Hyderabad: Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” It is a journey that the VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology has undertaken through their Student Force NGO. There has been no quick fix. It was a slow but steady movement that the Student Force initiated which has now become the ‘Force.’
Through the Student Force NGO for the last six years, students have donated thousands of notebooks to schools and orphanages.
The Student Force is a team of 177 members. They collect old, used paper and books from college students, at the end of each semester.
Sai Ganesh Boora, a student coordinator of the college, said, “At the end of each semester we collect around 5 to 6 tonnes of used paper. We sell this paper to a recycling unit and use the money earned to buy books. The college students decide on the type of books, the image on the cover page and paper quality.”
In the last semester, 20 schools from the two Telugu speaking states sought help from the Student Force. Ganesh says, “The 20 schools required 20,000 books. But due to shortage of funds, we were able to produce only 7,500 books.”
So how did they manage to fulfil the shortfall?
Sai Ganesh says, “The college students came up with a plan. A campaign called, ‘Each One, Donate One’ was launched. We asked our classmates to donate one book. Many contributed towards the cause. Some with books and some gave money. It helped us to fulfil meet the requirement.”
But besides helping others, the Student Force NGO has ensured that the college also reduces the usage of paper. Two years prior, students used to write on one side of their books while submitting their projects and record notes. Now, both the sides of the paper are used. This initiative alone helped reduce the scrap for a single semester from 5 tons to 3 tons collected by the college.
The Student Force team, not only donates books but also visits schools to give motivational talks on the importance of studies. Sai Ganesh said, “When we talk with these school children, they think they will end up like their parents, working for less money. So, we tell them that they can try harder and pursue higher studies. We have had students connect back with us to let us know that they have joined a college.”
Dr. K. Padmaja, the faculty coordinator for Student Force, said, “Teaching and non-teaching staff of the college also contribute. We encourage students to take part in and manage the organisation. It helps them develop leadership qualities.”
She also added that, Principal Dr. CD Naidu , Director Dr Chennakeshwara Rao and Dean Dr Narendra Kumar of the college, have supported the students and faculty, with their initiative.