Why is volunteering important for students?
The purpose of quality education is to nurture the right values in students, making them active participants in the affairs of the community and the nation
Business education should focus on the application of business concepts to make our lives better. The knowledge acquired should be able to serve society for the larger good. We, at the UPES School of Business, try to nurture values like compassion, care and a sense of giving back to the world through our various CSR initiatives. These activities play a big role in inculcating leadership skills, problem solving ability and empathy in future managers.
I remember the community service activities carried out by our students in 2014. The students visited a school for special kids in Dehradun and engaged them by storytelling, musical chairs, colouring etc under the guidance of their teachers. In the quest of bringing them happiness, we too got a great sense of satisfaction and joy.
As part of the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’ in April 2016, our students undertook a cleanliness drive near Premnagar, Dehradun. A total of 320 students of BBA batch: 2015-18 and 12 faculty members participated in the event. The cleanliness drive was carried out in association with Waste Warriors, a local NGO and Eco Task Force of the Indian Army. During the drive, the students also raised awareness amongst the residents of the area about keeping the surroundings clean. This provided them with an opportunity to apply the skills of planning, organizing and implementing, which they had read in their basic management course. At the same time, they were rendering a great service to the resident community of Premnagar by cleaning their area and contributing to the national mission of a ‘Swachh Bharat’.
The students of our BBA and BA Public Policy and Administration programs formed a club ‘Be the Change’ to carry out community services. Their sensitivity towards the labourers constructing UPES buildings at our Kandoli campus drove them to carry out a donation drive. Under this initiative held during August and September 2016, students received donations of rice, sugar, tea, clothing and stationery from the faculty and the students of UPES, which were subsequently handed over to the labourers. Through this act, our students worked towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal-10, which calls for “reducing inequalities in income as well as those based on age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status within a country”. They worked towards improving the living conditions of the weaker sections of our society.
Most recently, during the lockdown on account of COVID-19, Mehul Dhingra, BBA (Digital Marketing), Mohit Mannan, BBA (Logistics Management) and Rajan Kapoor, BA LLB, all first-year students, along with their local friends at Karnal, Haryana, collected donations for the people who were severely affected by the pandemic. These students set up an official page on Instagram by the name @_savingsmiles. The response for donations was overwhelming. Donations poured in from other cities and countries as well. With the funds they received, the students made a large number of packets which contained wheat, pulses, sugar, spices, rice etc. and donated them to the needy.
‘Saving Smiles’ donated to more than 400 families and helped them survive in this unprecedented situation that the world is facing. In the words of Mehul, “No one should go hungry or die of hunger.” This is the reason his team worked with an unwavering focus for those hit by the current crisis. This heroic voluntary act of Mehul and his friends mitigated the pain, helplessness and suffering of many migrant workers hit hard by the turbulent times. I feel extremely proud that our students significantly contributed to resolving a problem faced by our nation.
These values when imbibed at a young age can set the stage for a life-long association of selfless work for others.
(The writer is Professor at UPES School of Business.)