Join the club

Sharpen important skills outside the classroom by being part of a college cell or society that piques your interest. There’s a host of options to choose from, ranging from photography to social service.

education Updated: Jul 20, 2011 11:58 IST

Everyone has a passion – what’s yours? Is it music or debating? A language or a sport? Or even the thirst to make money, or help people? Look around your college for those colourful posters pasted on noticeboards to find yourself a club that excites you. Not only will it help you pursue your passion, but will have you meeting like-minded people, organizing related events and learning from professionals. Read here about active associations in city colleges to give you a sense of what your college may have on offer.

The camera crew
Pixels, a photography club, IIT-Bombay
A group of amateur student photographers, Pixels is a club for those that want to experiment with the camera. The club meets once every fortnight for different activities, including workshops, seminars and outdoor photo shoots.

“Being from a technical institute, this gives us a chance to follow other hobbies,” says Vikas Sharma, head, Pixels. “It’s also interesting because we’re all technologically inclined, because there’s a lot of physics involved. We’re always experimenting with different lenses.”

Member count: 150
What they do: The club has about 20 senior photographers (senior students and faculty members) who teach camera-handling techniques to the rest of the group. They also have faculty members from the design school at IIT to come share their expertise on topics like aesthetics and ethics.
In addition, they have critical discussions of works of famous photographers and outdoor photo trips, which are funded by the college. Competitions are held every few weeks, on calendar-making, portrait photography, etc. All the entries are posted on the blog
The group is allowed to use the facilities of the photo department of the design school, which includes a full-fledged studio with development amenities.

The future CEOs
E-cell (National entrepreneurship network), Jai Hind College
Started in 2007, Jai Hind College’s e-cell, or entrepreneurship cell, is part of the national entrepreneurship network that has 569 member institutes from India. The association aims to inculcate the entrepreneurial spirit in students and build a strong network of other potential entrepreneurs.

“Not only are you trained to think of viable business plans with real balance sheets and viability, but you’re also trained to make that one minute pitch to sell your business idea,” says Ratnesh Desai, TYBCom, Jai Hind College and e-cell coordinator for Mumbai.

Member count: 200
What they do: The group meets at least once a month for workshops, panel discussions or business plan generation training. They bring entrepreneurs to speak to the students about their experiences and hold discussions that help divergent thinking. They also have confidence-building exercises and seminars on presentation skills. An annual business plan competition is organised, where students go through several rounds to compete with their business ideas, judged by industry professionals.

The good Samaritans
Social Service League (SSL), St Xavier’s College
The SSL focuses on increasing the sensitivity and awareness of the students through social work. The activities and projects that are organised keep in mind the current social scenario, and the club always welcomes new members and ideas to help plan social trips.

“Being part of social work activities helps form essential skills like humility and awareness. Today, good companies, take participation in social work seriously,” said Neil Maheshwari, 19, a member of SSL.

Member count: 800
What they do: Some of the events organized by the club include rural camps during the Diwali break where students are supposed to help local people with their chores, weekly and monthly visits to non-profit organizations for children and the elderly and awareness campaigns for waste segregation in the college premises.

“A few months ago, we visited a home for differently-abled children where we spent time painting and gardening with them. I really enjoyed myself,” said Melvin Mukherji, SYJC, St Xavier’s College.

The orchestrators
World Music Club (WMC), Sophia College
A group that celebrates music from different parts of the world, The World Music Club is for the love of song and dance. “I have learnt how to organize an event, manage a crowd and make an event successful,” said Nalika Braganza, a member of the club. Braganza adds that the acquiringof music or dance skills strengthens her resume as music and dance training requires discipline and hard work. “Group work requires coordination and music and dance performances help improve that,” said Braganza.

Member count: 250
What they do: The WMC organizes events and workshops related to different forms of dance and music, such as ballet workshops, salsa sessions, singing classes, band activities and beat boxing workshops.

A new student can not only participate in these events and workshops but also help organize them

“Many people come to the music and dance workshops to get away from the hectic college schedule,” says Sharanya Ramesh, a member.

The events are open to students from other colleges so they can share their music and dance experiences.

The play actors
Asmita, Somaiya Vidyavihar
Asmita is a club that brings together Marathi dance, music and drama for its members. “Our college focuses on linguistic cultural activities, so we have different clubs for Gujarati, Sanskrit, Japanese and Marathi. We also have a Marathi poetry and literature club.”

Member count: 200
What they do: The group meets once a month and holds events that stage performances in Marathi, or have a recognized Marathi writer or musician come to talk to the students about the language and its present literary status. The college has an e-magazine where students’ original works are uploaded, which are later screened, and if deemed good enough, published in the print version.

The changemakers
The Rotaract Club of Mithibai College (RCMC), Mithibai College
The RCMC club organizes community events, professional development workshops and entertainment activities for the members. Many events are organized across different college clubs so a student member gets the opportunity to interact with students from other colleges.

A new student member gets a chance to be part of the organizing committee of many social and cultural events organized by the club. For Shabeena Shaikh, being part of the club was like being in a mini B-school. “I learnt to organize, manage difficult events, handle the responsibility of several people,”

Member count: 150
What they do: Some of the events organized by the club include ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’ rallies, special shows for disabled children, music and dance competitions, workshops to help students understand the stock market and sports activities.

Shaikh shares that these extra curricular activities have strengthened her resume and given her a headstart with prospective employers. “Good firms take involvement in such activities very seriously,” says Shaikh.

The club has many icebreaker events, which helps a new student to get comfortable and gain confidence. “With the help of the other members, I learnt how to raise funds for big events,” says Yohan Chawla, 17.

Start your own club
If you can’t find the right fit for your particular hobby or passion, you can always take the initiative and set up your own cell. Here’s a few steps you should follow:
Determine whether there will be at least 10 people interested in related activities
If yes, think long-term. What sort of events can you organize? How will it help member students?
Once you have a skeleton ready, approach a teacher or the principal with your plan.
If your idea is approved, spread the word through students and put up posters announcing that the club is looking for new members.
Organise an introductory event to generate interest and to recruit more members. This will enhance your leadership skills and show initiative on your CV.

First Published: Jul 20, 2011 11:50 IST