Each year we come back from Banga Sammelan with mixed feelings. While our insatiable apetite for nostalgia and adda gets whetted irrespective of facilities and logistics, a comfortable arrangement coupled with quality events make it a truly memorable experience. Participants in the Countdown to Banga Sammelan Podcast have been echoing their sentiments about Banga Sammelan for the past two years, in general praising the massive annual undertaking while expressing reservations about few key areas. For the organizers, much of the feedback process so far has been personal perceptions and heresay. So this year Cultural Association of Bengal or CAB as it is well known - the primary sponsor of Banga Sammelan, decided to conduct a survey among registrants. One could rate various categories like Cultural Events, Food arrangements, Hotel facilities, Registration procedure etc. "Right now it's in black and white and people are saying", says Siddhartha Basu, member of the CAB executive committee. "The whole idea is that we can go back to the organizers of the Sammelan and inform them about the facts collected so that problems can be mitigated", adds Basu. Three lucky winners among survey respondents would be getting free registration for San Francisco Banga Sammelan.
The results of this year's survey reflected the general sentiment we heard among Toronto attendees. (watch and hear attendee comments). The opening ceremony was the crowd's favorite with 87% of the survey respondents rating it Good or Excellent. Registration procedure was close behind with 77%. Food and event management got the most unfavorable response. To be fair to the 2008 organizers though, it was only on the first day that the food arrangements and event schedulings were inadequate - we hardly heard any complaints during the next two days as the organizers did a fine job of bringing things under control. But by then, in the minds of most of the attendees, the verdict on these two important aspects of the Sammelan had already been delivered. This highlights the importance of planning and perhaps a regular survey would be a useful tool in this process.The survey has a broader connotation too. Basu adds, "We also want to use this survey to study the demographics of Bengalis in North America so that we can deliver better service for their needs." A step in the right direction, may we add.
The survey is closed but you are welcome to leave your comments here. After all, if the needs are better articulated by us, the organizers can plan the events and services that much better.