Organizing E-Fest: When Hard Work Paid Off

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How would I describe E-Fest Asia Pacific, which was held March 3-5, 2017, at the LNM Institute of Information Technology [LNMIIT] in Jaipur, India? As a cup that blended knowledge, new ideas, experiences, a career path forward, sharing, and fun.

When LNMIIT formed a student chapter of ASME in December 2014, I was a founding member and selected as its first chairman. We learned that ASME organized international competitions and made a proposal two years ago to host in 2017. In May 2016, ASME said we would host the Student Professional Development Conference and asked if we could accommodate the Human Powered Vehicle Competition, too. We were told that both events would be combined into E-Fest, and in June 2016 got the email that said we had been selected to host. Since my initiative got the competition at LNMIIT, I became the leader.

Naturally, the preparations hit a slight bump. We had put a lot of work into setting up the campus grounds the week before E-Fest with the theme of “Colorful Rajasthan.” A rainstorm hit Jaipur the night before the conference was to open, which was upsetting because it destroyed the decorations. After putting two years of effort into hosting, we wondered if God was with us. But the storm ended in an hour, and we worked until early morning to set everything up again, and we did it. I was so proud of my team. After all, engineers are supposed to use technology to solve problems, and we’re in a world where problems never end.

Events such as E-Fest help promote the development of engineering students through the exchange and sharing of ideas. Different cultures come together to see what projects others are working on, learning where they stand. This makes students more competitive, which ultimately helps their careers and gets them ready to work in the corporate world. The talks on tech and nontech subjects teach new topics, and the counseling sessions help to choose the right path, making the future seem clearer.

Students from all over India came to E-Fest, so I was able to collaborate with attendees I didn’t know. We had a campus ambassador program, with 40 students from different institutes. I spoke with them on conference calls and social media to exchange ideas on how to enhance the event. I was able to interact with students from nearly all the participating colleges.

When organizing E-Fest, we decided to make the nights fun. We figured if it was only ASME competitions and talks, how would it differ from previous events? E-Fest had the tagline “Party like an engineer,” so the feel of fun, food and music was added, with concerts both nights to fuel the party atmosphere for ASME’s first event in India. We also had traditional Rajasthani folk performances and music around the campus throughout the day. There were two non-prize competitions, Robothon and the Impromptu Design Challenge. Robothon went all night, and the teams were provided with snacks. IDC was an hour, with teams designing a windmill from material they were given. It was short, but very fun.

When you’re in charge, it’s tough to enjoy the event. Fortunately, I had a few chances such as watching about half of a three-hour performance by Euphoria, India’s top pop band, on the second night. A crowd of 1,500 packed the open-air theatre. I was able to stop worrying and dance along with everyone else and enjoy the fireworks after the show.

On the last day of the festival, I was at the closing lunch when I heard noise outside the food court. I went out and saw members of my organizing team and other participants eating there. There was light background music, but some people started dancing, maybe to relieve their stress. More people began to dance, and suddenly louder, more dance-oriented music played. A friend took over as the DJ, and everyone forgot about eating and starting dancing. I never expected that. It was a joyous end for the festival and showed that people were happy with us and the event.

Prakhar Deep is the chairman of ASME’s student chapter at LMN Institute of Information Technology, Jaipur, India.