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DONNING MULTIPLE HATS

A recent graduate from Manipal Institute of Technology in Mechatronics Engineering with a minor specialisation in Data Science and Analytics, Navaneeth Ganesh dons multiple hats. He is currently interning as a Field Assistant at Manipal Universal Press during weekdays, while preparing for his Masters Applications during evenings and weekends. As a student in Manipal, he was very active in club activities and organising events, having been part of some of the biggest events in Manipal, including Manipal Marathon, Sunburn Campus, MILAP, Tarang, Revels, Tech Tatva, International Day, Global Manipal Alumni Convention and National Conference on Youth in Social Change. Navaneeth also contributed to different colleges and departments in Manipal Academy of Higher Education in various capacities. In a chat with Team Fayz, Navaneeth talks about his eventful years at Manipal.

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We understand you are an all-rounder at MIT Manipal. Tell us what you have done at the campus over the years.

I wouldn't call myself an all-rounder. I have been able to find the best of people in whatever activities I set out to do or societies I set out to join. And we have been able to do some pretty amazing things together. I have had this fire for media and communications within me for a long time, even in school. So I was a part of the prestigious MIT Post, and got promoted as Public Relations Officer for the club the next year. Next year, I wanted to expand beyond writing and journalism with text, so I took reigns of the oldest student media house of Manipal which had gone dormant over the few years prior as its Managing Editor and built up the whole team from scratch. It stands at 100+ member crew.

I was an active NCC Cadet in college and also part of Formula Manipal - MAHE's Official Formula Student Team, one of the very few international teams from India building a formula-style race car in house at our workshop in Manipal. I was an avid movie buff and also was the President of the Movie Goers Club of MIT Manipal. I was also an active volunteer, then a project coordinator and later the Ambassador of the Volunteer Services Organization of MAHE, leading over 4,000 volunteers from the campuses of Manipal Mangalore and Jaipur overseeing 15+ weekly community development projects. I've been in and out of many other activities and events over the four years here, but these are the ones that come to mind most prominently. I was part of the Organizing Committee of Manipal Marathon since its inception in 2017.

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One of my favorite events and roles I've taken up has to be Utsav - MAHE's Cultural Fest where all colleges compete to take home the prize. I have been part of the fledgling Social Media Committee from its early days as an unofficial publication that was passed after great scrutiny from the higher-ups supported by the Secretary Prof Sambit Dash, to today when it's the hottest committee ever. For every parent at home or alumni abroad, we have the quickest of updates and all the performances live streamed with the best possible quality. I believe in opportunities and making the best use of them.

What makes Manipal a unique campus/place? What is your biggest takeaway from one of the best campuses in the country?

Manipal is a melting pot of cultures from all corners of the globe. And it has just about every course in Health Sciences, Management, Engineering, Hospitality and the Liberal Arts here. With such a diverse population and study streams, there's bound to be a lot of cultural and communication exchange happening. And so many students mean just as many student societies and activities. I've seen some campuses that become deserted once classes are over. Thankfully, mine wasn't one of those. In fact, the campus becomes even more lively once the hallowed Halls of the academic buildings close up and you see all sorts of stuff happening.

If you're the technical kind, you've got the student project workshops, for the adrenaline junkies, there are treks, excursions, and adventure activities almost every other weekend. For dance and dramatics fans, there are societies that have got national and global recognition for their performances. Name your interest, there's a society willing to make you a part of it for that. Besides, professors are also an active part of the fests and the student activities and we have a very very good bond with them outside classrooms with an equal amount of professionalism during lectures.

My biggest learning from here would be the work ethic it has taught me and the ability to prove one's mettle by best making use of the ample opportunity it provides. There is so much talent in the world. It's not just that only Manipal has it. But for lack of opportunity to showcase that talent, a lot of it fades away into obscurity. And it would be a crime for us privileged with the opportunity to experiment, experience and showcase our learnings both, inside and outside our classrooms to let it go in vain.

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You are the editor of Manipal.blog? How did the blog take it's roots and how do you manage to update it on a daily basis?

Manipal Blog was something that was started when blogging was still at its infancy. In 2007, Dr Vishal Bhat, then a PG student at KMC Manipal, started a blog to serve as a forum to publish positive content about Manipal and its vibrant student culture. The college and the University hadn't gone completely digital then, and there was a lot of negativity and misconceptions surrounding Manipal. Over time it grew and was one of the biggest student media societies in Manipal. As sir got busy with his academic commitments and batches of students left Manipal, the blog went into radio silence for a few years. Ganesh Indrali, a senior and I, took over the reins of the blog in late 2017 and built a new team from there. Articles, photographs, videos, street interviews, videos, you name it, we did it. We weren't professionals, but we were passionate and we were willing to learn. And we went by the motto - If it's in Manipal, it's on ManipalBlog.com. and it showed!

So it’s time to leave the campus and what’s next?

I am keen to study abroad soon, preferably in Europe and then use my multicultural exposure and expertise that I stand to gain from the experience in building up a social enterprise in India supported by Indian and European entities and work on it. It's like Vivek Sharma, Program Director of Gandhi Fellowship says, you don't have to change the world. You just have to do your bit.

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How supportive has the college been for all the activities?

Like I said, the most if not all college societies in Manipal are actively backed by the college in terms of monetary support and connections with alumni who may support the ventures and also in terms of getting the word out about the activities. The college hosts events like the Manipal International Literature Fest (Milap), Manipal Marathon and Manipal Conclave which see participation from the world over and some of the biggest names in their domains coming down and interacting with the students.

How do you unwind yourself?

On weekends and evenings if I'm not out on road trips with my friends and making videos and photo reels out of those, I'm studying Gandhian Philosophy, a couple of European Languages and pursuing a course on Technology Policy from the Takshashila Institution.

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If there is one (good) habit that has helped you become what you are today, what would that be?

  • I wouldn't say there's a particular habit or anything. But I have this obsession with not procrastinating if it makes any sense. And a very high enthusiasm level. If there's something I can't do, I can't sleep properly untill I figure out how to do it, I guess. And I make sure I complete every task I am assigned to.
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