The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) once again set the stage for Saarang, its annual cultural extravaganza, largest student-run festival in the country, from January 10th to 14th, 2024. This year, the festival took a significant leap towards sustainability and environmental conservation with the launch of its social campaign, ‘Urjam’.
Focused on the theme of ‘Energy Conservation,’ ‘Urjam’ underscores the urgency of adopting sustainable practices in daily life. The campaign seeks to engage students and the youth in identifying and addressing issues related to energy consumption, making a lasting impact on their mindset and behaviour towards a more energy-efficient future.
The launch event of ‘Urjam’ was a vibrant affair, featuring dynamic showcases from various cultural clubs at IIT Madras, alongside engaging stalls set up by the writing and informal club.
By collaborating with Teach For India, ‘Urjam’ extends its reach beyond the campus, aiming to mould young minds into proponents of environmentally friendly behaviours. Saarang’s team visited several schools in Chennai. Saarang also hosted a series of workshops and lectures, including a spotlight session by Suraj Vallamkonda, an IIT Madras alumni and head of Ather Energy’s Battery Engineering team, who shared insights into the electric vehicle sector’s transformative journey towards sustainability.
Another highlight was the session ‘How to Become a Grassroots Entrepreneur’ by SustainabilityNext, which brought together scholars, entrepreneurs, and government officials to delve into the vital need for mentorship and accessible funding for Indian entrepreneurs, particularly those aiming to make a mark in the green technology and sustainability sectors. Esteemed speakers, included Nagaraja Prakasam, a prominent angel investor and author; Sanjeeta Kumar of OGMO Foods, a pioneer in revitalizing ancient minor millets; and Manjula Gandhi Rooban of Mangopoint.
The session was moderated by Benedict Paramanand, CEO of SustainabilityNext and founder of the Green Literature Festival. The session offered a unique opportunity to learn from the best in the field of sustainable entrepreneurship. This addition to the Saarang lineup underscored the festival’s commitment to fostering an environment where innovation meets sustainability, encouraging young entrepreneurs to explore eco-friendly business ventures.
Looking ahead, ‘Urjam’ plans to conduct further awareness and educational sessions, including a visit to the Greenwings factory, a Chennai-based company known for its eco-friendly sanitary products. This visit aims to enlighten students about sustainable manufacturing processes and the use of natural materials.
Saarang 2024, through ‘Urjam’, not only provided a platform for showcasing talent and fostering innovation but also reinforced the festival’s commitment to environmental responsibility, inspiring participants to contribute to a more sustainable future actively.