Two cents from someone who's been in LUMUN, YLES, Olympiad and Synergies

An email I sent to LUMS Student Events list, Students Council and Mazhar Chinoy (Head of Student Affairs) on 7th February, 2009, in response to a student-run society issue. I’m not surprised to see how relevant some of the points still are.

After reading Saad Gulzar’s post (, I was compelled to add my two cents.

Over my 2 and a half years at LUMS, I’ve been involved with LUMUN (06-07-08), YLES (07-08), Olympiad (07-08) and Synergies (08). I’ve also interacted with a lot of people who haven’t been active in societies so don’t know what goes on “behind the scenes”. This list of people includes students, faculty and staff.

The Problem

The term “behind the scenes” does not refer to the management of these events, it instead refers to what actually happens in the morning behind the veil of “Social Events” - the actual purpose of the event.

Social Events

Every society raises substantial amount of money (through sponsorships and participation fee) every year for their respective event. A considerable fraction of that money is spent on elaborate arrangements for Social Events. These events come in different shapes and forms: concert, dinner, masquerade ball, carnival, etc. The amount of importance given to planning and execution and hype of these events is ever increasing.


Consider a student who is not active in societies. If his parents visit him on campus and ask him: “What is YLES?”. How will he respond? He would probably say he doesn’t know because it doesn’t concern him. His parents would then look at the kids roaming around campus and be forced to assume it’s one of those many events that happen at LUMS every so often where truckloads of kids come and waste time. Maybe they do something productive behind closed doors, maybe they don’t. Who cares?

Morning “Events”

“Work” part of these events happens in the morning and after lunch. And, it’s all in auditoriums with no observers welcomed/allowed. People not associated with the event only see the concert and the dinner happening and the non-LUMS people roaming outside. Most people at LUMS usually step out after midday. That’s when the participants of these events are done with the day-time activities and are relaxing around on campus. And then the social events or “play” time starts.

Post Event

LUMUN’s “endeavor is not only to create awareness about global issues facing our world today, but also to provide a forum for young delegates to speak their minds out through meaningful and well-informed debate." What resolutions were passed this year? Or in previous years?

YLES is a "week long event (that) will provide the students a chance to display their talents and hone their skills as future leaders and entrepreneurs." What ideas were presented last year? Or in previous years? What became of those ideas?

Olympiad is "an exciting palette of activities that will bring out the Picassoes and Beethovens in you”. Did the last event bring out any Picassoes or Beethovens? Where can we see their work?

For those who still can’t see the fundamental problem, I’ll spell it out. I work in NEWT in the CS department - it’s a research lab. Some people have been working there for the last two to three years. They’ve seen all these events and their participants come and go. But NONE of them has any clear idea about the content of any event. What do they see? Over-dressed “kid” couples roaming around campus arm in arm looking for a “spot” and with no shame whatsoever because it’s LUMS - nobody can say anything.

The Proposed Solution


Everybody in LUMS should have some idea of what the event is. Some people mentioned “ownership” of the institution in their emails. Ownership is only possible when you know what’s happening. This also would be greatly helped if societies write coherent introductory paragraphs on their websites. Case in point: Sending out a mass mail introducing the event (NOT in colored flashy fonts) should also be productive.

Take pride

Ownership should not just be limited to the campus or the ammenities provided to you. Being a Lumunite, you should be proud when LUMUN wins the WorldMUN, when all societies collaborate and hold the largest events of its kind, the Olympiad or when sharp kids present their brilliant ads at YLES. Being or not being part of a particular society should NOT decide whether you can take pride in their achievement.

Be more accessible

These events need to be accessible to LUMS students not associated with the event and, perhaps in the future, to the general public. Observers should be allowed in auditoriums. It does not necessarily have to involve physical presence; events can even have a greater online presence. For instance, the entries of the Olympiad Music Video competition could be uploaded on it’s website. Visitors could vote for their favourite picks!

Quality, not quantity

LES people are unfortunate that YLES can’t be held in the quarter break. They have to make certain compromises in terms of setup due to the non-availability of auditoriums. Luminites have also been forced to make compromises in terms of longer PDC lines, etc. However, the inconvenience caused would have been greatly reduced if the participation was limited to 400 people instead of 800 or so. If Luminites in general can make compromises and forgo some of their rights, I’m sure LES can also make do with lesser participation at YLES and instead focus more on quality.

Build credibility: be transparent

Ideas, material, documents, videos, etc. presented at the conferences should be uploaded (made accessible) after the event so that the general public can judge their performance and make an informed opinion. The content could also be summarized in a report and presented to the Media. This would not only establish the credibility of the event but would also promote the image of LUMS!

I hope my two cents will make LUMS a better place.

title: silence is golden
type: manipulated cover

|i xinister/lumunous own nothing except for the final product|


model: Bridget Malcolm
other stocks: the creator(s) was not stated with the file or i may have forgotten who the maker(s) are, but the credit goes to the rightful owner(s).

note: lumunous is my current username on wattpad.
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