Engineers touch villagers' lives
Debates are being held to bring in reforms in education. Even as many say that students must be made to interact with the community to know the ground realities, students of NITK have already been a part of several community development programmes. Bhakti V Hegde writes about one such programme of the Institute.
Even as the older generation feels that the youth are drifting away from culture and are becoming highly insensitive towards emotions, the students of NITK Surathkal have proved this to be wrong. Even before they land up to be one of the runners in the competitive race of the world, they have proved out to be a ray of hope for a small village near Surathkal.
Through ‘Sparsh,’ the initiative by Social Conscious Engineering (SCE), which is an important facet of ‘Engineer,’ the annual technical symposium of NITK, the students have literally touched the lives of many at Munda, a small hamlet about 9 kms away from the Institute.
The main motive of SCE is to remind the students that inventions and innovations are void if they have no social benefit, to the common man. The Sparsh project starts during Engineer, as an idea generation event, continues with the implementation of the best ideas of the winning team.
The winning team will be a part of the project and continue to give the necessary technical support.
Munda was identified as the launch pad for Sparsh in Engineer- Golden Jubilee Edition, and proposals for the development of this region were invited from students all across India during the course of Engineer.
This rural development project obtained a collective seed funding of Rs 2,50,000 from Balmer Lawrie & Co. Ltd and GE John F. Welch Technology Centre. With the idea thus generated and to carry this ambitious programme forward, Team Sparsh, consisting of representatives from the faculty and student body of NITK, was formed.
In a place where sea water incursion had affected almost all the wells and where getting clean drinking water was a difficulty, the Sparsh team took up rainwater harvesting projects and made availability of potable water possible. Gajani Foundation in Mulki was selected as the NGO to implement the progressive plans for Munda over a period of one year under Sparsh-Munda Development Project.
Last year Sparsh took up the issue of waste management and also introduced vermi composting in the NITK campus.
“This year we plan to take up the issues faced by the Roof Tile Cluster in Mangalore. The sponsors for Sparsh for this year are Green Add+ and GE. Green Add+ will be mentoring the participating teams to come up with feasible solution. These solutions will be implemented over the course of the year.”
“The team has also partnered with Krishi Vignan Kendra, Mangalore, to help farmers get the required technological assistances. This would involve designing customised farming equipment and softwares,” says a proud student involved in Sparsh project.
Green Innovation Challenge is a new initiative by SCE to encourage participants to come up with ideas for new concepts/gadgets or suggest improvements to existing ones by reusing and recycling waste. Ideas suggested should be economically viable, cost efficient, socially conscious and should be able to impact the current society.
Green Engineer is the underlying theme of Engineer. The concept of ‘green technology’ will be incorporated into every committee of the fest, and the running of various events.
Last year, Engineer embarked upon an unprecedented approach towards achieving total environmental accountability motivated by personal conviction about the reality of Climate Change and its direct relationship with resource consumption.
The carbon footprint of NITK was estimated with the help of the organisation called no2co2. This year the institute has plan to estimate the carbon footprint after incorporating appropriate changes to reduce emissions.
From using recycled paper to reduced use of plastics, Green Engineer will be a wake up call to care for the planet in every step! The Green Sponsor this year will be HCL.