Sunday, February 20, 2011

Forming Student Network

            Network is an interconnected system of things or people. In communications, the most accurate and simplest definition of a network refers to the cables and electronic components that amplify the signals going through the cables. The amplifying equipment is necessary to ensure accurate communication and make the signal stronger if it needs to go long distances. 

Although the word 'network' was initially used in the communications field only it is now being used persistently in every sector. For eg- Ujjyalo 90 Network, a network of community radios in Nepal. Others example are- Hotel Association of Kathmandu, Golden Gate Education Foundation etc.

"Networking is not a one-way street, but a two-or more way road. It is always about a win-win situation, in which all parties are satisfied. The important concept in the network is that everyone is comfortable with both giving help and making requests" (Ahvenainen 5)

With the motto of taking and giving help to students of media, mass communication and journalism a network named "SAHAYATRA- an inter college media students network" has been formed from the student level.

Concept of Sahayatra
The number of institutions that give courses in media, journalism and mass communication is increasing.  In the similar way students’ attraction and interest toward media, journalism and mass communication is also growing. Every year a lot of students get enrolled in the programs run by Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu University, Purvanchal University and Higher Secondary Education Board (HSEB) to study mass communication and journalism.

The present situation revealed that students who are pursuing their education in the mass communication field are not aware of the strength and space for improvement in the academic and professional field of the same discipline. In this context, realizing the importance of a network, that should have been established much earlier SAHAYATRA- an inter college media students network has been formed.

The main objectives of this network to establish an association between students of different colleges so that an environment of mutual sharing is created and to help students grow in the practical field of the discipline.
The initiation for the formation of network was taken by Media Studies Group of Kathmandu University. Before establishing the network "SAHAYATRA- an inter college media students network"  a program named "SAHAYATRA- an inter college media students meet" was organized in Kathmandu University by the students of Media Studies. It is only through the program the network has been successfully formed because it provided the necessary platform for the students to interact about the possibilities of working together in a network. The program was conducted in three stride. In the first phase, pre-discussion program was held to have discussions about the network to be formed and it's possible structure. The main program was  concentrated on conveying the situation and status of media in Nepal via. academicians and professionals of media industry. In the third step a post-discussion program was held to review the main porgram and officially form the network.
SAHAYATRA-an inter college media students network is the first of its kind in Nepal. At present 22 colleges are working together in the network. Presently the network is working to make it's bylaws and register it in the District Administrative Office. The network is shortly publishing a twelve pages newspaper and it is also organizing "all nepal media quiz contest". So far everything is going well and we are working hard for the organization's bright future.

Ways to Start a Networking Group

Starting a networking group takes time and effort. Not only do you have to create excitement, but you also have to sustain the momentum so people continue to attend. Five things to remember….
  1. Ensure that you build a solid board of directors or volunteers. You can't do this alone, so enlist the help of volunteers who share your vision.
  2. Craft your association bylaws early. This will save you alot of grief in the long run. The bylaws help you to govern your group so that it runs more smoothly. It also helps you in deciding how elections will be run, how board members will be replaced and how you'll manage your group's money.
  3. Plan your year's events before you launch your group. Nothing will irritate new members more than to attend a launch for your new networking group with no other events planned for the rest of the year. Keep the momentum going by ensuring you have planned out the timing of your future events. If possible, make it the same time each month eg. the third Thursday or the first Monday. That way, people can plan ahead.
  4. Decide early what your mission and strategy is for the first year. Being able to briefly tell people why you're doing, what you're doing can make the difference. Understand why you're creating this new networking group by crafting a winning mission statement and strategies for the upcoming year.
  5. Understand whether your new group conflicts with another. People are more willing to support networking groups that offer something new.
Prospects and Challenges
Every thing comes up with both prospects and challenges. So have SAHAYATRA done. It also have chance equal to succeed or fail. 

Concentrating on the brighter part of the network we can say it can turn out to be a platform for students of media, mass communication and journalism to grind their skills by participating in different media related activities of SAHAYATRA and show their presence in the media market.

Since SAHAYATRA network is still in its early days so it's obvious for it to have challenges more than prospects. Regarding challenges, the ability to maintain good communication between the students of the network is of greatest challenge. Secondly, there comes the monetary issue because financial support is very important for an organization to run and perform it's activities. Moreover all the members of SAHAYATRA- an inter college media students meet are students and thus can't donate big sum of money to the network. The issue of regularity is the third challenge for the network because we all are students and we know that students have tendency to panic in difficult conditions which could end up their involvement form the network.

Contributor: Amol Acharya 

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