Impressions’, how did you come with it, any story behind it?
Apoorva Mam: We were supposed to and were registered on official TED website without any theme as such since all the three colleges felt it would be apt to not focus on and associate on the respective college’s specialization. Then eventually we came up with ‘Lasting impressions’ , though there was not any underlying thought behind it, but yes, I was both criticized and appreciated for the same. Director Dr. Dhanya as well as the speakers throughout the TEDx mentioned it and made the event a ‘Lasting impression’ in everyone’s mind.
Anurakta: How are you feeling now, that the event was a grand success?
Apoorva Mam: I am on top of the world, it feels great to work on such a huge event and taking it to the finish line.
Swanand: Do you plan to host TEDx next year as well now that this year’s was successful?
Apporva Mam: I won’t say NO straightaway, but if student’s take the initiative then surely we can. The current batch and the rigor that the next batch will have to show, it all depends upon them. And it comes as an added responsibility upon me now that I have to surpass the benchmark that we have set this year, so I will look forward to it.
Swanand: Does it get tough to manage personal, academic and mentoring students all at once and do you think that TEDx brought the best of you?
Apoorva Mam: Definitely, it’s actually a difficult circus altogether, but I have to be the best at all the fronts, because if I am not it will be really difficult to successfully deliver my duties. TEDx brought the best out of me, had the TEDx been scrapped, I would have never experienced this day and tested my potential and such obstacles are necessary to grow as an individual.
Anurakta: Do you think that the Symbiosis culture helped to make TEDx successful?
Apoorva Mam: Yes surely, I keep on urging students to squeeze maximum out of the two golden years they spend here at the residential campus. There are always positives and negatives associated with things, but it’s better to look at it optimistically, and the culture at Symbiosis and especially at SCIT foster not only the students but also the faculty to bring out the best out of them.
Swanand: How was the support of the management and faculty for TEDx?
Apoorva Mam: Faculty support was overwhelming, and the management also has been a backbone to all the initiatives I am associated with.
Anurakta: So do you feel that the volunteers of TEDx can be good Managers now after ably handling the event?
Apoorva Mam: It is all upto them (laughs!!!). I have always been of the opinion that the real study happens on the job since it was expected out of students after they graduate out of this college.
Anurakta: What is your message to the students regarding all the events and importance of participation?
Apoorva Mam: I would suggest all the students to avail the opportunities in the form of events happening in and around the college, various committees, groups etc. The practical experience gained is a value addition.
Curator of the event Vivek Pinnamaneni steps in while the interview is on, we had the opportunity to ask a few questions to him as well.
Swanand: Being the curator of the TEDx, SIU, Hinjewadi, can you describe your experience?
Vivek: The event was a success and a learning lesson in TEAMWORK 🙂
Apporva Mam: Yes, such experiences help you shape your personality and develop leadership qualities.
Swanand: Do you think without Apoorva Mam it would have been difficult to organize TEDx?
Vivek: Yes definitely, she is the source of inspiration; she is the support for all the student activities happening in SCIT.