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As editor of Technology Students’ Gymkhana, I got a chance to accompany our VP to the 2nd IIT Students Present Across Nation (SPAN) meet. Many of you may not know about SPAN or its objectives, the official minutes, agendas and resolutions will be released later (keep watching the website for that), what I want to delve into is why we need SPAN, what I saw and how it will help KGP grow.

This edition was held at IIT Roorkee and was attended by eleven IITs. The agendas were submitted by all interested IITs beforehand, and discussed in an orderly fashion, reminiscent of the echelon of a world parliament. Each IIT sent a delegate consisting of two of its Gymkhana representatives. The seriousness with which the preparations were made and the itinerary was a testament to the competence of IIT R.

It is a known fact that, though we share the same name, each one of the IITs is unique. The common thread is the general brilliance of its students. What makes IITs different from other government-funded universities, is the mechanism which somewhat limits the powers of its elected office-bearers. To optimize the use of the power that Gymkhana does have, SPAN was conceptualized. It is a platform where every IIT can discuss and gain fresh insights. I can’t stress the importance of an open physical platform for all of us to come together and talk about how we can empower our fellow students. The ideas that are discussed open avenues for innovative solutions, roadblocks and possible loopholes are discussed and mended. IITs are famously apolitical in their functioning but this step will go a long way in nurturing student leadership and give chance for a stronger stance on issues we care about.

Issues discussed in this edition ranged from Inter IIT GC to LGBTQ resource groups on campus. Contrary to the image of IITians being solely focused on getting a fat paycheck, the scene at the 2nd SPAN showed increase awareness of our obligation of giving back to the community, with plans for initiatives like “IIT for Society” were discussed.

IIT Kharagpur, the oldest among all IIT boasts of a rich culture and leadership when it comes to student initiatives but still, there is much to learn from our counterparts. SPAN is a platform for the new IITs to learn and discuss the issues they face and seek guidance from their older counterparts.

Personally, it was an amazing opportunity to meet some of the most talented and active people from different IITs, implement ideas on a truly grand scale, make lots of new friends. The next SPAN meets are scheduled to happen in Delhi and Indore.

– Antra Saxena

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