Organizing Yukti Essay competition
#1
Information 
Hi All,

This is a thread to announce the planning for Yukti Essay Competition and a call for participation from members of this community. We need help doing various tasks outlined below. Please reply, or mail me offline if you're interested. (anil dot verve at gmail)

Once we have a team in place, we'll start our planning sessions.

Yukti Essay Contest 2011

Mission
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To fight the rise of superstition, we need to target the youth whe they are young. The mission here is to conduct a science essay contest among bacherlors students atleast 10000 students. The essays will be on the topics of superstition, critical thinking and humanism.

We can also plan on reaching out to younger students (10th, 11/12th), but need to consider the extra resources this will need (worrying about guardian permissions, reaching out to individual schools physically, etc). Once the team is in place, these points will be open for discussion.

Planning
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We need help with the following

* Topic selection and contest scheduling

This task involves identifying the theme of the contest, and figuring out how long it will run, and what the important dates are. The dates should not clash with any other, and should be targetted to some science days to help with good media exposure. Also plan on how students will send in entries.

* Website, backend and posters.

Create a simple site for the event and the backend to take in entries. Create posters that will be sent out to colleges/institutions.

* Prizes, distribution

What are the prizes going to be? Can we get a celebrity to come and distribute it. Can we book a place like Vishweshwaraiyah Museum to distribute prizes. Can we pay for winning students travel?

* Fundraising

The most immediate task. We are aiming for prizes worth 3 lac in total. By targeting 10-20000 students, we can get many 18-24 oriented brands. Individual sponsors are another option.

* Media outreach

Reach out to media organizations to announce the contest with articles. Also see if we can get the winning entries featured, in exchange for media sponsorship tag.

* Outreach

Reaching out to internet savvy students will be easy via social networks. We need to amplify the effect of this to reach out targetted audience. Apart from viral online spreading of the contest, we can send out posters to colleges.

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Please volunteer if you have a little time to spend with helping with the effort, you are sure to have rewarding time in return.

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On behalf of the Yukti Team,
Anil
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#2
Anil, since you posted it in the Bangalore section, is this limited to Bangalore?
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#3
The idea initially is for a local competition, but given that the contest logistics would mostly be online, we'd be open to have this as a nationwide event. This would depend on the organizer-volunteer interest we get from around the country. I'll also post this in the general forums.
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#4
Great initiative and enthusiasm as always, Bangalore Freethinkers!

Here are a few suggestions that come to mind...

1) 'Imagined conversations' or correspondence are a category of essay topics rich with possibilities for both high-school students and undergrads.
Some possible imagined conversations could be...
- "If you were to write to HRD/Science and Technology minister of India..." (It may not be too much to expect the best entries to have worthwhile enough suggestions to warrant sending them to Kapil Sibal! That would be one useful externality)
- What would you say to dissuade the parents of daughter/son with a supposed astrological deficiency from undertaking exorbitant rituals?
- If you had an hour with a classroom of ten-year-olds to speak of the glories of science as a profession and career, what would you tell them? (Responses to this maybe reusable in other science-popularization settings.)

2) To encourage scientific literature surveys and critical thinking, we could assign readings regarding a controversial topic like Bt cotton in India, where there is no dearth of news items giving arguments on both sides, and ask students to present their own conclusions on the issue. Critical appraisals of the proposed river inter-linking project maybe useful too.

3) It maybe a good idea to approach Karnataka-based columnist Sugata Srinivasaraju as a judge for the competition, since he seems to be quite a vocal freethought advocate (check out related writings here and here.)
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