The hunt for fresh talent - The New Indian Express

The hunt for fresh talent

Published: 01st October 2012 04:25 PM

Last Updated: 01st October 2012 04:35 PM


Pranks, neem juice to welcome students

Aswathy K | Kochi

For the management students of Rajagiri College of Management and Applied Sciences, Kochi, a freshers’ party is one of those times when they can free themselves from their tight schedules and have fun. The freshers’ party at Rajagiri is conducted by the students of MBA, PGDM and master of human resource management (MHRM).

“Freshers’ party and all the other events are led by the cultural event group of our college called FORMS. Each class will have an elected member among the students for the smooth coordination of the events,” says Robin James, a committee member of FORMS.All the fun starts when the seniors instruct the juniors to follow a particular dress code. “We would ask the juniors to wear clothes of a particular colour. Mostly it would be fluorescent colours. Last year we were asked to wear orange and this year our juniors wore pink. Girls will also be asked to tie their hair in two plaits with a ribbon of the same colour,” says Anu Ramachandran, a final-year PGDM student.

“Juniors will also have to wear bathroom slippers,” she adds. The ice breaking begins with a Holi session where students smear each others faces with colours and glitter. “Juniors are then given a welcome drink made of neem leaves. Though it is bitter they have to drink it otherwise a token punishment will be given,” says Anu. All the activities are monitored by a faculty who is incharge of the freshers’ party. “All the pranks happen during the ice breaking session. Juniors are asked to dance or burst balloons without touching them,” says Robin. Talented students are also encouraged to perform for the freshers’ party. “After the one-hour long party, we also organise a DJ party where the floor is open to the juniors,” adds Robin.


The freshers’ party of Maharaja’s College has all the flavours of a pure arts college. One common welcome party is conducted by the parent- teacher association to welcome the students.

“In the common welcome party the authorities introduce the students to the college, its history and the rules of the college.

Then every department conducts its own freshers’ party to get to know more about the juniors,” says Ajmal AA, a history student and member of the organising committee. Maharaja’s College is one of the oldest and largets centres of learning that keeps traditions alive. The traditions lend a Malayali touch when welcoming the juniors. “We welcome our juniors first by applying sandal and kumkum paste on their foreheads,” says Ajmal.

Once the students feel free with the seniors and teachers, the seniors move to games and contests.

“There will be chits with funny tasks written on them. Juniors have to perform what is written on the chit,” says Ajmal.

Minimum expense and maximum enjoyment is the motto of the students of Maharaja’s. “We provide tea and snacks and a maximum of Rs 40-50 is collected from the senior students,” says Ajmal.

The student union (a political body) conducted ‘naadan paatu’ and ‘ganamela’.

Tamil Nadu

 Innovation rules the campus

- Venkata Susmita Biswas | Chennai

Fostering friendships and identifying talent among freshers is the one goal that colleges and their student leaders try to achieve within the first couple of months of college. And to achieve this single point agenda, colleges have found various ways and means. At Chennai’s SRM University, the process of selecting talent is itself a grand one. “We have always had auditions to choose the students who will perform,” says Prof DI Ravindran, student counsellor, SRM University.

This year the 6,000-odd freshers were auditioned on campus. “It was called ‘Spotlight’, and helped us reach out to a greater number of students. When we have a record number of freshers it is also important that the percentage of students participating is also high. Spotlight was conducted keeping this in mind,” shares Shruthi Krishnakumar, a final-year student who leads the grievance cell of the university. The talent show for freshers at SRM is aptly named Shuru and brings freshers to work along with the seniors who mentor and guide them along the way.

“We do not encourage any department rivalry in Shuru,” clarifies Prof Ravindran. At the end of the talent show, a Mr and Miss Fresher are chosen. “Shuru also is a time when you can decide if you want to be on stage or in the organising committee. I am not a stage-person and it was during Shuru that I got immensely inspired by my seniors who were conducting the events,” says Shruthi.

At another college in the city, MOP Vaishnav College for Women, a similar talent show (Abhilasha) is held for the new entrants where a Cheering Prize is given to the department that cheers its freshers in the most creative way.

“The support from seniors increases when they cheer for the juniors,” explains Afza Kandrikar Fathima, Prime Minister, Students Cabinet. She adds that the Cheering Prize was earlier only given during Jhankar, which is the two-day intracollegiate cultural event. This year the Abhilasha Cheering Prize went to the department of electronic media which was given the theme of ‘Library’ and all students dressed alike with ‘geek-glasses’. “Students introduce many new events every year. Now they have lyric-writing, script-writing, blogging. Photography, etc,” shares Prof Archana Prasad.

In addition to Abhilasha, the Students Cabinet also organises a Freshers’ Party for the students on the college campus.

“There is a theme according to which they should dress and give out titles in the end, like best dresssed, most enthusiastic, best dancer, etc,” says Afza.


To New Beginnings

- Bharath Joshi| Bangalore

Surana College’s annual freshers’ day Sammilana is a gala affair, the finale of which is preceded by a week-long ‘hunt’ for the most talented fresher.

Sammilana 2012 was held in July for the fresh batch of degree students. The highlight, according to faculty cultural coordinator Avaneeja Rajesh, is the talent hunt. “Sammilana has two aspects — the talent hunt and the crowning of Mr and Miss Fresher. The talent hunt is not really a competition. It is an actual hunt for talent across varied areas of interest, like dance, music, creative writing and so on,” she says.

Not just the freshman students, even fresher faculty members are a part of the activities at Sammilana. Sri Harsha, a final-year BCom student and head of the cultural committee, explains the ‘one-minute’ game. “What made this special was that even faculty members were a part of this. It featured games on how many chocolates one  can eat in a minute, or how many balls one can juggle,” says Harsha. For faculty, the game was to precariously balance gems on the edge of two pencils that were tied to a thread around their necks.

The first filtration happens with the icebreaker and preliminary rounds. Three boys and three girls make it to the final, which is very similar in format to that of a beauty pageant. “The final day has ramp events followed by a panel of people asking the finalists tricky questions,” Harsha adds.

Harsha and his team took about 25 days to conceptualise, finalise and execute Sammilana 2012. “About 20 days goes into putting every idea in place and then a week to see it materialise.” The celebrity attraction at the event was popular Kannada actress Niveditha.


-Sangeetha Samuel| Bangalore

The stone-walled, green-adorned majestic campus of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, reverberated with the sounds of boisterous applause and lively laughter in June 2012, when 377 students celebrated a fresh Aarambh to their lives as IIM-B PGP 2012-14 students.

Aarambh is an ice breaker and is the first test of skill, of team work, of handling pressure and of thinking out of the box. As some of the senior MBA grads call it, it is the first taste of IIM-B.

The freshers in teams were ready to burn the stage with their scintillating performances. This year the chosen theme of the event was “AAL IS WELL” and the tag-line was “Lets “B” Idiots Again!”

The event, that began with a spirited performance by the PGP senior batch, saw the bunch of freshmen and women trying to live up to the theme of the night and display their varied skills through music, dance, catwalk and satire. The 100 women in the fresh batch added to the zing in the atmosphere, while the mood at the open air theatre clearly displayed that indeed here was a bunch of “consistently good performers” willingly liberating the “idiots” within them for a night.  By the time the music died down, the juniors had walked several steps closer to the hearts of the seniors and had made themselves proud of having upheld the high artistic standards that past batches of fresh IIM-B students had set for them.

Andhra Pradesh

To the Club House

-Payal Ganguly| Hyderabad

Fun presides over fear of ragging at the fresher’s party at St Mary’s College in Yousufguda. It provides a platform for the new entrants and seniors to let their hair down. The line-up of events varies from year-to-year. “Last year there was a beat-boxing competition open for participation to both seniors and freshers and that was a big hit. Also, the presence of actor Ranbir Kapoor for a movie promotion was an added bonus,” says Vijay, a final-year student of BA Mass Communication  at the college.

The 2012 welcome-bash is scheduled for the month of September and the coveted crown of Mr and Miss St Mary’s will be widely contested. The one-day affair involves a dress code quite different from the regular college routine. “The theme varies from Bollywood or Retro to Ethnic. We want the newcomers to feel comfortable,” adds Vijay. The newcomers are regaled by the senior students through stand up acts, skits and peppy dance numbers. Though faculty members are present at the event held on the college premises, the students do not find it a hindrance.

The finance factor has a major role in organising an event of this scale and the college management plays a vital part in handling the logistics. “On an average we spend `1.5 lakh for the Fresher’s party and allocate the budget for various aspects including the brunch provided,” says Anju Prasad, public relations and placement officer at the college. The entertainment routine and cultural shows lined up for the day are selected by a student committee, guided by faculty members. “Every year the event is arranged for an approximate strength of 1,500 students including the 350-odd first year students,” adds Anju Prasad.

What sets a freshers party apart at professional colleges across Hyderabad is aptly conveyed by the ‘unofficial’ welcome extended by students of CBIT at the end of first year. “Since classes start only by September or so, we attend an official welcome event hosted by the college management. But the real fun lies in the Freshers planned during March or April,” says Shilpa Pannala, a student of production engineering at CBIT. The end-of-year party is hosted by the second-year students of a particular department or discipline for the new entrants to bond after a year of good-natured ragging.

Usually held outside the college premises, the budget ranges between Rs 40-50,000 for a group of 100 students. Each newcomer contributes `1,000 for the event. “We do not force the juniors to pay and often students who hail from a rural background are reluctant to go to a pub for an event like this. As seniors we manage the logistics and plan the cultural programmes. The party is open to all juniors of the department,” adds Shilpa.

The party begins by 11am and goes on till 5pm at a restaurant or pub, selected by the senior students. Though there is no dress code or theme, the competition revolves around the ramp-walk and eliminations for the title of Mr and Miss Fresher, Popular and Rose — marked by the student who gets the maximum number of flowers during the event. The selections are punctuated by impromptu routines such as mimicry, individual dance performances and a ‘proposal’ round. The party at CBIT is also well known for the paper-dance routine where the couple who can waltz away on paper folded over and again to the tiniest bit takes home the prize.


Fashion All the Way!

-Dikhya Tiwari| Bhubaneswar

As they readied to step into a new world of fashion, excitement was writ large on their faces.
From walking the ramp to getting treated to amazing makeover sessions with beauty experts, the 75-odd young energetic freshers of National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Bhubaneswar, were glamorously welcomed into the institute at a party held for them on the NIFT premises recently.

The party kicked off in style with a fashion show that gave a chance to the freshers to flaunt their look and get-up before a panel of five judges that comprised a few seniors and beauty experts from Finesse, a leading beauty salon of Bhubaneswar. They were made to walk the ramp twice and seven boys and seven girls were selected after the first round. The selected ones were given an entirely new look by the experts from Finesse Salon with suitable make-up and hair styling.
Sporting the glam look, the selected students were made to walk the ramp again to help the judges choose the Miss and Mister Finesse Fresh Face respectively.

Zenobia from Shillong who was crowned from among the girls, said she thoroughly enjoyed the party and winning the title too. “I had put on a black dress with high heels and a pony to carry along. Then, during make-over, there was eye and lip make-up and a bun for my hair and I suppose that did the trick,’’ she cooed excitedly.

On the other hand, for Anand Pandey from Bihar, the title apart, the praise from seniors made his day.
“I had opted for a casual look in the first round with a shirt, jeans and sports shoes and went for a formal style after the make-over. I loved what they did with my hair to give it a wet look,’’ he admitted.

While the freshers were made to mingle freely with their seniors and faculty members, also making new friends amidst themselves, the curtains to the party came down with a dance show where they grooved with the seniors.

The first day of the college is very special for every teenager passing out of school. It is not just about the new campus or new course, it is also about meeting a whole new bunch of friends and seniors. This is where freshers’ parties could help, by providing a platform for juniors and seniors to break the ice. At a time when ragging has become a serious issue, these parties seeks to facilitate a pleasant introduction to peers.

Keeping this in mind, seniors at the Bhubaneswar-based Utkal University are doing all that it takes to make newcomers feel at home by throwing parties for them. And with ragging out of the question, breaking the ice has become a fun affair in almost all the departments of the university.
At the English Department of the Utkal University, students thought of experimentation by going for an ethnic theme.

Girls arrived in churidar-kurtas, saris and looked pretty decked up with bindis and earrings.
Boys looked their best in kurtas and some in formal shirts. Peppy Hindi songs and cultural programmes brought the auditorium alive. Pragyandipta Rath, a second year student of the department, said they spent around Rs 15-20,000 to organise the party.
“We organised freshers’ cultural competitions at the party as these are the platforms where they can showcase their talent. In fact, these competitions helped us develop a bond with the juniors and identify their talents. We can use them in the future cultural programmes of the department,” says Pragyandipta. Students also felt that the freshers’ party served as a good learning experience.
“I had a very bad opinion of seniors, as I had heard a lot of scary stories about ragging, but I was proved wrong,” says Sandip Das, a fresher. He found his seniors to be friendly and in fact, it was they who made him feel at home, he adds.


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