September 27, 2011
“The world’s problems can be solved once people truly understand their root cause,” stated Chancellor Amma, speaking to a gathering of lakhs of devotees assembled at the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham campus during her 58th birthday celebrations.
“The younger generation should become aware of the importance of love, selfless service and humility,” Amma emphasized.
These qualities were in full display as Amrita students strove together in the name of Amala Bharatam and took the student-led campaign to its next level.
On the day prior to the birthday nearly 400 students participated in a cycle rally from Kollam to Amritapuri, reiterating the need for maintaining cleanliness and bringing down global carbon dioxide emissions.
Led by faculty from the departments of Physical Education and Social Work, the students were flagged off by the Mayor of Kollam as well as the District Collector. Dr. Sankaran, Principal, Amrita School of Engineering, rode alongside his students, setting a fine example for all.
This cycle rally was the second time in two weeks that Amrita students had taken to the streets to help raise awareness. On Car Free Day, September 22, they had not only organized a cycle rally, they had also ensured that no one commuted to campus using a personal vehicle.
Passing through Makavoor, Vallikkezhu temple, Chavara, Karunagapally and Vallikavu, the participants this time attracted a lot of attention. Street plays were staged to depict the stark reality of the world today.
“We tried to graphically present how man exploits nature,” shared Maratt L.T., second-year student of MSc (Computer Science) who conceived some of the plays. “We focused on various ways in which man negatively impacts Mother Nature so that people could understand and begin to change their ways.”
Students had more opportunities to help people understand and change at the recycling stalls put up on campus especially for the birthday. Even though lakhs of people were present, the grounds remained fairly clean. Students and other volunteers swiftly gathered the waste, sorted it, recycled or otherwise disposed of it in an environmentally friendly manner.
Right next to the recycling stalls were exhibitions of beautiful handicrafts the students had made from discarded items. A quarterly newsletter was also launched to showcase these efforts.
When asked what gift they would like to give Amma on her birthday, students had many interesting answers.
For Naseema U., third-year student of B.Sc. (Visual Media) at Amrita’s Kochi campus, it was about giving through seva and doing as much good as possible. Her classmate Lijomole Jose emphasized the need to cut down on the use of electricity and raise awareness about global emissions.
Yeshasvi, first-year student of B.Tech. (ECE) from Bengaluru campus had some notions of serving society before coming to Amritapuri to participate in Chancellor Amma’s birthday celebrations.
“After coming here I learned that it’s the small things that we do that add up together to form a bigger whole. I just want to spread the message that it is very easy to serve, and I want to tell people how much joy we get from serving,” he smilingly said.