The Year In Review: Hostel Welfare Committee

Members: Ankita Mathur (Convener), Savy, Siddharth K. Santosh (Acting Convener), Hardik Singh, Yashasvi Tripathi, Arushi Dua, Itisha Awasthi, Kriti Srivastava, Mahima Jain

The Hostel Welfare Committee is unfortunately one that, no matter how much work they do, it never seems to be enough. There is always something amiss somewhere in the hostel; be it a leaky tap or a malfunctioning water cooler. Having said that, we bring to you the highlights of the work done (and not done) over the past year by the committee.

  • Online Complaints System
    This University just keeps getting more tech-savvy, doesn’t it? The HWC wasn’t one to be left behind, with the initiation of their new online complaints submission system in the odd semester, for those of us too lazy to write in the register kept with the guards. While the registers still function, the online system is used for non-urgent matters since complaints submitted via the Committee’s Google form are checked only once a week.
  • First Aid Box
    Headache? Fever? Sprained your ankle? The HWC can help with that! The Committee has made available in both hostels a first aid box, kept with HWC representatives, for all your aches and pains. The move is probably the most practical action the Committee has taken this year, one which has saved countless students the hassle of going door-to-door in search of a thermometer or the like.
  • Cleanliness Checklist System
    You’ve probably noticed a checklist at the entrance of each of the bathrooms and next to the water coolers, meant to keep track of the day-to-day cleanliness and repairs. You have also probably noticed that this A4-sized paper is often blank and unused, other than the initial days when the system was introduced. Oops.
  • Attention to University Staff
    Kudos to this Committee for keeping in mind their obligations not just to the students of the University, but the support staff as well! This year, the HWC arranged for a separate room in the Boys’ Hostel for the guards whose shifts have been extended to midnight, in light of the new library timings. Further, the HWC remembered to keep in mind hygiene of University staff and not just students, in that they arranged for gloves for maids while they clean. Just small things we believe can go a long way.
  • Fumigation
    We’ve all seen the masked men come by twice a week the past semester, drowning the hostels in clouds of smoke in the vain hope that something would drive away the mosquitoes. It didn’t work. They changed the medicine they used for fumigation. It still didn’t work. What can one do about mosquitoes immune to just about everything from All Out to Odomos to insecticides? Maybe this is a question for scientific researchers and not the HWC.
  • Pest Control
    If the thought of cockroaches and the like makes you jittery, it will be comforting to know that the HWC ensures that the hostels are regularly sprayed with pesticides. The Committee also keeps pesticides for rats, which it uses on a complaint-by-complaint basis. And yet, we encounter new creepy-crawlies in our rooms everyday. Whether this can be ascribed to the inefficacy of the pest control system, or to the inescapable vagaries of nature, is up to you to decide.
  • Water Heaters
    We can almost feel the glares of the boys of this University through our laptop screens. Sensitive topic alert. The Committee installed two new boilers this year; one each in the boys’ and girls’ hostel. While the supply of hot water in winters in the Girls’ Hostel was uninterrupted, the Boys’ Hostel did face a severe shortage of hot water, and the matter took around a month to resolve. Internal University politics and a lack of funds has been cited as the reason for this inefficiency.
  • Vending Machines
    Keeping in mind the dearth of food options around campus post 9 P.M., the HWC came up with the novel suggestion of vending machines for those nights when you have the midnight munchies. What they didn’t anticipate were the security concerns, installation of cameras and surveillance issues that it entailed. Well tried, Hostel Welfare Committee.
  • Water Coolers & R.O.s
    The water in the coolers has been described as “chlorine-y”, chemical-infested and salty by numerous students over the course of the year, so much so that some have even resorted to ordering their own drinking water! On a campus that prides itself as the “best of the best”, it is quite pitiful that we cannot claim access to safe drinking water. The Committee’s response to this seems to be that despite numerous attempts to resolve the issue, it is mired in the University’s administrative politics. Unclean water gave you typhoid? There might be something in the first-aid box for that.

It’s been a lukewarm year for the Hostel Welfare Committee (just like the water in the boys’ bathrooms). While we criticise their apparent unresponsiveness when it comes to important issues, perhaps it is worth keeping in mind the internal administrative politics that play out in such situations. One of the major issues with the Committee has been the lack of even representation of both genders in its members, which makes getting concerns addressed that much more difficult – just another reminder to the student body to vote sensibly!

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4 thoughts on “The Year In Review: Hostel Welfare Committee

  1. Dear writers of the article,

    A rare 6:4 ratio of girls and boys does not seem like a gross imbalance calling for sensible voting. However, it would be great if you could draw attention to the extreme under-representation of women in the Sports Committee (9:1- elected members). We write this because the idea of under-representation of boys in HWC represents a distorted reality. Had the ratio been reversed, no question of under-representation of girls would have probably arisen.
    – Sonal and Shweta

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    • Hi Shweta and Sonal,

      Just a few clarifications. The boy:girl ratio in the Committee was, in fact, 3:6 (3:7 at the beginning of the academic year).

      The reason we have highlighted the skewed gender ratio in the case of the HWC is because the Committee’s work is of such a nature that ideally, equal representation across both hostels is necessary for its smooth functioning. The present third year batch voted two male representatives in their first year, which proved highly inconvenient for the girls. The next year, the batch voted in two female representatives, which was then inconvenient for the boys. The experience has been that approaching a) senior/junior HWC representatives of the same gender, and b) HWC representatives of the same batch but the opposite gender, is cumbersome and inefficient. The issues related to hostel welfare are best resolved by someone who lives on the same floor as you; someone who has to put up with the same leaky faucet, or like you, has to go floor to floor for drinking water because of the malfunctioning R.O. in your wing.

      We believe it is extremely important to be represented by your batch AND your gender in the HWC, since the hostels for both genders are separate. Our objection to the gender imbalance was in light of the practical issues it throws up, and not an ideological-based stance.

      -Team Glasnost

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  2. This was especially disconcerting for third years, as they had no representation on the committee. Most of them had to resort to taking things in their own hands for much of the year.

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  3. Factual correction: the boys to girls ratio of hwc this year was 3:7 and not 4:6.
    I think one has to keep in mind that we have 2 different hostels for girls and boys. So having one girl and one boy from each batch in the hwc will increase the functioning efficiency of hwc from practical perspective, as the representatives can personally witness the problems reported and follow them up till the time they are resolved. Suggestion: write one girl’s one boy’s name on the ballot paper if u hav the option to write 2 names.

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