Instilling Social Responsibility in Students
Dr. Renjith R. Pillai, Chairperson and Veena Suresh, Teaching Assistant, both of the Department of Social Work recently collaborated with Bri. Meera SR, Lecturer in Sanskrit, Amrita School of Arts and Sciences to present a paper on Amrita Sanjeevani.
The paper titled Instilling Social Responsibility in Undergraduate Students: Amrita University Model was presented at the Second Annual Conference on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Social Responsibility: Empirical Evidences of Best Practices in Bangalore, India.
This conference was organized by the Centre for Social Research (CSR), India in association with the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Christ University, Bangalore.
Amrita Sanjeevani is the student seva association at Amritapuri campus. Guided by the motto, pray with your heart and serve with your hands, the association organizes youth camps, awareness campaigns and workshops. The association also sponsors the education of several children through its activities and organizes fund raisers for the needy.
During festivals such as Diwali and Onam, student members volunteer at orphanages, schools and old age homes.
But above all, the association passionately embraces and promotes eco-friendly living. Its members tend to an organic garden in their free time in the evenings and weekends.
“Our members see beauty and value, where others see trash,” the association office-bearers proudly note.
They oversee the efforts to create greeting cards, pen stands, bracelets, key chains and wall hangings, from waste materials carefully retrieved and restored.
Inspired by the work of Amrita Sanjeevani, the co-authors of the paper studied its social activities, assessing the level of social responsibility inculcated among students.
“In our study through random sampling using a questionnaire, taking a population of sixty students, we could see a significant increase in the level of social responsibility among students after becoming associated with the activities of Amrita Sanjeevani,” they shared.
“The program is definitely helping students develop more awareness of their dharma towards the community and environment, and imparting noble values to young minds,” they added.
“This model can be replicated in other educational institutions,” they underlined.
Amrita Sanjeevani has a new Serve-an-Hour initiative also, wherein students undertake different service activities during their free time on the week days, for at least an hour, guided by their teachers, who volunteer for this non-academic endeavor.
“Amma always remind us to include sneham (love) and seva in the blueprint of all programs. Through her own satsangs, our Chancellor is constantly seeking to create awareness about environmental and societal issues,” explained Bri. Meera.
“We are proud of the fact that our university was appreciated at the conference for these socially responsible activities. The organizers encouraged other colleges to also consider implementing such initiatives,” she added.
May 7, 2013