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Mapping change

The graduate student council is responsible for initiatives on operations and sustainability on the ISB campus. Operation is about information technology , food and beverages, accommodation and infrastructure, while sustainability deals with aspects of change. The student body plays an active role in raising awareness about sustainability through campaigns such as the recent initiative , Bijlee, which was about conservation of electricity on campus. A marketing campaign was held among students as a part of the initiative, where the best campaign was given an award. There was also a competition between student villages (hostels) on saving electricity where the village with the least per capita consumption was given an award.

Another campaign was a biketrail organised on Children's Day where children from around the campus and also of employees of corporates near the institute were invited to a tour of the 164-acre campus on bicycles. We are now planning to make a bicycle station, to help reduce carbon footprint.

On the operations side, while the hospitality management is outsourced to an external contractor, the student team takes decisions related to food and beverages on campus from deciding the menu, evaluating the price charged by the contractor, evaluating the quality , and is empowered to even penalise the contractor monetarily, in case of any breach. This gives us practical experience in managing operations and in the design and implementation of sustainable initiatives that will help us when we join the industry.

A core part of the work is to manage change. To make change sustainable, there are a few steps that have to be followed. First, an active discussion with stakeholders to map the change desired is required, taking everyone's interests and concerns into consideration . However, there will still be resistance from some stakeholders . This can be solved by engaging with them and explaining why change is required; showing them the bigger picture as well as the smaller advantages. For those who are still reluctant or in opposition, we have to further take their opinions into consideration, and if required , bring about modifications.

Implementing the change is the final step after which, a careful evaluation and highlighting advantages would make future initiatives easy in the light of benefits derived. Change is a continuous process and has to be brought about in phases. The greater the participation of those involved, the more beneficial it is to all.

Source: Times of India

Wednesday , 14   December , 2011