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#campusconnect: iVolunteer - why this serve and learn mantra is trending

pune Updated: Oct 26, 2018 15:24 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Campus connect,students

Students make biscuits and cookies at Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth in Pune.(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

The students of all departments of Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth are gearing up for a two-day Diwali exhibition on October 27-28, for a cause that will be driven on campus. Students are volunteering to be part of this exhibition. “The idea of ‘shramdaan’ (gift of labour) is not new to India or to its traditions. Volunteering is in fact an integral part of the society that we live in and we all value it,” said Geetali Tilak Mone, head, mass communication and media, Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth.

Ten students of hotel management, despite having their exams, are busy baking batches of cookies for sale for this event. The money earned will be used for a social cause and will also be donated to various NGOs. “A group of 10 students from each department will create items and sell their crafts to generate funds to help. This was strictly voluntarily and we have received a very good response,” added Mone.

Samruddhi Apte, a third-year student of hotel management, simply loves to help and despite her viva. “I love volunteering. It is an inbuilt quality in me and I simply can’t resist it. My parents taught me to help others selflessly and I get immense joy by doing so.” Similarly, her classmate Rohit Darvitkar enjoys volunteering too. “Volunteering gives you an opportunity to make new friends and learn new things,” he adds; on birthdays, he prefers celebrating with senior citizens at a retirement home, as “it brings a smile on their faces and it is quality time spent there”.

With the government of India taking a keen interest in getting students from diverse backgrounds together through their most ambitious and on-going scheme of ‘swacha and swastha bharat abhiyan rashtriya dindi’ and other kinds of volunteering schemes hinting beyond the national social service (NSS), volunteering has seen a rise in many students opting to volunteer in order to help others.

The notice boards of the various departments of the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) have many notices for volunteering, not just within the campus, but also outside. “We have always encouraged students to volunteer and every department has some event or activity,” said Prabhakar Desai, director, student development and director of national social service scheme. “What we have seen within the university is that three years ago there used to be upto 10 students per day volunteering, but now the number of students who want to volunteer has gone up to 25 students per day. Students are coming forward with the idea to volunteer and this indeed is a healthy trend,” said Desai.

Colleges have always encouraged extra-curricular activities. Students who volunteer receive certificates for their work, not just that, their voluntary work will also be considered for some extra credits. “Volunteering is now being considered as an opportunity to groom one’s personality, leadership skills, social and cultural relationship. The government is also thinking of giving credits to students for volunteering and has issued a directive to all universities,” said Desai, who has many students opting for a cleanliness drive.

It is not always the idea of credit that drives the students to volunteer, but the idea of inter-disciplinary work also is an impetus. “The willingness to learn more or to do different things is the driving force for many of the students and it is also a chance to groom themselves and arm themselves with different skill sets while volunteering,” said Desai.

Some students also reap the benefit of volunteering, like Sanket Patil, student of mass communication who gets paid for volunteering as a photographer. “It is a good concept to have an earning and learning facility, volunteering. It helps students gain confidence.”

Talking about a rise in voluntary service, Dr Survana Sathe, principal, hotel management department and head of art and culture circle at Tilak vidyapeeth, said, “No part of volunteering is measured in cash or kind but the joy of learning to help and create something better gives the students better choices for their future. We have received tremendous response from students for helping the warkaris (pilgrims), or to help the police during the Ganpati festival or even for tree plantation drives, volunteering adds to their personality and makes them better human beings.”

First Published: Oct 26, 2018 14:57 IST