Students of all streams and years are expected to engage with the organisation in their own capacity.
At the city’s popular St Xavier’s College, the importance of trees in human life is much beyond a topic in environmental studies or just an extra-curricular activity with a social impact. Students of this college are seriously involved in tasks ensuring good green cover for the city for academic credit points as well as work experience certificates.
The South Bombay college has entered an MoU with the National Society for the Friends of Trees, a fellowship of tree-lovers seeking to create and foster a tree sense in India. The idea is to create an overall awareness among the young generation while they engage in various activities with the organisation to ensure that the little green cover left in and around the city is not taken for granted.
Students of all streams and years are expected to engage with the organisation in their own capacity. Principal of the College, Dr. Rajendra Shinde, explained, “For example, students from botany will work on generating data on various species of trees whereas students from the media studies will work on developing a social media campaign for the organisation. Students not only get academic credit points for their participation; the organisation issues letters of work experience for them. This makes it a win-win partnership.”
Shinde shared how the new National Education Policy (NEP), which has emphasis on holistic development of students with multidisciplinary approach; and important topic of environmental awareness through importance of trees, cannot be left unaddressed.
Building on this objective, Dr A D Sawant, former Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Mumbai University, who is the president of the National Society for the Friends of Trees, said, “Environment education which is so crucial in today’s time is a lost site in our education system. Nobody is studying it except those taking a degree in environmental science. There has to be a large-scale general awareness on the role of trees in conserving the environment, conserving the local flora and fauna and creating biodiversity parks to ensure environmental balance among all. This knowledge sharing is very relevant and has to take place in most educational institutions and so we are encouraging more such associations with colleges.”
The MoU was signed last week as a seminar was held in college in association with the National Society for the Friends of Trees on the topic of – India Botanical Gardens: Challenges and Responses.
Shinde shared how different personalities who have developed biodiversity or botanical gardens spoke to students about how gardens can be much more than just recreational. “The speakers spoke extensively on how development of botanical, conservational, biodiversity or medicinal gardens which help environmental balance can run on self-sustainable models. Such theme parks which are internationally accepted models are yet foreign to India. Creating awareness in the young generation about the same can definitely have a long-lasting impact,” said Shinde.