As the academic activity of IIIT-H shifted online, club activity followed in pursuit. The second half of the spring semester and the following summer had numerous online events. An overall increase in the online presence of various clubs was also observed. The Debate Society, Robotics Club, Literary Club and TV Room Quiz Club (TVRQC) started new Instagram and Facebook pages. Similarly, The Programming Club, The Chess Club, TVRQC, FLC and Literary Club set up discord servers to keep clubs engaged, while The Dance Crew launched its YouTube channel. The Theory Reading Group along with some other clubs, continued their regular discussions in their pre-existing Facebook groups, having to move from their usual classrooms to online chat rooms.
While 2020 marks the fourth edition of the Clubs Council, it is the first (and hopefully last) time the Council has to deal with an entire semester of online club activities.
Clubs Council 4.0
Most of the clubs have grown in size in comparison to last year, and the number of clubs has increased to 21, around twice as many that existed in 2017. This summer brought the addition of three new clubs – the Foreign Language Club (FLC), Developer Student Club (DSC) and the Amateur Sports Enthusiast Club (ASEC). The club coordinators were officially finalised on June 08, 2020, with coordinators across multiple batches including PG, in order to increase PG participation.
Furthermore, Inter-club collaborations between clubs are largely encouraged. Some clubs are trying to collaborate with other colleges, and have started participating in external competitions as well. Clubs are also contributing to cultural events, such as Independence day. Over the previous year, over 120 events were recorded among all the clubs, as per clubs council. The council is aiming to have a comparable number this coming year too, despite at least one of the semesters being off-campus.
Below are some of the events that have been conducted since all activity has shifted online.
The Dance Crew
In July, The Crew participated in its first inter-college dance competition. The VIT dance club organised the competition. Eight of the dance crew members choreographed, performed, and edited together a submission to the song “Zinda” for the VIT-organized competition.
Additionally, several batch videos were produced and uploaded onto the youtube channel, where a participant sent in solo clips of them dancing, each clip finally being culminated and edited into one video. The girls of the UG2k18 batch made such a video to “Kudne Nu Nachne De”, while 40 students from the UG2k19 batch came together to dance to the song “Muqabla”. Moving online proved challenging for group practice as well, with the latter video taking around three months to complete.
Two Live events were organised as well on Sunday evenings – Footloose and the Hook Step Challenge. Footloose was led by two of the Dance Crew members who taught the choreography to “the Jawaani Song” with around 50 people in attendance. The Hook Step Challenge was a different version of traditional charades where one player receives a song, and they had to dance out its popular “hook step”. The first person to guess the song from this move was given the next chance to “dance” out the next song and so on.
The Literary Club introduced an event named “Thematic Theatre” where a theme would be chosen every alternate week, and various works of literature would be explored under the given theme in the following week. Each week usually consisted of a crossword, a short quiz, and a few recommendations from literature under the theme, as well as two writing prompts around the same. The event continued for about a month, covering three themes namely “Time Travel”, “Debut”, and “Dark Humour”. The event is expected to continue during the current semester, for one week each month.
This was followed by the event “Witch Please”, which the club conducted in collaboration with numerous other clubs.
The Literary Club announced Witch Please on July 31st — Harry Potter’s Birthday! To celebrate the occasion, all events were themed around the Wizarding World. Many events were organised as a collaboration with multiple clubs, falling under the Witch Please umbrella. A bunch of them were submission-based events, like the Fanart Contest by the Art Society, the Magical Photography Contest by Pentaprism, Magical Melodies by the Music Club, a writing contest by Ping!, and a meme contest on the.3rd.i Instagram page.
The Debate Society held a mock Ministry of Magic session, which was held in two teams of six people, each of which lasted for around two hours.
The Robotics Club added a Witch Please special prompt for their on-going Jugaadonics event, and the points for this round were twice as much as the other rounds. The Literary Club also had a Book Discussion night, where many aspects of the series were discussed including popular fan theories, character developments, and random trivia.
The most participated event of Witch Please was “Qwizardry” – a Harry Potter trivia-based quiz held by the TV Room Quiz Club, along with the Literary Club. More than 100 people, from both inside and outside of IIIT-H, registered for the prelims round which was done using a limited-time online form, followed by a final round with top 6 teams.
TV Room Quiz Club
The Quiz Club started conducting online events in the spring semester itself, starting with “Social Quiztancing” in March which was soon followed by another quiz which was conducted by a Quizmaster from K-Circle.
More quizzes were conducted during the summer. “Quorona” and “Quorona-II” were general quizzes completed based on a question set hosted in the K-Circle by Athreya C, a member of the club, which was refined after feedback by a K-Circle veteran. “The COVID Transmission” was another such quiz where a set done by a bunch of people from the club at K-Circle was hosted later for IIIT-H. “Times of Discord” was a general quiz hosted by Harish Krishna, an alumnus of IIIT-H, which was conducted in teams of three. They also conducted a technology and linguistics based quiz “Sandhi” which was held with a total of 8 teams.
The Programming Club organised a training series during summer, in which resources about a particular topic were posted, and related practice problems were shared every week, with a short contest at the end of the week.
In the last few months, three one vs one intra-college lockouts were held as well, all of which were streamed, and had two club members providing live commentary. The two contestants were given a set of around five problems and the first to solve the problem “locked” the other contestant from gaining any points from that particular problem.
A Discord Bot was launched on the server connected to users Codeforces’ accounts which brought about huge participation numbers. The server provided facilities for 1v1 duels, getting practice questions and more.
The Debate Society
This summer, multiple Inter College Debates took place, put together by The Debate Society. These debates were part of their larger commitment to eventual competitive debating.
The DebSoc also conducted several intra-college debates to not only encourage the debating culture in IIIT but also to select a team that would ultimately represent the college eventually. Topics ranged from Mexico’s Drug Cartels to Universal Basic Income.
OSDG (Open Source Development Group)
An event was organised by the group to help first-years experience production code first-hand. It was an opportunity to make the most out of their summer break. There were a total of 10 projects, such as a courier portal, and various club websites. For three months, about eighty first years, twenty second year mentors, and 15 other mentors were involved. The final projects will soon be deployed.
The Art Society
The Art Soc introduced a new event – Coffeecatures. Submissions all had to be created with coffee stains.
Pentaprism (Photography Club)
The monthly contests with cash prizes continued as usual on the Creative Eye Facebook group. On International Photography Day, the club launched “Flatlands” – a flat lay photography challenge, where participants had to submit photographs of objects arranged on a flat surface, captured from directly above, in other words, a “bird’s eye view”. This year, the club has been promised a server to store pictures. They plan to build and maintain an archive where people can scroll through old campus pictures.
The Chess Club
Several Tournaments were organised this summer. Two to three rapid tournaments and 2-3 Blitz tournaments were held. Many puzzles were frequently posted on the Facebook group.
A discord server was launched to encourage Chess related discussions such as various puzzles and ongoing tournaments (e.g. the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour).
The Gaming Club
The club held a Brawlhalla tournament on June 7th, with ten participating teams, of two members each.
Independence Day Celebrations
Even though a majority of IIIT-H celebrated India’s 74th Independence Day social distancing, clubs still came forward to honour the holiday through an online format. Pentaprism and The Art Society collaborated to create an IIIT Mosaic made up of over 7000 pictures sent in from students. They were all sized down to fit into one large portrait of the Nilgiri Building.
Members of The Dance Crew sent in clips, and put together a final video to the song “Muskurayega India”. It involved a blend of contemporary, Bollywood, and traditional Indian dance moves. The Music Club sent in a solo vocal rendition to “Ae Mere Pyaare Watan”, while the Debate Society organised an Independence Day Debate Tournament with four teams, and several adjudicators.
Foreign Language Club
One of the two recently launched clubs; the Foreign Language Club has already begun conducting events, starting with “Post-a-Phrase” which is a month-long event where people share creative phrases, idioms, quotes or sentences in any foreign language. FLC has also begun a weekly Duolingo XP contest where top three high scorers are announced every Monday.
SummerUp, a two-month-long event, had over 36 participating teams, around 20 mentors, and 140 participants. Teams were given opportunities to develop projects under senior mentorship, with the chance to win cash prizes worth 10,000 rupees.
Throughout the months, there were also small “Guess the Logo” challenges of popular companies through Instagram Stories.
Theory Reading Group
Over this summer, The Theory Reading Group organized 4 Lectures on Learning Theory by alumnus Ameya Prabhu. Additionally, talks on Quantum Computing, QML, Automated Theorem Proving, Abstract Algebra and Computational Complexity were held by members.
Casual ‘Theory Thursday’ meets were held multiple times, which were open for all to discuss their recent endeavours.
In June, ERC started their first event of the year called “InnoJune” where participants were asked to submit any tech they made during or before the lockdown. Then in July, the Electronics and Robotics Club started a long term online contest named “Jugaadonics”. Under this event, prompts related to real-life problems are posted on their page for which participants have to provide solutions using the knowledge of engineering.
The pandemic brought along challenges and obstacles, preventing some clubs from holding their iconic on-campus events during the second semester of 2019-20, nonetheless every club rose to the occasion. It adapted to the newfangled online way of life. Apart from the above events mentioned, many clubs held online meets, remaining connected and active. This summer paved a path to the comforting realisation that club activity will continue to thrive this year, no matter how much of it has to be spent online.