For a club that primarily focuses on fine-tuning one’s delivery of English among other soft skills, it’s fairly easy for one to fall for and believe the common consensus that the Gavel club happens to be a collective, which for the most part, houses Sri Lanka’s so-called ‘posh’ student community. However, as an individual who attended their most recent Orientation session, I’d like to take this opportunity to both comfortably and firmly deny those rumours and set the record straight. So, if the club isn’t what most people claim it to be, what exactly is it then? Well, to answer that and more why don’t we explore what went down at the Gavel Freshers Orientation Programme, 2021.
In a nutshell, the Gavel club is unquestionably a safe haven for people of all walks of life to get together and share their passion of mastering their speech and the exchanging of ideas. A sense of immediate comfortability and ease was cemented in our minds from the very opening of the event itself. GV Dasitha, the current President of the Gavel club, took no delay in explaining that the club was, is, and always will be a club that is defined by passion and the love that people have for interaction, communication, and development as opposed to that of class or status. That the club was not only for people who already had a fine hand in English but for those that were determined to learn the language as well. It helped most of us, who were unsure of what to expect having heard all these rumours about the club, to be reassured of the club’s welcoming nature to everyone of all walks of life, and to finally be able to lay those rumours to rest. It felt nice to feel at ease, to know that our concerns were heard and that they themselves weren’t very different from us as they too had humble beginnings.
Now, the Orientation itself, could be split into two main segments. One which focused on the information-heavy briefings that introduced the all the newbies to the proceedings of the club and the other which focused on creating a sense of companionship and interaction through the wonderful use of two interactive games. I’ve always thought that the difficulty in keeping a crowd’s undivided attention while simultaneously ensuring there’s enough moments of fun as well, was something that was extremely hard to accomplish but leaves it to the Organizing Committee of the event to prove me wrong. I cannot stress how beautifully the event managed to create this insane balance between informative sessions and fun-filled activities and how they transitioned between the two so smoothly. It’s an event that managed to keep that fine balance through and through, all the way to the very end. Hats off to the Organizing Committee in that regard!
The sessions whose primary focus was on familiarizing the new recruits with the proceedings of the club were done so well! With descriptive flowcharts gracing our eyes alongside the beautifully designed presentations that were put forward, allowed us to gain a very clear and comprehensive idea as to how each segment of a general Gavel meeting procedure would occur. From GV Sanjula’s wonderful overview about Gavel educational meetings and what happens in them to GV Susara’s descriptive presentation of how best to write, structure, and present your speech, each of these sessions brought out such detail yet was done in such a way that it was easy to both understand and digest. You’d think that sessions that consist of a blowout of information one after the other would prove itself to be quite boring but honestly, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Each segment was just as interesting as it was informative.
But what is an orientation session without a little bit of fun sprinkled in to lift the mood, wouldn’t you agree? Fun was an element that we found no shortage of within the span of the two and a half hours we spent learning the ins and outs of how the club functioned. But never too much to the point that we lost track of what we learnt either. It was the perfect meld of both informative briefings and fun games that managed to ensure that there was never really a dull moment or prolonged period of introductions that made it feel boring or a bit hard to listen to. The selection of games was commendable I should add! While they existed to lighten the mood and got everyone to interact with each other, it indirectly centered itself on bringing out our creativity and narrative skills and that’s what I appreciated about it. These games tested our creativity and pushed our storytelling abilities, where we had to learn how to capture ideas on a whim and develop them as they came. While they were fun in their own way, it was also very wholesome to witness and listen to the stories that each team had come up with. What was first filled with silence when the seniors asked people to volunteer and speak in the beginning was now filled with people clawing their way to get the chance to speak as each group’s representatives rushed to share their stories. The sheer enthusiasm that stemmed from the crowd was infectious and an absolute thrill to witness!
Now, while the briefings, games, and stories were all good fun and wonderful in their own right, I, personally, feel like it would be such an injustice if I didn’t touch upon the most important observation I made during this event. And that was non-other than the people who made it all possible. The EXCO and the seniors of Gavel who came together to create an event, one that was so beautifully orchestrated and well thought out that it would be a crime to not notice and appreciate the love and care that went into every single little detail of this event that they organized for us. Clearly, from my firsthand exposure to the event, the club is run by those that are undoubtedly passionate about what they do and the club that they run. Like a family of supportive siblings, it didn’t take long for us to feel both at home and at ease. We felt accepted but most importantly, we felt like we belonged.
While I cannot comment on what awaits us in the future, what I can say with utmost certainty, however, is that it sure is an exciting time to be a gavelier!